By Bill Kleiman
This ten second video simply shows a panorama of many oaks growing in a prairie planting from what was a corn field. https://youtu.be/zeCK9dqYRZ0
This “savanna” planting, if you will allow the phrase, is another prairie planting but we did not plant any acorns as we expected the squirrels would plant them for us. There are mature oaks on both sides of this narrow planting so it was easy to envision squirrels caching acorns everywhere, which they did.
See the blue flagging on the oak on the right. That oak is starting to emerge from the “discipline” of the frequent prescribed fires we use on this unit. There are hundreds of black oak, bur oak, shagbark hickory. There are some trees we would rather not have more of, like cottonwood, and a few autumn olive which we treated. The original prairie planting took well and is quite diverse.
Above is the same savanna planting looking south instead of north. On the left is the neighbor’s old oak woods with ancient oaks and hickory but no oak recruitment due to the excessive shade from brush. Everything else on the right side of the lane is frequently burned. On the right slope is our woods which is more open and has oak recruitment. But look at all the oak recruitment in what was a corn field. There are about 5 oaks in there that are big enough to be trees.
Thanks for the post Bill. How are the trees tolerating the fire? Some top-killed, some not?
Yes. The fire keeps a majority of the oaks as shrubs. This is fine. In the long run that prairie planting will be savanna or woods.