This study examines a management strategy for restoring grassland and prairie communities that have become degraded due to high density stands of invasive nitrogen-fixing plants. The novel management applications minimize the use of herbicides and maximize the competitive interactions of native species. The management method includes two seasons of application of organic fertilizer (4-1-4), an initial herbicide (Pasture Gard, Dow Agro) application, and mowing, where mowing was a necessary treatment to control secondary growth in prairie habitats, to control high density patches of Lespedeza (L.) Cuneata, in a completely randomized factorial experiment. The herbicide was effective in reducing L. Cuneate stem density 0 stems/m2 from an initial 88 stems/m2 with cover reduced to 0% from 16%. The fertilizer only treatment reduced L. Cuneata percent cover to 6% from initial cover of 16%, but did not reduce the number of stems. The management strategy is an effective first step in restoring a native prairie invaded by a nitrogen-fixing plant.



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legumes, nitrogen-fixing plants, lespedeza cuneata, prairie grassland restoration, invasive species, sustainable management

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Journal of Environmental Science and Engineering