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Timing is Everything With IPM – integrated plant management

Sand prairies were restored to the PRI Princeton farm from corn fields and they are beautiful. Sometimes I think about starting one of those projects photographing for 365 days in one spot. For me it would be the little knoll in front of the Native Plant Center. IPM is crucial to maintaining authenticity of even large restored native plant communities. Opportunistic annual and short-lived perennial species abound in our world and invade from edges to centers of restored areas without persistent scouting and management. Getting at them before flower heads form is crucial. Today I went after ragweed, pigweed, and horseweed. I wore form-fitting vinyl gloves so my fingers tips can easily pinch the lower stem, give a slow tug, and then snap, uproot the shallow roots. Once in the rhythm my focus is so sharp that I can pull with both hands. In an hour, in three recently disturbed patches of the Princeton Farm and my favorite little knoll (which hadn’t been scouted in a while), I easily pulled over 400 various sized stems. Seeing last year’s patches filled in with gorgeous young native flowers and grasses is gratifying. Looking forward to tossing some flower seed into the bare patches of my little knoll and watching for the transformation!

Beth Markhart
Director of Training