Ridge Trim “Mohawk”

by Carl Strang

As I tell the story of Mayslake Forest Preserve, from time to time I have to insert a focus on the outstanding effort by the volunteer restoration team. Led by stewards Conrad Fialkowski and Jacqui Gleason, this group is largely responsible for the high quality plant communities on the preserve, their maintenance and their enlargement. One of this year’s foci has been the south end of the savanna ridge, above the east end of May’s Lake. Long covered by an understory of dense buckthorn, in recent years the ridge gradually has been exposed through the patient techniques Conrad has tested over the years. The end is drawing near.

The many brush piles and the cleared ground attest to the volume of intense physical labor put in by these dedicated people in recent months.

Only a topknot stand of buckthorn remains at the peak of the ridge’s south end.

The remaining buckthorn in the background stands above soil as bare as in the cleared foreground. The cleared area will be seeded with bottlebrush grass, beginning to establish the native vegetation that will claim the space beneath the oaks.

Clearing is only part of the work, as the team gathers tens of pounds of seed from the preserve’s native plants, which they then spread in the opened areas. This effort cannot be praised enough.

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