Prairie Maintenance

Burning, spraying and mowing prairies are critical to a new prairie’s survival. Blooming Prairie Nursery maintains prairies around Iowa by providing controlled burning, spraying for weeds and mowing one to two year old prairie plots. Prairie maintenance is vital for the first five years of your prairie’s life. It’s very important to take care of your land in the beginning to ensure the long term stability of the prairie flowers and natural ecosystem. Our family noticed a gap in the market when it came to maintaining prairies and witnessed a number of plantings wither away. In 2011, we expanded our services to include professional prairie spraying, mowing and burning to support these beautiful habitats. Without the proper maintenance, weeds will takeover, early succession trees will invade and your prairie will soon become comprised. Contact Blooming Prairie to take care of your prairie maintenance needs.

Controlled Burns

Controlled burns are one of the best management practices since they remove dead vegetation allowing for new regrowth and destroy non-native species and their seeds that aren’t deep rooted or fire tolerant like our native varieties. We recommend burning your prairie once a year for the first five years. Burning varies location-to-location depending on each town’s regulations. After the permits have been secured, Blooming Prairie will assess the burn site and develop a burn plan. The burn plan details how trees will be protected and where fire breaks will be mowed to manage the fire.

Spraying Noxious Weeds

Ideally, weeds are sprayed after a burning, around May when the bi-annual plants are in the rosette stage. Perennial weeds, such as Canada Thistle, are sprayed during the summer months when they are in their pre-bud to bloom stage. Prairies are spot-sprayed, so chemicals don’t kill new flowers. Spot spraying eliminates noxious weeds (bull thistle, wild parsnip, and sour dock) and should be done in the Spring, Summer and Fall or at least three times a year.


Improper mowing, too frequently or infrequently can stunt the prairies growth, even when the weeds are being properly sprayed. A new prairie planting should be mowed in its first year when vegetation is 4 to 6 inches tall. Annual weeds will easily outgrow prairie flowers for the first two years. Mowing helps cut back noxious weeds and gives prairie flowers the opportunity to grow. Each year throughout the first growing season, you must mow whenever the vegetation reaches 4 to 6 inches. Mowing during the second and third years should be on a need basis if spraying is not an option.