WHAT TYPES OF HABITATS ARE GOING TO BE IN KORTH PARK?
When Korth Park is restored it will provide numerous diverse native habitats that were present in an Oak Savannah. An Oak Savannah is a prairie containing occasional oak trees, specifically Burr Oak trees. The reason the Burr Oak was the tree present in an Oak Savannah is because their bark is thick enough to withstand the wildfires that periodically cleared the prairies. Presently Korth Park, it contains approximately 85 acres of farmland, 5 acres of woodland and 1300 linear feet of shoreline vegetation.
The wetland area which covers 300 linear feet of the shoreline area is ephemeral at present. It will be dredged a few feet and replanted.
Prairie will be planted first in areas where soybeans presently are planted. Where corn is planted, soybeans will be planted next year, followed by prairie. Soybeans are a legume so they fix nitrogen into the soil, which will give the prairie plants a good start. The prairies will be burned periodically to maintain them. The alfalfa fields will be the last in the rotation, rotating into corn, soybeans and finally prairie. The west most hilltop will remain in alfalfa due to its topography and potential for erosion.
North of the Korth house an oak opening is planned. An oak opening is a group of oak trees existing in the prairie landscape of an Oak Savannah. When you enter the wooded area today you will notice that some of the old Oak trees branch outward instead of upward like most woodland trees do. This is because they are shade intolerant. They need light to grow and must not be crowded. Since fires were eliminated in the area about one hundred years ago, other trees have grown up around these old oak trees and creating a dense woods. These trees compete with the oak trees for available sunlight. Vegetation on the woodland floor is dense and much of the vegetation is not native. This area was pasture until 1995. Garlic mustard has already invaded the woodland.