Tom's Blog

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ridge Prairie in color

The Ridge Prairie is one of our newest planted prairies, now in its third growing season. Although we have had a few problems (smooth brome, bird's foot trefoil), we have been able to deal with them.

Today I did a "walk-through" and made a list of all the species I saw. There were easily over 50 species, many flowering, the others in bud or in vigorous vegetative growth.

There is lots of wild quinine (Parthenium integrifolium), most in full flower, and a number of specimens quite tall. This species is not very common in Wisconsin (it is listed in only six counties) and is on the Wisconsin DNR list as "threatened". The main reason it is not more common, I think, is that it prefers mesic conditions, and almost all the mesic habitat is under the plow. However, the Ridge Prairie does not seem like the best location for it. I am speculating that the reason we have so much of it here is that the quality of the seed we used was especially high.

There is also lots of compass plant in the Ridge Prairie, although of course not flowering. Again, I suspect we were lucky with the quality of the seed used.

I did find a fairly large patch of Canada thistle hidden at the far end of the Ridge Prairie. This will be dealt with (by mowing) before the end of the week.

In all, I am pleased with how the Ridge Prairie is turning out. I remember well the day Kathie, Susan, and I planted it. There was 3-4 inches of snow, and it was cold, cloudy, and windy. Nice to know that all that seed we threw out is becoming established.


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