Prairie Talk: Facts and Secrets

Prairie is much more than a patch of grass. It's alive ... no, not like a bad alien invasion sci-fi story. The grass, the flowers, all the plants and bugs, small and bigger animals, an occassional traveler, they all live; independently and together. Smaller flowers bloom early before the growth overcomes them. Bees and flies buzz around, gathering pollen and helping the flowers along. Birds nest in the grass or nearby trees and bushes and feed on insects. Deer can hide in the tall grass and promenade in the evening.
Prairie carries a lot of secrets. Did you know that roots of prairie plants are often much longer than what you see above the ground? The roots are often six or seven feet long, some plants can reach 14 feet underground!

Did you know that where prairie is, trees often don't survive? All that grass dries and catches on fire, naturally, from lightning. It frees the soil from all the dry material, releases nutrients back to soil, encourages new seeds to grow. It burns the young trees.
It also works the other way: where forest is, prairie is not likely to develop. Tall trees shade the soil and the prairie plants need a lot of sun to grow and mature.
Bumblebee pollinating a borage flower.