Urban Biologist

Posted on: September 12, 2017

Harry S. Moss Park Prairie Restoration Update

Harry S Moss1

There are some exciting things going on with the assorted prairie restoration projects around Dallas Park and Recreation Department properties. The most noticeable of these efforts is some recent brush removal at Harry S. Moss Park in northeast Dallas.

                Harry S. Moss Park has approximately 23 acres of prairie remnant.  Through the years of various land-use practices, and with some help along the way years ago, the species typically found in a prairie area have persisted on the site.  In being good stewards to the land and in keeping with the spirit of the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge, the Dallas Park and Recreation Department has taken steps to more actively manage this area as a prairie.

                One of those steps was allowing volunteer Mark Bulloch to enter into a Beautification Agreement with the department to assist with the vegetation management within the prairie area.  Mr. Bulloch has the experience and equipment to help facilitate this restoration project.

                One of the biggest challenges and threats to prairies is the encroachment of woody species.  Over the years, the prairie area at Harry S. Moss Park has experienced heavy woody encroachment in the absence of a disturbance like mowing or fire.  Starting several months ago, Mr. Bulloch started mowing the area to knock back smaller woody species, to start getting a handle on other invasive species.  Starting last Tuesday, through a partnership with Texas Discovery Gardens as part of a National Fish and Wildlife Federation grant, Mr. Bulloch was able to utilize a skid steer forestry mulcher for a week.  This greatly increased his efficiency at removing the smaller woody brush species, while avoiding the bigger trees.  Mr. Bulloch was able to avoid and maintain pockets of really nice prairie species.  This will open up the area for better grass and wildflower growth and allow for easier maintenance with a standard tractor.

           This has been an awesome year for plant growth, both good and bad.  Harry S. Moss Park has nice stands of Eastern Gamagrass, Yellow Indiangrass and assorted native wildflowers.  There is also a lot of Johnsongrass, a non-native invasive exotic species that is widely spread throughout the Dallas area.  Prairie restoration is not a fast process, it is usually a 3-5 year process.  Starting this fall, volunteers with Texas Discovery Gardens will start reseeding and planting native species on the site to bolster what is already there.  Once the woody species are under control, Mr. Bulloch will start working on getting control of the Johnsongrass and other invasive species.

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