Cat’s Paw Prairie 2005

[To see photos and stories of this prairie in other years, go to the links on the main Cat’s Paw Prairie page.]

This was the third year for the prairie, and it’s looking better. The prairie plants are still pretty sparse, but there are more of them, and I found more interesting ones.

One area, near the Knife Edge path, has filled in with Little Bluestem and Indian Grass, but most of the grasses in the rest of the prairie are Junegrass, Prairie Brome and Wild Rye.

We had the usual dandelion problem in May – but they look pretty and the plants disappear once the prairie plants start growing.

Here’s the Junegrass blooming – in June.

We didn’t mow at all this year, but I did some hand weeding of Yellow and White Sweet Clover, Mullein, and Curly Dock.

One problem that we have in all our prairies is Canada Goldenrod. It’s a very aggressive native that grows around the edges of all the fields, and there must be seeds in the soil everywhere. I don’t usually find any plants for a few years, but in about the third year of a prairie there’s suddenly a lot of it. I think as the grasses dominate more in later years, the goldenrod will become less of a problem – that seems to be happening in our older prairies. I tried killing the Canada Goldenrod with Roundup and with Tordon in a few areas of the Cat’s Paw Prairie to see if that’s helpful and worth the effort. I’ll see if those areas are any better next year.

Here are some more scenes from later in the summer.
You can see some of the common prairie flowers – Yellow Coneflower, Black-eyed Susan, and Bergamot. There’s also lots of Prairie Brome.

One nice plant that I found growing in this prairie is Needlegrass (Stipa spartea). I’ve planted it in all the prairies, but this was the first time I’d seen it growing.

I also found lots of White Goldenrod (Solidago ptarmicoides).

November 2005