Northwest Highway Landscape Restoration
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Installation of seven separate prairie seed and/or plug mixes occurred on June 28, 2018. Exact mix usage was determined by microsite water retention, topography, and light availability. Areas that were planted via seed had erosion control blanket immediately placed over the seeded area to help hold seed in place, as well as protect it from being eaten by birds. Extremely wet areas in the drainage swale had excess water removed prior to planting, and then were planted with a diverse array of 23 separate species of native grasses, sedges, and forbs. These areas also incorporated erosion control blankets as a means to help hold newly planted plugs in place while the area was inundated with water. Nearly 70 separate species of native grasses, sedges, and forbs were planted across the site. The seeded areas have established quite well, and areas that have been planted with plugs are thriving. Few species of plants are actually flowering at this time, as they are expending energy for establishment and root production. A more showy display will be expected next year, with total establishment of the site occurring in 2020. The goal at this stage of prairie installation and establishment is to control weedy species to aid in the establishment of the planting. To further this goal, a combination of mowing and selective herbiciding is being utilized. Areas that were seeded are being mown to keep invasive weeds from reseeding, which reduces future weed seeds and competition. In areas that were planted with plugs, herbicide has been used to control weeds and reduce competition. This maintenance program will continue into the fall. In subsequent years, selective herbicide will be utilized across the site on an as needed basis to control invasive weeds until the prairie is fully established.
Posted by cgorecki  On Sep 17, 2018 at 7:38 AM 2 Comments
Native restoration projects, such as the Northwest Highway Landscape Project, are multi-year processes that require several growing seasons in order to achieve full establishment and visual transformation. The first step of the process is site preparation, which will include removing the current turf grass and re-grading some locations. After there is a clean slate for the native species to thrive, seed and plug installation will occur. The seed will focus on developing extensive underground root structures to establish itself.  There will be little activity happening above ground in the first two to four months after initial installation.  The first year is a critical time to manage any weed species within the project area to ensure the native seedlings are able to establish and thrive. During the second year, above ground growth will start to flourish.  At this point, the native plants will have a well-developed root system and significant top growth.  Although some species will begin to flower, most other species will still be developing and will not begin flowering until the following year.  Hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinating insects will also start appearing at the site. The third and subsequent years are when full establishment and naturalization occurs.  All species will be flowering at various times throughout the growing season, and abundant insect and bird activity will be prevalent throughout the site.  Native plants will dominate the site with minimal weed growth.  Minor stewardship, which could include occasional weeding of invasive species, brush cutting, and prescribed burning, will still be needed occasionally to maintain the area.  Although the site will not be entirely “maintenance free”, mechanical and chemical inputs will be drastically reduced. From this point forward, the area will be a thriving and ecologically diverse greenway providing numerous environmental benefits, such as improved storm water control, reduced maintenance, and enhanced wildlife habitat. 
Posted by cgorecki  On May 03, 2018 at 6:20 AM 193 Comments
The Village recently completed an informational flyer on the Northwest Highway Landscape Restoration project. Click on the link below for photos, planting information, and an overview of benefits this project will provide once complete! Northwest Highway Landscape Restoration Flyer
Posted by cgorecki  On Apr 18, 2018 at 9:51 AM 216 Comments
The Village Of Arlington Heights is continuing its commitment to the environment by establishing projects with nature- based solutions.  One such project is the Northwest Highway Landscape Restoration, which will take place on the south side of West Northwest Highway, just east of Wilke Road.  Approximately half of an acre of turf grass will be converted into a naturalized native roadside landscape. This process will be accomplished by removing a portion of turf grass, which requires costly maintenance and herbicide programs, and replacing it with plant material native to this area.  The goal of this project is to provide an aesthetically pleasing landscape that will provide a sustainable, low maintenance approach to land management, in addition to providing storm water benefits.  The Village has teamed up with award winning Tallgrass Restoration of Schaumburg, and Ecology + Vision LLC of Leland, to oversee and complete the naturalization project.  Beginning this spring, crews will remove the existing turf grass and install native prairie seeds and plants.  The project’s final result will be a naturalized meadow of native prairie grasses and flowering herbaceous plants that will provide year round interest, additional wildlife habitat, and enhanced storm water management.  The restoration project will take about three years for the area to completely mature.  Continue to check back for updates and pictures of the project’s progression!
Posted by cgorecki  On Apr 16, 2018 at 12:53 PM 163 Comments