I’ve been thinking a lot about roots lately with Thanksgiving coming up and the holiday season not far behind. Being a new transplant to Iowa, I’m excited to finally put down those roots – finding new opportunities and new connections here. But roots aren’t just important to people, prairie plantings also rely heavily on putting down roots and developing a root system that holds significantly more biomass than the biomass above ground.
Why is this important?
Because native prairies experience natural fire events as well as extremes in moisture and temperature. Strong root systems give the native prairie the resilience to withstand this hostile environment and also give the native prairie plants an edge over plants that – in a less hostile environment – would take over the system.
I’m learning first hand how these prairie plants grow and flourish as I have a small area between my backyard and the alley that was originally planted as prairie. By the time we moved in, this planting was completely overgrown with weeds and woody plants, so I decided to start the prairie over. Since preparing the soil and planting the seed, I’ve had two experts in native planting come by and give recommendations on how to encourage the planting.
And the key comes back to roots. Develop your own root system to encourage resilience in your own life – and support prairie efforts that encourage environmental resilience!