The savanna grasses typically suffer some damage from cold winter weather. This year is no exception and the tops of the grasses died, though the lower stems and roots remain healthy. To hasten recovery, park staff is mowing a section of the savanna. The mowing will also make removal of woody species easier, an ongoing effort in the savanna restoration. Next year another section of the savanna will be mowed, and then the mowing will be complete for the next five years.
The grasses will be left 13 inches tall to provide important shelter to birds and other wildlife that make their home in the savanna. It is also an ideal height for speedy recovery.
Historically, wildfires would have stimulated this regeneration (The park’s Golden Age art installation is reminiscent of the fires). More recently, cattle grazed on the grasses, though overgrazing encouraged the invasion of the woody species that threaten to overrun the grasslands. In the absence of both these, mowing is the best option and part of the ongoing restoration of Phil Hardberger Park’s grassland