Crow’s Nest: Mowing in December?

December 8, 2014

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager


You might expect that we mow some parts of the preserve—trails and turf around buildings—from late April through November (this last month just to chop up leaves). And you probably know that we mow most meadows as late in winter as we dare, while the ground is still frozen, leaving grasses and wildflower stems as wildlife cover for as much of the winter as possible. So we’re mowing again in February with the bush hog, or else the meadows will grow up into forests, or even more likely, thickets of invasive plants such as multiflora rose and autumn olive. And if we wait too long into spring and the ground is too soft to get equipment in—it’s not the end of the world but this has us playing catch-up for another season.

But if you were out at the preserve today you would have noticed us mowing in two, very specific places—in December! One is the steep slope behind the Jacob house on the preserve, a bank that is too steep for me to want to mow often and has grown into a nice little meadow. And the other is the patch of meadow below the slope behind the visitor center, just below the bunny hump of the sand mound.

You guessed it, both of these sites are good sledding areas—if we mow down the thick grasses before it snows. The snow last month came before we’d prepared for sledding. Now we’re ready.