To Till or Not to Till: No Till Better for Suppressing Clonal Weeds in the Biocore Prairie – Christina Fisher

We studied how soil tilling influences the abundance and coverage of weeds in the Biocore Prairie in preparation for planting prairie seeds. Tillage generally decreases weeds overtime by increasing seed germination and depleting the seed bank. We hypothesized an increase in the abundance and percent coverage of weeds in a tilled versus no-tilled area of the Biocore Prairie. We measured species abundance and percent coverage of weeds in twelve 0.5m2 quadrats in tilled and no-tilled areas eight weeks after tilling. No-till had 60% weed coverage with 32% comprising weedy forbs. Tilled had 19% coverage with 65% comprising weedy forbs, including an increased prominence of clonally reproducing Canada thistle. The data indicates that tilling decreases weed coverage, but no-till provides better control of aggressive clonal weeds.