Arlington has worked to restore meadows in several parks and along powerlines over the last two decades. These plant communities are less common locally than forests and woods, and supply habitat for many plants and animals, especially our pollinators.
In Barcroft Park an old practice field was planted with native warm season grasses and sun loving wildflowers. A few years later, meadow wildlife began returning on their own. A formerly lost butterfly species, the Little Wood Satyr, was rediscovered there. Currently we are planting once extirpated species such as Sugarcane Plume-Grass and Poke Milkweed there.
Meadows require management to prevent being shaded in by trees or taken over by invasive plants. Annual mowings stimulate historically occurring disturbances, like fire and grazing, and keep areas open and sunny. It is best to mow in early spring, letting dead stalks and stems provide overwintering habitat for native bees and caterpillars, but before ground nesting birds have arrived.