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Hacking Honeysuckle, Charlotte Sawyers Nature Area in Parkville
March 25, 2017
Platte Land Trust’s Charlotte Sawyers Nature Area had become overgrown with woody, invasive plants. The Missouri Department of Conservation helped us revise a stewardship plan for the property in 2016. PLT started the work in February 2017.
The first task – remove the small woody plants that invaded the grass lands using a forestry chipper. About 6 acres were treated. It was noisy for about 5 days. Yes, we still need to remove the cedars; working on that.
We hope that native species will start showing themselves again. Some native species re-emerged when woody invasive plants were removed in small areas.
Next, small invasive plants will be selectively removed with approved herbicide applications in the summer and fall. Mowing will continue in select areas – trails, fire breaks, and areas used for outdoor education.
In Fall 2017, control burns will start; conducted under the watchful eye of MDC and with permission from the Southern Platte Fire District, of course. That will be fun!
Once the invasive plants are under control, Platte Land Trust will seed the open areas with native grasses and flowers. Woods in the drainages will remain woods, managed with selective cutting and control burns.
These land management techniques – cutting invasive plants, mowing, selective chemical control, fire control, and seeding – will continue for 7 to 10 years. Our goal is to re-establish the savanna habitat (big trees widely spaced with prairie plants underneath) once common in Platte County.
Platte Land Trust appreciates the groups of volunteers, such as Missouri Master Naturalists, who help to steward the property. Boy Scout Troop 393 has taken on the property for their community service activities. Thanks to all this great help we will achieve our goal.