Landowner Assistance

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From Missouri Conservationist: Apr 2007

Habitat Hint

Control fescue for more wildlife

  • Habitat type: Native grasslands, including patches of bare ground and native wildflowers, vines and shrubby thickets
  • Wildlife affected: Rabbits and upland birds such as quail, indigo buntings and loggerhead shrikes
  • Main threats: Fragmentation and invasion by non-native plants such as fescue
  • Best practices: Active restoration and periodic disturbance with grazing, fire, mowing or herbicide application
  • Phone contact: To locate a private lands conservationist near you.
  • For more land management information: see links listed below.

Many landowners favor fescue for cool-season cattle forage, but its thick turf keeps quail chicks from foraging and fledging. If you want to give chicks a better chance of surviving on your land, control fescue, especially if it’s near food plots, native warm-season grasses or shrubby areas. This month is a great time to do it. Shortly after green-up, spray fescue with a glyphosate herbicide such as Roundup®, Buccaneer® or Glyphos®. You'll be rewarded with more quail calls, more rabbits and better hunting in the fall.

Co-op for quail

Good neighbors make good quail habitat.

If you’re concerned about the quail’s decline in your rural neighborhood, consider starting a management cooperative to bring them back. Get together with your neighbors and your local Missouri Department of Conservation private land conservationist. He or she can provide technical expertise or coordinate a field tour of habitat improvements. Cooperating landowners can share work and expertise, and split the costs of equipment rental, chemicals and seed. For information about starting a co-op, call your local Conservation office.

Whack bush honeysuckle

This pretty-but-pushy bush threatens our woodlands.

It’s the first shrub in the woods to green up and the last to lose its leaves. It produces fragrant flowers and loads of bright red berries. So what’s the problem with exotic bush honeysuckle? It spreads like wildfire, displaces native plants and gobbles up native wildlife habitat.

If you love Missouri’s native plants and animals, control bush honeysuckle on your land. April is a good time to hand-pull small plants, or cut and spray the stumps of larger ones with a 20 percent solution of glyphosate using a low-pressure, hand-held sprayer. Check with your local agriservice dealer, university extension office or Department of Conservation forester for additional recommendations.

This Issue's Staff

Editor in Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair
Art Director - Cliff White
Writer/editor - Tom Cwynar
Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Staff Writer - Arleasha Mays
Photographer- Noppadol Paothong
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Circulation - Laura Scheuler