Enhancing habitat when there is no more space

There comes a time when a property has been evaluated, low use areas are naturalized, the property is re-evaluated, and more areas are naturalized. This process might, and probably should, occur numerous times. There comes the point, however, that naturalization is maximized and further reducing heavily maintained areas will disturb the purpose of the property, whether it be for golf, burial plots, agriculture, playing fields, etc. At this point, I am often asked, “Now what?”. 

While you may not be able to add more habitat acres, there is always the opportunity to enhance existing acreage through the selective removal and addition of plants. 

As an example, last Saturday I had the opportunity to spend the morning at Wildhorse Golf Club in Las Vegas, NV for a Live Green! event. The superintendent, Scott Sutton, had previously converted 55 acres of turfgrass to desert landscape. We took the opportunity of having 75 eager young helpers to remove non-native, high maintenance plants and put in native, pollinator-friendly plants. 

We also went into an area that was mostly crushed granite and added native plants, providing the opportunity for the area to look like a desert wash. The area was further enhanced by the addition of five tons of stone designed to mimic a dried river bed. 

Since removing the turfgrass, Scott and the local Audubon chapter has seen a significant increase in the diversity of birds on the golf course. We will watch closely to see how these latest changes will impact the wildlife on the course. 

To see additional pictures from the event, visit our Facebook page.

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