[To see photos and stories of this prairie in other years, go to the links on the main East Center Valley page.]
The south end of East Center Valley was a wetland before it was farmed, and there are still some remnants of the plants that used to grow there. It has a large population of Swamp Betony.
And this summer I found Green Twayblade – a native wetland orchid. These are the seed pods.
Prairie Cordgrass (Spartina pectinata) is coming up in this wet area, and there are big patches of Black Bulrush (Scirpus atrovirens), and Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica).
Looking back on our burning adventure, I’m not sure it helped the prairie very much. It seems to have discouraged some of the White Clover but it doesn’t seem to have affected Red Clover, Dandelion, Queen Anne’s Lace, or Canada Thistle, and there’s much more Canada Goldenrod than before. Canada Goldenrod is an aggressive native that can be a problem in some prairies, and it seems to be becoming one here. West Center Valley Prairie, which we haven’t burned, has less Canada Goldenrod and more prairie plants.
We decided to try mowing just as the goldenrod was coming into bloom – hoping that will discourage the Canada Goldenrod and give the other plants a chance.
I over-seeded the mowed area this winter with prairie grasses and some fairly aggressive prairie flowers including Big Bluestem, Indian Grass, Yellow Coneflower, Indian Paintbrush, and Sweet Everlasting. I hope these can eventually compete with the Canada Goldenrod.