What is the Spruce-Hickory Grove?
In the early spring of 2021, Buhr park next door neighbors noticed tiny tree seedlings had emerged in the mowed areas near the sledding hill. Several clusters of spruce trees grace the western side of the hill and a mature hickory stands close by to the southeast. Could we save these majestic tree seedlings? Could they stay here to provide shade for ball field spectators? Or could they be moved to safe places? Mowers agreed to mow around them. Park staff studied the proposals and offered assistance to provide a safe space for them to find homes around the spruce trees. The area could then become vegetated as a short grass prairie. Mowing would be reduced and the crown of the middle and western side of the hill top would become a spruce/hickory grove.
Neighbors and friends marked and monitored the seedlings throughout the summer. Park staff assisted in marking out the planting areas and supplied protective screening, boundary markers and signage.
Over several days in October, neighbors and friends gathered to transplant the hickory seedlings, along with 5 oak tree seedlings, 23 shrubs and over 75 native prairie plants donated by a local nursery. Over the winter, many varieties of native plant seeds have been broadcast over the area.
We await spring in anticipation of what will emerge to become a pollinator banquet, a feast of color for park visitors and park residents of many species, and an opportunity to learn more about the life cycle of hickories.