The unforested section of Dutro-Ernst Woods as you enter the parking lot is being prepared for prairie installation. A critical step in site preparation is repeated deep soil tillage for at least an entire growing season. Invasive species seeds that are harboring in the soil must be allowed to grow so they can be removed entirely.
Successful installation requires that there is no existing vegetation, tilling will happen continually every few months until that condition is met. The end result will be a prairie plant community with colorful wildflowers bringing a variety of pollinators and birds to the nature preserve.
On June 19, 2020, we will be applying herbicide on the fields to move the installation process forward. Over the next 2-3 weeks, you may see the grass brown. That is necessary before deep tilling of the soil.
We encourage you to still visit Dutro-Ernst Woods and, as always, stick to the trails.