Tom's Blog

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Seed collecting at full force

September ushers in seed collecting as a major restoration activity. Suddenly lots of species are ready to collect, and from now until early November each week will bring on several species to collect. Kathie loves seed collecting and has become a real expert. How many people do you know who can identify prairie plant species from single seeds?

Sunday at Black Earth Rettenmund Prairie a group of volunteers collected prairie cinquefoil, purple prairie clover, prairie thimbleweed, big bluestem, lead plant, showy sunflower, Kalm's brome, among others. The photo shows Kathie explaining how to recognize cinquefoil.

Most of us also collected sweet clover, not to save but to bag and dispose of. Although sweet clover eradication was a major activity at Rettenmund Prairie in June and July, there is always the problem of fall regrowth, mostly small flowering plants that are difficult to find but need to be eliminated.

Yesterday at Pleasant Valley Conservancy the weather was stupendous and we had a very enjoyable afternoon seed collecting. Among others we collected Virginia wild rye, woodland rye (Elymus riparius), woodland brome (Bromus latiglumis), prairie cinquefoil, wool grass, dark green bulrush, purple prairie clover, and panicled tick trefoil (Desmodium paniculatum).

Anyone interested in helping collect seeds (or learning how) can join us for our big seed collecting extravaganza on Sunday, October 9, 2011. We will be at Pleasant Valley Conservancy in the morning (9:30 until noon). After a free lunch at the cabin (see photo below), we will move to Black Earth Rettenmund Prairie for the afternoon (1-4 PM). Folks can come for half or all day. This will be the fifth year that we have hosted this event, and it seems to be popular. (Come rain or shine!) For details, send an email to, or contact Kathie at 238-5050.

Even though we do not have any major prairie plantings upcoming, we always have need for seeds to plant in bare areas resulting from various restoration activities.

Check the Pleasant Valley Conservancy web site for a list of recommended seed collecting dates.


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