It’s Worth the Wait – Ecological Restoration Takes Time

Every restoration project has its own goals, from fixing erosion issues around a retention pond or creating a beautiful natural habitat, to controlling invasive species. Each project is approached with specific goals in mind, and every project is unique. However, in most cases, the restoration process is similar.

Here’s how we approach most projects:

Step 1 - Prep
Sample project: within the first six months.

Step 1 – Prep/Plant

The first thing we do with every new project is prepare the site. Some of these prepping activities include conducting controlled burns, re-grading, removing invasive species, trees, grasses, and brush, and more. Our goal is to create an ideal environment for native species to thrive. Once the site is prepared, we then install plugs specifically chosen for your project or plant a native seed mix tailored to your site. In this stage, plugs are small and seed needs time to germinate.

You won’t see much happening above ground in the first 2-4 months after initial installation.

Step 2 – Establish

Step 2 - Establish
Sample project: after one year.

Germination of seed and the establishment of plugs are long-term processes. Native species have extensive root systems that need time to fully establish into the landscape. Most of the growth in the first year is underground, so you won’t see much happening on the surface, unless your site has had a head start through the use of plugs.

Step 3 – Grow

Step 3 - Grow
Sample project: during the second year.

During year two, you will see your site begin to flourish with significant above-ground growth. By this time, the native plants on your site will have a robust root system developed and the top growth will be well established. Some species will begin to flower, while others are still developing and are not quite ready to bloom. At this stage you will also start to see wildlife such as hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators.

Step 4 – Thrive

Step 4 - Thrive
Sample project: in year three.

By year three, your site will be thriving with native plants and you will start to see all of the benefits that come with them. With regular stewardship, your site will continue to thrive for years to come. Ongoing stewardship may include mowing, prescribed fires, brush cutting, applying herbicides when necessary, and hand-pulling weeds. These services help to keep your site looking its best by keeping out invasive species and promoting the growth of native plants.