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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Sources of Information on Plant Selection and Plant Propagation


Since our Website opened we have received numerous requests for information concerning the selection and care of plants for use in gardens, wildlife plantings, lawns, or other applications. We are unable to answer most of these questions for several reasons. Often, the requester simply doesn't provide basic information such as geographical location and growing conditions. Equally often, when someone asks for information about a specific type of plant, they refer to it only by its common name, little realizing that the common name may apply to two or more different species with very different habitat requirements. Finally, the Center's botanical expertise lies in native plants of the northern prairies, and we are not well equipped to respond to questions about garden species or plants that grow outside of the habitats in which we work.

Our recommendation is always to go first to your local authorities. These are the people who are most likely to know if a given species will perform well under local temperature, soil, rainfall, and pest or disease conditions, and they are the best sources of information on how to grow and care for the species in your area. They are also most likely to know the local common names of species in your area, and will be able to help you avoid misidentifications.

For lawn and garden applications, go to your local garden shop or nursery. Local garden clubs are another excellent source of information. If you want to propagate native species, a regional botanical garden, native plant club, or restoration society may be your best resource. Often, garden club members can steer you to these resources. For restoration plantings or wildlife cover, visit your local agricultural extension office or contact your state natural resource agency...in addition to providing the information you seek, they may also be able to steer you to funds to help defray some of the costs.

These recommendations also apply if you live in the northern Great Plains states. When you consider the range of climatic, soil, and groundwater conditions across any of the prairie states, it is obvious that you are more likely to get a practical answer to your questions by talking to local resources than by talking to someone at Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center.

Never-the-less, if you are unable to get the answer to a question about a northern Great Plains species or application from local resources, we will be happy to try to help. However, you must include information on where you live (state and town), complete identification of the species of interest (scientific and common name), and as much information as possible on local growing conditions.

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Page Last Modified: Friday, 01-Feb-2013 17:56:27 EST
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