For the past few years, Marion and I have conducted managed burns on our prairie and woodland areas in the fall. We let the fire rise from the woods up into the prairie near our home. This followed removing some maples a few years back to allow more light to reach the ground. I’ve attached a photo taken this week. In the foreground is the burned area. Behind is the unburned. The impact on wildflowers is amazing. The density and diversity of wildflowers in the burned area are much greater than in the unburned and they emerged sooner. In nearby Faulke’s woods, we removed maple understory several years ago but it has not burned. With the elimination of additional shading from maples, wildflowers are certainly increasing, but this area has not been burned so they are not nearly as prolific as in the burned area on our property. The dark, bare ground free of leaf cover warms more quickly and the woodland and prairie plants access the ash nutrients and receive the warmth of the sun. So, they grow more quickly and robustly.
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