prairie roots

posted May 9, 2016

White-knuckling a fiddlehead in the yard on a summer afternoon my neck and nose burning I remember that vague hot musk smell of it and the roots cemented into miles of cracked clay, the nerve

One time I was scaling a rock wall and lost my balance My hand grasped a clump of bunch grass and it held I thought I was dreaming

There are vertigo moments in the expansive West I imagine slipping off the flat of the horizon body slick along the prairie grass, If only my toes were roots I could grow down to the water wave golden here with them meanwhile holding the whole Earth together

 

-Shannon Pepper, your Sunday Greenhorns blogger

prairierootsystems-2

Diagram-artwork by Heidi Natura of the Conservation Research Institute.  “The Fundamental basis for encouraging use of native plant species for improved soil erosion control in streams and stormwater facilities lies in the fact that native plants have extensive root systems which improve the ability of the soil to infiltrate water and withstand wet or erosive conditions. Native plant species, like those listed in this Guide, often have greater biomass under the surface. In this illustration, note the Kentucky bluegrass shown on the far left, which, when compared to native grass and forb species, exhibit a shallow root system.”