There are two ways to look after a grassland site mowing or burning. Of course like every other choices to make, one has advantages and disadvantages over the other. The advantage of using mowing as a management tool is where there is a concern regarding the risk of using fire. Although fire has been typically used as the preferred management tool, burning requires special knowledge and experience. Even if you have the requirements to perform a prescribed burn, burning may be prohibited due to local by-laws or the location of the burn site could have a negative smoke impact on the surrounding area.
Mowing on the other hand, can be done by the same way you mow your lawn but with different techniques and timing. The advantage of applying fire is that it mimics how nature would look after a grassland. Fire eliminates weeds as well but also provides nutrients to the soil from the ashes left from the burnt grass. The blackened site welcomes the suns rays which raises the soil temperature and allows the native grasses to get a head start, before other vegetation starts to emerge. When to burn depends on your objective e.g. restore or to maintain or eliminate the species you are targeting.
There is plenty of support documents to help a grassland manger to conduct a Controlled Burn and there are private contractors that can deliver a controlled burn for you. Tallgrass Ontario can also help you in the planning of a prescribed burn. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) Fire Advisor or your local OMNR Stewardship Council can also provide you with advice or direction on how to achieve a Prescribed Burn on your prairie/savanna site.
Tallgrass Ontario has constructed a Low Complexity Prescribed Burn Newsletter. This newsletter will provide a current list of training opportunities, resources, and a list of proposed prescribed burns to be conducted each season. To be added to the distribution list please contact Tallgrass Ontario.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Information Pages:
Prescribed Burn Toolbox: htpp://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/AFFM/2ColumnSubPage/197308.html
Fire Advisors Information:
Local Stewardship Councils:
Private Prescribed Burn Contractors:
Lands and Forests: