How do you bring back the landscape to what was? The meadow in Prospect is dominated by King Ranch bluestem (KR) and Johnson grass— both invasive, non-native, and unyielding to desired native grasses and wildflowers.
A new test program being coordinated by the City of San Marcos’ “Keep San Marcos Beautiful,” Habitat Conservation Plan, and City Arborist brings volunteers from the SM Greenbelt Alliance, Hays County Master Naturalists, and Texas State student groups to bear on bringing change.
Three 50’ x 50’ (2500 sq. ft.) plots were given a haircut. The knee-high KR was string-trimmed to the ground, and cedar elm sprouts were cut and treated with herbicide. Plot 1 is in the process of being mulched to a depth of six inches. Plot 2 will get a blanket of black plastic to solarize the grass roots for about six months. Plot 3 was de-thatched using hand tools. We’ll have to keep our eye on this plot as KR may just like this new environment.
Next fall we’ll seed the plots with different seed mixes to see what works best. We’d like to see more pollinators like butterflies and bees, and more bluebirds, finches, and sparrows in the meadow. It will take time and work, but that’s what change is.
Written by former Board member Lance Jones, Team Flora leader and member of the Outreach Committee.