In awe of prairie roots…

magenta and pink flowers clustered together and magenta buds

Swamp Milkweed

Today it rained in the prairie. This is good since it has not rained by for a while. I have watered the vegetable garden several times since the last rain, but the prairie takes care of itself. The plants are adapted to the heat of summer and are fairly drought tolerant. Prairie plants survive varied rainfall by having a very deep root system; in fact, two-thirds of most prairie plants are below ground.

purple petals around a cylindrical head

Purple Prairie Clover

Example Root Depths

Blazingstar – 10-12 ft.
Compass Plant – 12-14 ft.
Cup Plant – 12-14 ft.
Goldenrod – up to 16 ft.
False Boneset – 9 ft.
Lead Plant – up to 15 ft.
Purple Coneflower – 4.7-6.5 ft.
Purple Prairie Clover – 5.5-6.5 ft.
Prairie Dock – 12-14 ft.
Rosin Weed – 12-14 ft.
Swamp Milkweed – up to 4 ft.

Big Bluestem – 5-7 ft.
Indian Grass – 5-6 ft.
Little Bluestem – 5-6 ft.
Prairie Dropseed – 3-6 ft.
Side Oats Grama – 2 ft.

To see a pdf diagram that shows the above to below ground ratio of some prairie plants click on… prairie_roots

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One Response to In awe of prairie roots…

  1. Pingback: No rain in sight… | Reflections from the Prairie

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