Dahlem Prepared for 16-Acre Prairie Burn in April

Aggressive invasive species targeted:  spotted knapweed

Thursday, April 2, 2015 – Jackson, MI   Scheduling prescribed burns requires careful monitoring of the weather forecast.  Late afternoon decisions for the next day are based on winds and weather in our area in the short-term forecast.  Dahlem’s next prescribed burn is scheduled for one day in the next week to 10 days.  The highly aggressive invasive plant species spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe) is the target this year.

Sometimes called “star thistle” spotted knapweed was first discovered in Michigan in 1911 and today this forb is found in highly disturbed soils (roadsides, pastures, gardens) and even undisturbed dry grasslands.  The spotted knapweed seed head contains thousands of seeds with 7-to-10-year viability, resulting in rapidly spreading monocultures, also known as single-species colonies.  The Michigan Department of Agriculture lists spotted knapweed as a prohibited noxious weed.

The two-step process to eradicate spotted knapweed from the Dahlem prairie:  Fire in spring and herbicide in summer.

Funding for this prescribed prairie burn was secured with timber sales in 2014.  Fire has occurred naturally influencing plant communities for eons.  Increasing fire frequency by Native Americans during the past six thousand years opened up the landscape and let native plants continue to evolve with fire.  Our indigenous tribes of North America burned areas to improve game habitat, to increase nut and berry crop production, and to streamline traveling and farming.  Today prescribed burns are employed to help combat non-native aggressively invasive species and to promote native plant species, which in turn helps our native fauna.   

Dahlem will burn the eastern half of the large grass prairie.  If you would like to help, please call or e-mail Gary at 517-782-3453 or GSiegrist@dahlemcenter.org to be added to the phone tree and be sure to wear leather boots.  

Dahlem is a private non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that includes the nearly 300-acre John and Mary Dahlem Environmental Education Center located at 7117 S. Jackson Road in Jackson, Michigan.  Dahlem will be the one word that communicates excellent environmental education, brilliant nature center experiences, skilled land conservancy leadership and sustainable ecology farm growth.  For more information, call 517-782-3453 or visit www.dahlemcenter.org.

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