The Geneva Park District’s Peck Farm Park had 36 Acres of old agricultural field in the Miller & Thompson parcels that the District wished to convert into natural areas, including savanna, wet prairie, mesic and upland zones. To prepare the site for seeding, the former agricultural areas were disked and tilled several times to break-up soil clods and remove existing agricultural debris (corn stubble). Two smaller zones with existing vegetation were treated with herbicide, had the dead bio-mass removed via prescribed fire, and then were treated with herbicide a second time. This was done in order to treat any new growth following the burn.
Following the preparation of the sites, the former agricultural areas were seeded with eighteen lbs of native seed per acre installed with a Belco® native drop-seeder to ensure even seed distribution and good seed-to-soil contact. The pre-vegetated areas were seeded with eighteen lbs of native seed per acre installed with a Truax® native no-till seed drill to ensure even seed distribution and good seed-to-soil contact with minimal soil disturbance. To provide the Park District with more of an immediate visual impact with the seeding at the end of the 2nd year, the percentage of Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) was significantly increased. What resulted was a field of gold that was readily identifiable using Google Earth®.
Pizzo & Associates, Ltd. is still providing ongoing Stewardship which includes mowing and selective herbicide to control invasive species and promote the growth of natives. Monitoring by way of plant surveys and photo points were conducted to confirm the project’s success.