Want to create a savannah

Asked May 9, 2016, 5:17 PM EDT

Hi, I live on 7 acres in rural Woodbury and would like to turn approx 3-4 acres of beautiful mature oak trees into a savannah. I don't know where to start, so I'm hoping you can help me as to who I can contact to get my project started. I prefer to oversee this on my own if at all possible. I know that Prairie Restoration is an option, but again I'd like to do it myself. Thanks in advance. Bob 651-271-3305

Washington County Minnesota prairie restoration

1 Response

Hi Rob, and thanks for contacting AaE.

It seems that you have done some research about options for your landscape, via Prairie Restorations.
Sorry to say that we don't have a definitive "go-to" place for this kind of project, but we have lots and lots of links/resources for folks who are wanting to reclaim native areas.

This is such a complicated subject. When we look at historical data that indicates a specific area that used to be a Savannah (for instance), and layer years of agricultural, forestry, and urban development upon that, it makes some sense that these actions may have changed the native soils and carrying capacity of the area.

Furthermore, many of these native Savanna areas were logged off 50-30 years ago. Some of the successive plants ( not to be considered "evil" but simply successive) like cherry, basswood, hickory, oak, elm (short-lived because of Duct Elm Disease)), and shrubs like prickly ash, poison ivy, river grapes and other vining plants, are a major challenge when trying to reclaim an area.

More importantly, if we are forward looking, it makes the most sense to try to assess the inevitable climate changes that will impact our biomes. What we choose to plant now, should be the plants that can succeed into the future.

Here are some links that can help you assess this issue. Some of them are University based, and some are local, but not peer reviewed sources:

http://conservancy.umn.edu/bitstream/handle/11299/58861/2.6.Maloney.pdf?sequence=1
http://www.aprairiehaven.com/
http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/landscaping/establishing-and-maintaining-a-prairie-g...