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updated: 4/23/2014 6:52 PM

Controlled burn gives boost to prairie plants

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  • Crews conduct a controlled burn Wednesday near the southeast corner of Naperville and Warrenville roads in Lisle. Salvador Flores of McGinty Brothers of Wauconda was one of those who kept the fire -- designed to help native prairie plants -- in check.

       Crews conduct a controlled burn Wednesday near the southeast corner of Naperville and Warrenville roads in Lisle. Salvador Flores of McGinty Brothers of Wauconda was one of those who kept the fire -- designed to help native prairie plants -- in check.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

 
 

A controlled burn conducted Wednesday will help to revitalize prairie plants near the southeast corner of Naperville and Warrenville roads in Lisle and to eliminate invasive plants that threaten the native species.

Joe Wiltjer, assistant field restoration manager for McGinty Brothers of Wauconda, said the professionally managed burn simulates the fires that once occurred naturally in prairies.

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Such burns, he said, remove unwanted plants and accumulated plant materials and allow more light to reach the soil. The additional light encourages growth -- particularly among wildflowers -- and the ash provides fertilizer.

Once the burn is finished and the native plants take a stronger hold, he said, "it also makes the prairie look a lot nicer and aesthetically pleasing for the businesses and homeowners bordering the area being burned."

Controlled burns are common throughout DuPage County at this time of year, especially in forest preserves and places such as the Morton Arboretum in Lisle.

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