Tom's Blog

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mowing for fall burns

In the next week or so we hope to burn the wet prairies (Crane, Valley, and Barn) that are situated along the south side of Pleasant Valley Road . These prairies are separated from the wetland by a mowed trail which serves as a fire break. However, this year the Indian grass in these prairies is very tall and lush, which causes concern, since we don't want spot fires carrying over into the marsh. The photo above shows how close the tall prairie is to the wetland.

One technique for reducing spot-fire hazard is to mow a wide strip in the prairie next to the regular fire break. The photo above shows Kathie using our Kubota to do this. She did two wide strips and then came back and used the mower to blow all the loose grass farther into the prairie. Finally, I drove our Kawasaki Mule over the mowed area to tamp down some of the unmowed fragments.

The plan involves first burning a wide black line (fire break) along the prairie edge and then backburning down the hill from the road. We need a sunny, relatively low-humidity day for this, which we hopefully will get sometime before Thanksgiving. Once the fire break has been burned in, the burn itself should not take very long.

In an earlier post I raved about how handy the Kubota with underneath deck mower is for this sort of mowing. With care, it can even be used on relatively steep terrain. It is lots easier (and faster) to use than the sort of walk-behind mower that is often used for this sort of work.


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