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Prairie Restoration Project at Jack Gettemeyer Park, 10 Mayfield Drive

January 18, 2023

A controlled or prescribed burn has been approved for the winter season, at Jack Gettemeyer Park. Although the exact date is unknown, the burn should occur before April. Weather conditions will determine when the controlled burn can be completed in a safe manner.

 

Managing a resource like the prairie at Jack Gettemeyer Park can be challenging, as invasive species are abundant and persistently attempting to establish themselves. Along with periodic mowing and treatment, controlled burn is widely accepted as essential to long-term health of prairies. This helps promote the growth of native plants while suppressing the growth and reproduction of invasive plants. The use of controlled burns on urban and suburban landscapes has grown considerably over the past 15 years around the St. Louis metropolitan area. St Charles County Parks regularly uses controlled burn as a management tool, and it is also used in areas such as St. Louis’ Forest Park, the historic Calvary and Bellefontaine Cemeteries, St. Louis County Parks, Busch Wildlife Conservation Area, and Shaw Nature Reserve.

 

In addition to benefiting wildlife, Prairie plantings provide numerous ecosystem services to the surrounding St. Peters community. Prairie plants have deep roots, commonly 6- 15’ in length, and much deeper than non-native turf grasses and ornamental plants. These roots function as a sponge to absorb large quantities of stormwater which otherwise would discharge into community streams and sewer systems. Flower blooms in the prairie support a wide diversity of pollinators, which will also visit backyard gardens to help produce homegrown fruits and vegetables. Prairie establishments like those at Jack Gettemeyer Park also provide carbon sequestration, replenish poor soils, and offer opportunities for residents to experience nature in their neighborhoods.

 

Please direct questions to: askthearborist@stpetersmo.net.