Title and number of planting: Dot & Doug Wade Prairie 2007 Planting #78
Author of this history: Alan Meier
Revision Date: 3/3/2008
Location: Ogle County, Township 22N, Range 10E, Section 16. This planting is approximately 4.6 acres in size. The planting is rectangular in shape. The coordinates of the boundary corners are:
southwest corner: N 41°53”30.2’, W 089°21”12.5’
northwest corner: N 41°53”33.8’, W 089°21”20.3’
northeast corner: N 41°53”33.8’, W089°21”12.6’
southeast corner: N 41°53”30.1’, W 089°21”12.2’
The site is bordered by Dot’s Knob on the east, the Dot & Doug Wade Prairie 2007 Planting #69 on the south, a heavily wooded area on the west (off preserve), and a cornfield (future restoration) on the north.
Soil types: According to the Ogle County Soil Study, soils include
Eastern half of the planting: #727B Waukee loam, 1 to 5 percent slopes – gently sloping, well drained soils on uplands and slightly elevated terraces along streams.
Western half of the planting: #779B Chelsea loamy sand, 1 to 7 percent slopes – gently sloping excessively drained soil on low, hummocky dunes on broad stream terraces and uplands.
My on-site observations revealed that there are two areas of the planting where the soil is much sandier than the rest of the planting: the northeast corner nearest Dot’s Knob and a sandy ridge along the north central boundary extending into the cornfield to the north.
Topographic features: The planting is relatively flat. The northeastern corner, nearest to Dot’s Knob has a rise in elevation. There is also a slight rise in elevation in the sandy ridge located along the north central boundary of the planting.
This planting probably had been in row crop production since 1939. The 1939 aerial photo is a little dark over this planting, but it looks to be in row crops already. The 1958 aerial clearly shows that the planting was in row crops at that time, and continuously until about 1994. In 1994 Bill Kleiman, Kevin Kaltenbach, and a few other stewards spread combine mix, not hand collected mix, over the entire field that includes this planting. This was mostly little bluestem. They did not plant enough seed, nor did they cover the planting evenly. They had expected to add more seed but ran out. This planting did poorly, filling in with cool season grasses, some native prairie plants, and a lot of Rubus, invasive honeysuckle, and many, many box elder seedlings from the fence line to the west.
Bill wanted to put the field in corn a year later, but Gene St. Louis wanted to over-seed it, and he did. That field languished for a decade. They mowed it once or twice a year to knock down the woody plants. Gene over seeded a good mix of species, but there was no apparent improvement. About seven years after Gene's over-seeding, Bill had Farmer Colwell spray it in the fall with a mix of Crossbow and Roundup. Then they plowed it and planted corn in the spring. The corn was in this planting for four years.
After the 2007 corn crop was harvested, the planting was mowed and then burned in early November. On November 14 the planting was harrowed by the crew. The bulk of the planting was completed on November 16 and 17. The field was then harrowed again on November 21, after which it began to rain.
Planting was performed by Alan Meier, steward of the Dot & Doug Wade Prairie, with the help of his brother, Paul Meier.
Seed planting began on November 16. The seed was mixed in the middle of the planting prior to spreading the seed. The majority of the seed was planted using a pendulum seed broadcaster attached to a small Kubota tractor. Three full passes of the planting were made, all on November 16. For the first two passes the setting on the broadcaster was 18. For the third pass, a setting of 12 was used. Seed barrels were used to mark the areas where the seed was being sown. Two of the passes were from north to south and one pass was from east to west. For much of that day, Paul hand planted Thimbleweed, tossing down small amounts of seed and then stepping on many of them.
On November 17 Al continued with the planting efforts by hand planting and foot-smearing several species. In addition, he hand-inserted 300 porcupine grass seeds directly into the soil. Note that when the planting was harrowed a few days later, the crew avoided the area where the porcupine grass had been planted. On that same day, Al hand-sowed Illinois Tick Trefoil, Whorled Milkweed, and Thimbleweed.
On December 7 Al hand-sowed the remaining Whorled Milkweed and Thimbleweed onto a five inch base of fresh snow, much of which was foot pressed down into the snow.
Approximately 263 pounds of seed (including chaff and stems) were planted. A total of 112 species were included. Most of the seed was hand-harvested by Alan and Mary Meier, all of it in 2007. The mix included almost 13 pounds of little bluestem which was machine harvested by the crew. The bulk seed per acre average was 57.28 pounds.
Click here to download a Printable (PDF) version of the seed list shown below.
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April 4, 2008. Planting is red/brown strip across center of photo.
Approximately eight hours was spent hand broadcasting a large amount of Thimbleweed. In future years’ I’ll mill the Thimbleweed with some other species (likely Canada Rye) and include it in the seed mix that is planted using the pendulum seed broadcaster.
I was overly-conservative in my estimate of the total seed harvest. We ended up with enough seed that we could have planted an additional acre.
Follow up notes