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April’s Work: Johnson Grass Mitigation

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As the spring wakes up our meadows, the Team for Healthy Parks is keeping a close eye out for unwelcome plants like Johnson grass.

Johnson grass isn’t just an eyesore; it’s a serious problem for urban park ecosystems. Its rapid spread crowds out native vegetation, disrupting the balance of biodiversity and habitat.

How do we manage it?

  1. Early detection: we begin to look for its tall, coarse blades even before it creates its distinctive seed heads.
  2. Regular mowing can help keep Johnson Grass in check, so early spring mowing and bush hogging is a great management tool to slow down seed production.
  3. Pulling and digging: for smaller infestations, manually pulling or digging out the grass, ensuring to remove the entire root system, can be effective. Homeowners may want to try this method.
  4. Herbicides can help us control larger infestations as the growing season progresses and we begin to see seeds.
  5. Promote native plants: a healthy, diverse ecosystem can outcompete Johnson Grass, reducing its presence over time.

If you see us mowing managed meadow and prairie spaces in April, give us a wave and keep an eye out for beautiful waves of grasses and happy pollinators in a few weeks!


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