Wildlife Habitat Federation

Helping Texas Landowners Restore Native Habitat For Wildlife 

SITE PREPARATION 
Implementation of 
Habitat Restoration Practices
Depending upon the condition of our property, the following practices may or may not be needed. 

If your property already has a lot of native prairie species on it, your approach may be to just focus on eliminating invasive plant species that compete with your natives.

If your land is primarily covered with imported grasses such as bermudagrass, bahia grass or KR Bluestem, it may be necessary to eradicate the existing grass, work on soil health and use many of the practices shown here.

Mechanical Brush Removal

Unwanted brush, yaupon, and trees are removed by dozer,  wood mulcher or by hand.
The brush piles are burned.
Herbicide Application
Application of the appropriate herbicide to the targeted species may be the first practice and may need to be repeated several more times depending upon weather conditions and persistence of the invasive plant species.
Large spray rig targeting the entire field.
Smaller acreages or focal areas within a field are sprayed with 6x6 Polaris and Sprayer Unit.
Plow Firelanes!
Firelanes are plowed around the perimeter of a field with a tractor and disc before a prescribed burn to create a boundary that will help contain a fire.

Firelanes are also plowed in strips within a field to disturb the soil causing various forb seeds, like Dove Weed (Wooley Croton) to sprout. The strips provide food (insects) and shelter for quail.
Prescribed Burns
  • Removal of thatch
  • Set back or kill invasive plant species
  • Remaining ash provides nutrients for the soil
  • Scarification of seeds 

Cover Crops

Build your soil health

  • Winter and summer crops
  • Provide plant cover for bare or sparsely covered soil
  • Inhibit growth of invasive plant species by shading them out
  • Roots open up the soil 
  • Roots begin establishment of beneficial microbes in the soil
  • Different crops provide different nutrients
  • Crops sequester carbon into the soil (reducing polution)

PATIENCE & ADAPTIBILITY

When your field has reached a point where the undesirable plant species are gone or well under control, it is time to plant native prairie grasses. To get to this point, however, the above pratices may need to be repeated through several seasons or years, depending upon the voracity of the unwanted plants. They may need to be changed as the plan is implemented to adapt to current weather patterns. WHF will monitor the property throughout the restoration period and make recommendations as needed.

Taking shortcuts or planting too soon can result in expensive fixes. 
Native prairie seeds are available, but can be costly.
Local ecotypes are more difficult to acquire.

It just makes sense to do it right the first time.