7. The Hukezalie Farm Tallgrass Prairie & Native Hardwood Windbreak Projects

Tallgrass prairie with forbs on the Hukezalie.

The above photo illustrates Hukezalie's native prairie in late summer of 2012 after cut to control weeds. The second photo (below on the right) shows Hukezalie's native prairie on August 7, 2013.  The third photo (on the right and below the photo of Hukezalie's native prarie) shows a roadside windbreak established with native grasss hedge and a row of native hardwood trees on August 7, 2013.

The Hukezalie farm – a former tobacco farm now growing corn, soybeans, and rye – joined the ALUS program in 2010 with the addition of a tallgrass prairie restoration project, a roadside hardwood windbreak, and a field-edge windbreak.

The tallgrass prairie project was established on a former tobacco field and included the planting of forbs amongst tallgrass species. The species mix included Big bluestem, Indian grass, Switchgrass, and Little bluestem, while the forb mixture included Butterfly Weed, Brown-eyed Susan, Wild Bergamont, Virginia Mountain Mint, New Jersey Tea, Foxglove Beard Tongue, Dwarf Blazing-Star, Showy Tick-trefoil, Panicled Tick-trefoil, Sweet Ox-eye, and Round-headed Bushclover. The prairie covers 1.5 acres.

Small agricultural fields once suitable for tobacco are unable to efficiently support large farming equipment.  The establishment of tallgrass prairie in these fields creates open habitat for many wildlife species both common and at risk, and supports a variety of ecosystem services, including pollination, climate regulation and carbon sequestration, regeneration of important wildlife habitat, soil health, and increased biologically diversity.  

The hardwood windbreak project implemented in 2010 resulted from a partnership with Norfolk County’s Trees for Roads program, and native species were planted, including White Pine, Hard Maple, and White Oak, stretching to cover 0.3 acres.

Windbreaks reduce wind force and provide farms on the fragile Norfolk sand plain opportunities to curtail erosion. In addition to these agricultural benefits, windbreaks provide wildlife benefits such as reproduction sites, shelter and protection, travel corridors, and food.  Windbreaks are also important sources of food and habitat for native pollinators. A strip of tallgrass prairie including 11 species of native wildflower was planted adjacent to the windbreak supporting increased erosion control and windbreak benefits as well as native pollinator habitat.


Coordinates to view tallgrass prairie project: 42⁰46’40.393”N 80⁰21’18.671”W
Coordinates to view hardwood windbreak project: 42⁰46’43.531”N 80⁰21’12.438”W

Contact Name: 
Denika Piggott
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