What is a Piedmont Prairie?

Thursday, Dec 10, 2020

7:00pm – 8:00pm

Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/92506214673

Join Executive Director Bert Harris via Zoom to learn about the initial results from our surveys of native grasslands this summer.

Grasslands of the northern Virginia Piedmont are diverse, but little studied, plant communities that are home to several declining bird and insect species. This summer our research team, together with Virginia Tech, the Center for Urban Habitats, and Virginia Working Landscapes, studied the flora of 37 natural grasslands in five counties. We did this to: (1) learn which species of plants are found in natural grasslands in the northern Virginia Piedmont, (2) identify threats and conservation solutions for these important habitats, and (3) design seed mixes for use in wildflower meadow plantings and grassland restoration projects in our area. We found 433 species of plants, 84% of which were native, including one globally rare and four state-rare plants. The most diverse meadows were found on relatively basic, clay hardpan soils, but high quality meadows were also found on more acidic sandstone and greenstone. Surprisingly, the highest quality grasslands were found in powerline clearings, not in old fields.Unfortunately, three populations of rare plants in powerline clearings were accidentally sprayed with herbicideby power companies during our study. Several sites are also threatened by invasion of plants from Asia, Europe, and the mid-western US.

We are working with power companies, government agencies, and private landowners to improve management of these special grasslands. We have also designed a seed mix to use for meadow plantings in our area so that wildflower meadow plantings can provide excellent habitat while also being beautiful and easy to establish. Many characteristic northern Piedmont grassland plants are not available from commercial seed sellers, but we are working with partners to rectify this.

Cost: Free!

Age: This talk is intended for an adult audience.

COVID-19 Information: This virtual program will occur online.

Registration REQUIRED: Please make sure your email address is correct so we can send you the Zoom link.

We look forward to seeing you!

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