Thanks Brandt!

Brandt at Sam Houston National Forest, Blackland PrairieHNPAT would like to thank Brandt Mannchen of the Houston Regional Group of the Sierra Club for his contributions in removing non-native invasive plants and woody plants from prairies. Brandt and his friends frequently spend a few hours removing these prairie “weeds” from not only Deer Park Prairie, but also, Sam Houston National Forest – Blackland Prairie; Nash Prairie; and on first Saturdays, Marysee Prairie in East Texas. Here are some of Brandt’s recent reports concerning DPP:

Saturday, September 19, 2015
I spent 2.5 hours at Deer Park Prairie today cutting woody plants.  Most of the plants that I cut, in the middle thicket on the north side of the prairie (the same thicket that David Boyd and I worked on several weeks ago) were non-native plant species.  This thicket has been cleared of about 67% of the understory.  As I mentioned previously, after the understory is cleared a chainsaw will be needed to cut down the large non-native trees.

I did not walk through Deer Park Prairie to look at blooming plants but I did notice Gerardia, Goldenrod, Gallardia aestivalis, and Texas Vervain (I think)

Saturday, August 29, 2015
…a summary of what was done today at Deer Park Prairie with Houston Sierra Club volunteers.  I worked from about 8:30 am to 11:00 am and David Boyd worked from about 9:30 am to 11:00 am. I first worked at the large pine tree that is farthest west on the north side of the property.  Keeping in mind what you said about not cutting native trees or shrubs, I cut down a Chinese Tallow at this pine tree.  I had to cut some native plants to get to the Chinese Tallow to cut it down.  I made a small pile of cut plants next to this pine tree.

Then I went to the large thicket that is between the two large pine trees on the north side of the property.  David joined me later.  We cut down a large Pittisporum (about eight inches in diameter).  We also cut down many small non-native plums (I think they are plums and I know they are non-native).  There are several large non-native plum trees that need a chainsaw to cut them down so we focused on cutting down small plum trees and the smaller branches on the larger plum trees.  We did have to cut some native plants to get access to and room to cut down the non-native plants.

I did see Live Oak and Eastern Red Cedar in this thicket so there are some native trees in this thicket.  The site appears slightly elevated so this may be a pimple mound.  We cut about 1/3 of the thicket.  There still is a lot to cut here and as I mentioned a chainsaw is needed to cut the larger non-native trees down.  We made a large pile of cut plants next to this thicket.  When it is time to pick this cut debris up I will help.  I did see a lot of poison ivy in this thicket so cutters beware.

I look forward in several weeks to revisiting this thicket and continuing the cutting of non-native plants.

Thursday, February 12, 2015
I spent 2.5 hours of volunteer time at the Deer Park Prairie today.  I cut about a 40 foot stretch along the west fenceline which contained large Baccharis, vines, shrubs, and small trees.  The fenceline is looking better and better.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Today, David Boyd and I went to Deer Park Prairie and worked two hours apiece clearing along the west fenceline.  We cut down some new vegetation and also cleaned up some areas that had already been cut.

After we cut vegetation we walked around the prairie for about an hour.  I was surprised to see how many plants were still in bloom.  Swamp Sunflower, at least two species of aster (small white and large purple), Downy Lobelia, Texas Coneflower (I thought these had quit blooming two months ago), Simpson Rosinweed, violet species, and others.  It was a treat to see so many plants in bloom when only a few days from December.  The prairie was very wet and definitely shows how it holds onto water.  We also saw a Eastern Meadow Lark, heard a Killdeer, saw a Mockingbird, and saw an unidentified raptor (perhaps a Red-tailed Hawk).

Thanks, Brandt!

Thank you, Ian & Barbara Kress!

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Ian Kress, September 3, 2014, Chinese tallow workday.

A HUGE thank you to Ian & Barbara Kress for your generous donations to Deer Park Prairie in both money and time!

Ian & Barbara Kress, who had donated significantly toward the purchase of Deer Park Prairie, recently donated $5000 to the Native Prairies Association of Texas for Deer Park Prairie. Moreover, they have applied for that amount to be matched by Barbara’s workplace.

Furthermore, Ian has been one of Deer Park Prairie’s most active volunteers in Chinese tallow removal. He initiated the tallow removal workday this past July, when he, his wife Barbara, and Jane Reierson worked with Glenn to cut down tallow trees with chain saws and immediately treated the stumps with herbicide. Although Ian’s job takes him frequently out of the country, whenever he is in town, he comes for a day or two of Chinese tallow removal with Glenn Merkord and sometimes also with Barbara.  Their last two workdays were in October.

We cannot thank Ian and Barbara Kress enough for all they do!


Workdays Dealing with Chinese Tallow at Deer Park Prairie

*** Next regular DPP workday is this Saturday, October 22; 9 a.m. – noon; at Deer Park Prairie; 1222 E. Purdue Lane.  ***

Starting in July, Ian Kress has been coming to Deer Park Prairie (DPP) for Chinese tallow removal workdays, whenever his work brings him back home to Houston. On those workdays, he and Glenn Merkord, sometimes his wife Barbara, plus whoever else volunteers would use the chain saw to cut tallow trees and then herbicide the stumps. During Ian’s most recent trip back, he and Glenn were out there two days – October 22 & 27. Thank you Ian and Glenn!

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At the special workday on November 9, 2014, Glenn led a crew of Laura Hodges, Charlie Lundquist, Randy & Judy Thomas, and Lan Shen to spray the woody plants, especially the Chinese tallows, but also Baccharis, etc., that had regrown after the August mowing. The herbicide Chaparral, recommended by Aaron Tjelmeland of Texas Nature Conservancy & Texas City Prairie Preserve, was used. The men donned backpack sprayers and the women sprayed from long hoses attached to  the herbicide reservoir on the ATV.

Some photos of the November 9th workday are below. Higher resolution and additional photos are at this link.

Judy Thomas, House Landscape Chair at DPP, had been bringing her own lawn mower to mow the front and side lawn. During lunch break that day, she learned to drive the riding mower and had a great time. In the afternoon, her son and grandchildren came and enjoyed a walk on the prairie.

That was a fabulous day on the prairie.  Please join our workdays on 2nd Wednesdays & 4th Saturdays.  RSVP to with your cell phone number, in case we need to contact you concerning inclement weather.