Why was the Natural Burial area burned?

by | May 8, 2023

Natural Burial – Our Native MN Prairie

Prairie Restoration conducted a controlled burn this past week in our Natural Burial area.  This was a planned part of the maintenance of that area and consisted of a 2-day process.  Day 1 was to create fire breaks and a plan for burn (separating items to keep).  Day 2 was the burn itself that lasted almost half a day. The bottom line is that this is part of preserving our prairie.

So, why even have something like this in a cemetery? Our Natural Burial area is kept as a native MN prairie. Any kind of growth that was not native to such a prairie was removed before we began the cemetery. Plants and flowers that were native were added by seed so that it would be authentic to MN. Every year, Prairie Restoration would come to the area to check on prairie growth and remove any invasive plants that did not belong there. We knew that eventually we would need to have a controlled burn.

North American prairies evolved with fire as a common occurrence. Prairies respond very positively to fire and are rejuvenated because the burning of dead vegetation releases nutrients for the plants to use and allows the soil temperatures to warm up more quickly in the spring. In fact, prairies need fire to help them thrive against the competition from woody vegetation that will take over through succession if there are no fires.

There are also some prairie plants that can seed only if exposed to a high heat. A controlled burn will break open the seed pods and allow the seeds to fall into the ground, where they will grow. Most often a burn is done every 3-5 years to keep a prairie healthy. Usually, within 3 weeks of a burn, new life will spring up quickly.

So, come back to look at the Natural Burial area around the beginning of June to see our prairie thrive and flower!

After Controlled Burn

Photo of Natural Burial Section taken Summer of 2020