by Eric Neubauer
Many people in the chapter have probably heard about my continuing war on Johnsongrass. Here’s a shot from out in the yard of an area that was once overrun. You can see bunches of native grass which grow to about 4′, drifts of goldenrod, and a poverty weed. It’s about 30′ from the bunchgrass to the house. Although the initial Johnsongrass pulling was taxing, maintaining the area got easier with time. After several years it has dwindled to pulling scatted seedlings once or twice a year. The native plants were already there and just needed sunlight to thrive.
What do I do with all the pulled Johnsongrass? I decided to build haystacks to provide shelter for various animals. This one is conveniently located near the powerline that various raptors were hunting from last winter. The canes are arranged with the roots on the outside so they dry out and die, and the seed heads are on the inside where they won’t spread and germinate. The stack is about 12′ in diameter and 4′ tall now.