At The Parklands, staff are dedicated to bringing visitors the best possible park experience. Our Natural Areas Team, for example, strive for beauty and preservation. Managing nearly 4,000 acres of land is no easy task, but our team seamlessly does so. As you explore along the Louisville Loop, you are sure to come across a luscious meadow of grasses and flora in various locations throughout The Parklands. From August through January, our Natural Areas Team will be strategically managing these meadows in order for them to thrive and reach their full potential.
The bulk of meadow management takes place in the fall and winter, so mowing has less of an impact on park wildlife, such as nesting birds or pollinators and other insects. Our team mows sections of meadows, leaving some areas untouched to provide winter habitat for wildlife. This sectioning off allows us to prevent losing important pollinator insects that are vital to our ecosystem.
When it comes to meadow management, there are a few important techniques we employ. A technique called top clipping, which is to mow the grass at a higher height, is implemented to manage perennial weeds in summer and autumn. Removing the tops of these robust weeds allows smaller plants in the meadows to receive light and growth, while preventing the weeds from flowering and seeding. A more aggressive technique called disking is sometimes needed to control overgrown trees and shrubs. This slicing of the disks in the ground disturbs the top layer of soil and tree roots, encouraging re-vegetation of annual-cut perennial grasses and flowing plants. Along with these methods, an annual rotational mowing is done from autumn into winter to clean up meadow areas, inhibit young unwanted trees, and renew growth of grasses and perennials.
Meadows at The Parklands are still fairly new and are in their young, flowering stages of life. Eventually, these meadows will become aged with lush, flowing grasses. We continue to learn and respond to the management needs to continue ecological health and beauty. The next time you are out exploring in The Parklands, stop to take a mindful look at one of our many meadows and appreciate the importance that these grasslands have in nature.
About the Author
As the Parklands Fund Coordinator, Taylor Freimund works with the Development team to coordinate annual fundraising and development events and activities, as well as overseeing fundraising marketing and donor communications. Prior to joining The Parklands team in the summer of 2017 as a Communications Specialist, she worked as an Administrative Assistant at UPS throughout college while receiving a Bachelor of Science in Communication. She focused her marketing and strategic communication efforts on non-profit work at Fund for the Arts, The KY Humane Society and The Cincinnati Art Museum. In her free time, she enjoys drinking coffee and hanging out with her dogs.