At Dalla Terra Ranch we are working hard to restore our land to the most natural, and preservation minded conditions possible. We work with naturalists, native seed growers, researchers, and native restoration consultants to be sure our vision aligns with nature. Some of our efforts include:
Native Prairie Restoration
In the Fall of 2010 we seeded native prairie species on a 7 acre section of our ranch. This area includes road frontage at the entrance of the farm. Once established, we will experiment with grazing our ewes on this area as the ewes are drying up late in the season.
We discovered a 1 acre remnant area on the farm which has a vast showing of native prairie species still in establishment. We have been aggressively mowing and burning this area in hopes to see a nice re-emergence of this section.
Likewise, there is a 3 acre section of the farm that until Fall of 2011, we had not been able to access with equipment (needed a water crossing). This area is rich with prairie species, but also invasive weeds. We burned this section in the Fall of 2011 and it was a very hot fire! Summer 2012 will be an interesting time as we see how this progresses.
In all areas where we are working on prairie restoration we cleared out the invasive, non-indigenous tree and brush species. All native hardwood trees are preserved and we are anxious to see how their canopy expands now as they are allowed to “breath”. Look for before and after photos as our progress continues!
Oak Savannah Restoration
In September 2010, we aggressively cleared non-indigenous tree and brush species from a 2 acre draw which shows amazing potential. In the Fall of 2011, we continued this same work along over 5000 feet of creekbeds and their surrounding areas. We hope to highlight these beautiful little streams in the future with walking paths and benches. The ranch is blessed with many waterways and over the next 5-10 years we look forward to their revitalization.
While there are no official wetlands on the ranch by definition (continuous moisture, wetland soils, wetland species) we have several areas which are continuously wet with native wetlands species. We are removing non-wetlands species from these areas and preserving the appropriate species. They really add a beautiful aesthetic element to the ranch as you tour around.
Like a fresh plum or plum jam? We do…and fortunately our native plum thicket is healthy and thriving. The plums offer a tasty treat in mid-September. The thicket was immersed in a dense growth of locust and willow trees which we have since cleared away.
Plenty of wild fruit around the farm as well…we need to do more research on these to see how we can best manage the plants. A wonderful mid-summer snack for all! Unfortunately they are held captive by quite a bit of shrub over growth at the moment.
Black Walnut Trees
Quite a few mature black walnut trees grace the property and provide much appreciated shade in the summer months. A bit sharper in flavor, we haven’t yet found a use for the abundant nutmeats.