Native Prairie in Missouri

John Murphy, a private land conservationist for Missouri Department of Conservation, talks about the importance of Native Grasslands in Missouri

Historically, Missouri was a grassland dominated state. These native grasslands included prairies, savannas, wet prairies, and woodlands. John Murphy from the Missouri Department of Conservation Stopped by the set of Good Morning Heartland to talk more about Native Grasslands and how to establish them on your land. WATCH VIDEO ABOVE to learn more.

These grasslands were very diverse in plants and animals and contributed to the rich soil structure we enjoy today.

Missouri currently has less than 1% of its native prairie remaining, and grasslands remain as the most threatened, terrestrial ecotype in the world.

Question: Why are native grasslands important?

Answer: Itâ??s important to remember that prairies are not JUST grass. Weâ??re talking about diverse systems of plants, invertebrates, soil organic matter, fungi, and so on. That diversity is a prairieâ??s strength in controlling erosion, providing wildlife benefit, balancing water flow in streams, and cycling biomass. Often, when a biological system loses diversity, it becomes weaker, and a lot of organisms, like us, suffer in some fashion.

Question: Tell us more about â??prairiesâ??.

Answer: Often, you may hear about warm-season plants vs. cool season

  • Cool-season grasses, most are exotic (fescue, timothy, brome) â?? sod formers

  • Warm-season grasses and wildflowers most are native (big bluestem, Indian grass, and compass plant), root systems, and life cycles.

Question: How can landowners get prairie established on their property?

Answer: Some are fortunate to have remnant prairie that needs some work to tease it out, some folks may need to renovate and do a seeding. In either case, we encourage you to visit with your local MDC Private Land Conservationist.

Missouri Department of Conservation

Northeast Regional Office (Kirksville Location)

3500 S. Baltimore

Kirksville, MO. 63501