Will prescribed fire help native grasses become re-established?

By Grant Woods,

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We have a big field that we had in CREP, but it may come out because it is starting to be taken over by other herbaceous plants. My dad is talking about farming it when it comes out, but I think it would benefit the wildlife more if we didn’t. I am trying to talk him into a controlled burn that would help bring back the grasses. Could you give me more information about when we would have someone burn it for us and if it would help or not and why.


Prescribed fire can be an excellent and relatively inexpensive tool to promote native warm season grasses.  The best results usually occur when prescribed fire is used before the native warm season grasses have started growing during the late spring.  Most other herbaceous and woody plants will have already greened up before the native warm season grasses.  Fire will set back these other species and stimulate the established native warm season grasses and their seeds to grow!  

In areas where ag is the predominate land use, cover can be a limiting factor for wildlife.  Native warm season grasses can provide great cover as well as build huge amounts of organic matter!

Enjoy creation,