Glades and Balds

Meadow with area of igneous rock

Glades, often called balds, are rocky openings in forested areas. Glade features include exposed bedrock of limestone, sandstone, igneous rock, or dolomite and plant communities of native prairie grasses and wildflowers. More common in southern Missouri, glades usually occur on south- or west-facing slopes, but they can occur on any aspect. They can be as small as ¼ acre or cover hundreds of acres.

Glade Biodiversity

Glades are home to many uncommon animals such as collared lizards, eastern narrow-mouthed toads, and roadrunners. Some of the more common glade animals are speckled king snakes, fence lizards, and six-lined race runners.

You can find endangered plants such as Missouri bladderpod (a small member of the mustard family) and geocarpon (a tiny relative of carnations) in southwest Missouri glades. Glades in the St. Louis area harbor the beautiful Fremont’s leather flower, found only in Missouri and Kansas.

A healthy glade will frequently have more than 100 species of plants, including pale purple coneflower, Missouri black-eyed Susan, and Missouri evening primrose.

Glade Management

Many glades on private land are overgrown with eastern red cedar trees due to continuous livestock grazing and lack of periodic fire, which historically controlled cedar invasions. With a little work, you can restore a glade to its relatively open condition, making it more valuable to wildlife.

To maintain glades that are in good condition

Protect a glade with few or no cedars and a wide variety of plants from extensive grazing, and with the help of an occasional prescribed burn it will remain in good condition.

To restore glades that are overgrown

Heavy cedar growth must be cut with a chainsaw. Drop the cedars and allow them to cure for a year before burning. Because burning several cured cedars can produce a fire that can damage other nearby trees or cause a wildfire, use caution and plan extensively.

Contact your local MDC resource foresterwildlife management biologist, or private land conservationist for guidance about using prescribed fire and to see if the cedar logs might have market value.


Glade Restoration Video

Embed Code