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2018 PRAIRIES & POLLINATORS A REGIONAL CELEBRATIONMonarchs are a key prairie species and rely on pollinator plants. Photo by Chuck DuplantGreater…

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Wild About Houston Film FestivalPart of the 2018 PRAIRIES & POLLINATORS A REGIONAL CELEBRATION Wednesday, at

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Prairie Facts

Report on Kirchoff Family Farm April 6, 2018, by Don Kirchoff


(Photos by Don Kirchoff unless otherwise noted.)

I worked on the prairie Thursday, mostly spraying invasive woody plants in the oldest prairie fields (west half of property). There is an occasional milkweed in these fields, including an antelope horn Asclepias asperula (image confirmed by Chris Best). I did not see the three emery milkweeds spotted last year.

I also burned three of four small wood stacks in the field N of the house designated for haying this fall. We’ll transplant some of our antelope horn seedlings in these small burn pads as a follow-up to Chris’s similar milkweed experiments.

The population of invasive woodies in the “west” fields can now be measured in scores rather than in the thousands as was the case a few years ago! Some large ones remain that we will have to remove mechanically. Another day and we’ll be finished with these fields for now and the months of battling live woodies in the east 90 acres must begin.

The prairie is remarkably beautiful this year, considering the harsh and dry winter, and provides great opportunities for anyone with a camera.  Attached are a few images, starting with sunrise (top photo).

The cacti promise to be very showy this year: Texas Prickly Pear Cactus Opuntia engelmannii:

 

A spider finally settled down and let me get his photo.

There are images of my favorite woody plant: a grove of Guayacan Guaiacum angustifolium, some still blooming their tiny blue flowers and others producing seed pods.

 


(photo - brilliant blue mature Guayacan bloom, by Delange.org)

There is a one-foot tall onion-like plant with a long, thin purple flower (a lily?). And one of our yucca Yucca constricta is sending up a blossom. I could have spent the entire day just taking photos!!
     

The Eastern screech owl Megascops asio did not poke its head out of the new box at the hog corral, so I did not see him yesterday. Speaking of hogs! There are two new disturbed sites, but the hog population in our area seems to remain unusually small. As a result this is a great year for the spiderworts Tradescantia humilis– blooming heavily with few hogs to root them up.

Don Kirchoff