Wednesday, October 7, 2009

October Prairies

The prairie is beginning to lose some of its summer brilliance and shift into the golden browns of autumn. The change is happening quickly. By the end of this month, the prairie plants will have lost most of their green colors.

The deciduous trees in the woods are starting to lose their chlorophyll and show their underlying yellows and oranges. In a perfect year, the trees show their best color at the same time as the grasses and the weather is dry and sunny. Hopefully, this will be one of those perfect years.

The cedars should maintain their shiny green appearance for several more months. Cedars begin to show the stresses of winter toward the end of January. This has been an exceptional growing season and the cedars may be in shape to keep their healthy glow on into spring.

The local Black Vultures came by to see what I was doing. I apparently didn’t look vulnerable, so they glided on out of sight.

Another sign of the season is the profusion of spider silk waving from the grass tops. It looks as though there were some pretty large spiders ballooning in the wind. Some of the strands looked large enough to lift me off the ground. Well, almost.

The grass plants that produced seed will dry and turn brown first. The nonproductive shoots are still green and will usually keep growing until we have a good hard frost.

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