Utility corridors

Jim Mason jemason at msn.com
Fri Jun 18 11:57:17 EDT 1999

Timing of mowing is a no-win situation, I am afraid.

In Kansas, the prairie remnants with the highest plant species diversity are
long-established hay meadows that have not seen significant grazing pressure
for decades and have never been hit with herbicides.  This would indicate
that a mid-summer mowing may be best for the plants at any rate.  With
butterflies however, you would see a ~1 month loss of nectar sources right
at the "height" of the season as well as the destruction of whatever
sub-adult stages that were down in the vegetation at the time.

An autumn mowing would diminish the winter cover for small wildlife and
might whack pupating butterflies as well.  On the positive side, it would
diminish the wildfire hazard, which is something land managers also have to
be concerned with, particularly near populated areas.

Spring can be a difficult time to get equipment into the field due to soft
ground conditions.

I suppose a rotation of mowing schedules is the best average approach, just
as a rotation of spring burning is best for overall species diversity out
here on the Great Plains.

Jim Mason
jemason at msn.com

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