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Wednesday thru FridayEarly registration ends Mon., August 7!Discounted rate of $50 (or $20 Student Rate) Co-hosts are:

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Wild About Houston Short Film Screening Wednesday, 6:30 pm - HNPAT Monthly Meeting Co-presenters for this event are: Houston - NPAT,…

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Conservation Easement Workshop FRIDAY, 2pm to 5pm Co-Hosts: Cibolo Conservancy and the Hill Country Alliance Hill Country…

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Prairie Facts

Report on Kirchoff Family Farm August 2-9, 2017 by Don Kirchoff

August 11, 2017 Don Kirchoff sent in this update:

The two inches of recent rain on the Kirchoff Prairie surely kicked life back into the recovering prairie. The switchgrass and four-flowered “false rhodes grass”, trichloris pluriflora Fourn. is ready blossoming, and should now make lots of seed.

We engaged in quite a few projects this summer, including:
Applied chemical treatment to areas heavily invaded by huisache and bacarus
Cut with brush cutter and pole saw some large huisache and bacarus and applied chemical treatment to stumps
Sprayed with glyphosate the “KR bluestem” patch where a few switchgrass, four flowered tricloris, and long-spike silver bluestem are making a come-back.  This is a problem area in SE corner of property, because prevailing winds blow invasive seeds onto recovering prairie
Also broadcast to this area seeds of Canada wild rye and side-oats gramma collected from other areas of the prairie
Sprayed patches of invasive old-world bluestems that recover quickly following rains
Sprayed areas infested with Johnson grass where dense bacarus had left bare soil for Johnson grass to recover (robust prairie seems to choke out Johnson grass)
Treated areas with glyphosate for volunteers to transplant seedlings this fall, including:
-Diversity Plot #3
-Several intervals in terrace trenches
-Windrows across the south field. (Others can be added.)
-Collected a couple dozen tulle bags of zizotes capsules from milkweed garden
Processed the seeds in a large paper bag at 10 locations in W, SW, & W fields so escaping seeds could find a home on the prairie
It was a hoot watching the parachutes carry escaping seeds – sometimes high in the gentle breeze! (Another dozen or so bags remains to be collected.)
We treated garden with Sevin & fungicide to increase seed production, but now we see caterpillars. 

(This close-up shot gives a new perspective.)

We have plans to expand garden, hopefully with other species found on the prairie, when and if they produce capsules;
Started our annual TPWD Managed Lands Deer Program (deer survey)
and regularly download images from game cameras:
Mother bobcat with at least one kitten (do not yet know how many)

and a Coyote:

We have a healthy deer population:

Feral hogs (although not causing problems at this time): 

More photos around the prairie include the ripening prickley pear cacti,

and a concealed nest of Mexican Paper Wasps that NO ONE should encounter.

High quail population. 

We maintained the Indian Grass patch populated with seedlings donated by Douglas King Seed Company and transplanted in our May 13, 2017 Volunteer Workday

…and this barely puts a dent in the work that could be one on a recovering prairie!