Before Memorial Day, we mow grass and invasive species in areas where no colonies of sensitive native plant species exist. Camassia, Micranthes and Sidalcea are a few examples of plants we leave undisturbed so they can finish their annual life cycles of blooming and setting seed, further preserving our native habitat. Those areas left untouched also serve as important wildlife habitat for our ground nesting birds, such as spotted towhees.
Our original policy of mowing once annually resulted in denser, taller grasses and the spread of invasive species, of which Daucus, Lapsana and Lathyrus are examples. Our goal is to curb the spread of these undesirable species by mowing large populations during their growing season to slow their setting of seed. As a result, we have a lighter mowing task throughout the cemetery. Having fewer invasive species also presents less competition for light and nutrients to our more desirable native shrubs and perennials. Once the desired native species have set seed, we begin our second mowing, typically in August. At this time we mow the entire cemetery, with the exception of the understory of native shrubs and trees. Our summer mowing moves at a more efficient pace due to decreased vegetation.
The time around Memorial Day is when many people visit loved ones, search for pioneer or veteran graves, or simply enjoy the ambiance within this unique cemetery. Mowing prior to Memorial Day brings about better accessibility to many grave sites for our visitors, creating a more open feel while maintaining the balance necessary for the native environment reminiscent of our historical rural cemetery.