Photo of the Week November 5, 2010

Stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida) seeds in the fall.

Autumn prairies are characterized by golden colors and abundant fluffy seeds.  Goldenrods, asters, gayfeathers and many other species become especially conspicous this time of year because their light-colored seed heads stand out strongly against the rusty browns and yellows of the rest of the prairie.

We finished our annual seed harvesting last week and mixed seeds this week.  Most of our seed harvest now goes toward overseeding of degraded remnant prairies because we’ve already converted almost all of the crop land we own.  The focus on remnant prairie restoration significantly changes the way we harvest seeds.  Rather than trying to harvest from 200-230 species to capture the entire range of plant diversity possible, we can focus on getting larger amounts from fewer species.  It also eliminates the need to harvest from some of the more difficult to obtain species like violets, pale poppy mallow, and many sedges.  Those species tend to persist in degraded prairies in the face of chronic overgrazing and broadcast herbicide application that takes out many larger and more show (and easier to harvest) species.

This entry was posted in Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography, Prairie Restoration/Reconstruction, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , by Chris Helzer. Bookmark the permalink.

About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners – both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.

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