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Invasive Plant Control Using Prescribed Burns

There are a number of methods landowners can use to control invasive plant species, such as mowing and herbicide treatments. But there is another effective control method that may be worth considering: prescribed burning.

During the spring months, the soil is thawing from the winter’s freezing temperatures. Plants that are native to the region are still dormant while invasive plants are already turning green. With prescribed burning, landowners can not only set back the invasives without damaging native plants, but the fire’s heat also warms up the soil which further encourages native growth.

Prescribed burning works best in large, grassy habitats like native prairies. Not only does it have an additional beneficial impact of encouraging native growth, but prescribed burning also costs less than other control methods, such as mowing, for a plot of land with high acreage.

To the untrained eye, prescribed burning may look like an out-of-control fire, but it’s actually a well-regulated and heavily controlled event that requires thorough planning—including permitting, site preparation, and proper equipment. Davey Resource Group, Inc. (DRG) can provide a full solution for prescribed burns, from preparation to the burn event to the post-burn reporting requirements and notifications. See the example below to learn about a prescribed burn project headed by DRG’s local team servicing Wisconsin and Illinois.

The Sanctuary of Bull Valley

This 300-acre planned conservation design subdivision site in Woodstock, Illinois, is a direct water recharge source for the nearby Boon Creek Fen. The planned unit development site has traditional and environmental design principles balanced with the protection of the environment, all while meeting the demands of development and future residents.

Over 150 acres of natural areas were set aside and a resident handbook was established to facilitate best management practices to protect the surrounding kames, kettles, wetland, and woodlands. The handbook outlines the long-term stewardship plan for the Sanctuary of Bull Valley and provides guidelines for future protection, maintenance, management, and monitoring of the natural areas.

DRG continues and builds on the original ecological goals of the site. Our biologists and ecologists increased the acreage of the restoration area to extend property boundaries and continuously improve the natural areas.

We perform prescribed burning as part of the maintenance routine for these natural areas, which promotes native plant growth while controlling invasive species. Our team also manages and monitors the site’s total ecological health and conducts regular monitoring sessions.

Contact Davey Resource Group to determine if prescribed burning is the right method for your invasive control project.