Photo: Land Trust.

Field Restoration Continues at Priday Ranch

May 05, 2023 by Jana Hemphill
The Land Trust has been busy with field restoration efforts at Priday Ranch this spring.

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The Land Trust has been busy this spring on a field restoration project in the valley along Trout Creek at Priday Ranch. This is part of a larger, multi-year effort that began last year.

Photo: Land Trust.
Photo: Land Trust.
This spring, we have been converting 15 acres of agricultural fields back to native habitat by removing weeds and bringing back native plant communities. First, we mowed the fields. Then, we used a range of tactics to bring native plants back to the area, based on terrain, soil type, and trying new approaches. For example, in one field, we left the soil untilled before seeding. In another field, we used a similar approach to last year and tilled the land before planting seeds. Some terrain also required use of a rangeland seed driller, which is good for rocky soils.

We are using the same blend of nine native grasses that we used last year—grasses like great basin wild rye and and bottlebrush squirreltail. Although the grasses we are planting are native and drought tolerant, the first year of growth is crucial. Supplemental watering and controlling weeds this spring and summer will help increase the native grasses' chance of survival.

Meanwhile, the 20 acres we converted back to native habitat last year are looking good! With this spring's recent rains, the native grasses are greening up and invasive annual grasses like cheat grass and medusahead are minimal. Since this area has had a year to get established, we are no longer irrigating the new native plants. Finally, on both portions of the project, we'll be monitoring progress throughout the year and managing weed populations.

In future years, we look forward to having a healthy stand of native grasses with fewer weeds. Once this occurs, we'll add more diverse plants to these restoration areas including flowers and other plants important to pollinator species.


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