A six-year-old restored prairie plant community at Johnson County Community College (JCCC) was monitored for changes in species number and plant cover. It was hypothesized that haying would successfully establish a prairie plant community, and that all seeded species would grow. In 1994 a 0.5 ha area was sprayed to remove weeds, and then seeded with eleven forb and six grass species. The seed mix included generalists that do not require high-quality habitats, and conservatives that do. Beginning in late fall 1995 the area was annually mowed and litter removed (hayed). By 1998 species number was 28, but dropped to 24 in 2001. Species composition included only some of the seeded species, and additional species not in the original mix. Seven of the original forb species were generalists, yet were absent. All six grasses were present. Total cover for all forbs decreased, but not significantly. Cover of the invasive weed Lespedeza cuneata increased in 2001, albeit not significantly. Total cover of all grasses increased, and cover of six native grass species significantly increased between 1998 and 2001 (p < 0.03). JCCC's goal to restore a plant community dominated by perennial tall grasses via haying was met, but expected species composition was not. Problems may include soil that cannot support these missing species, and a need for additional restoration methods. Spraying is necessary to control L. cuneata, and other studies have demonstrated that burning retards non-native weedy grass growth while encouraging conservative native species. Adding methods to solve these problems may be necessary.
Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science
Vol. 106 • No. 3
Vol. 106 • No. 3