Grasses that Changed Minnesota

A large part of Minnesota used to be tall and mixed grass prairie….it was a sea of grass in southern, and northwestern Minnesota. Today most of the prairie land is planted in corn and soybeans. We have moved from native perennial grasses to domesticated annual grasses (and legumes) that feed the world. Grasses that made a difference in Minnesota are the native prairie grasses: big and little bluestem, Indian grass, and switchgrass. These 4 grasses changed Minnesota: as the grass grew, it added organic matter to the soil building some of the world’s best soil in the prairie. Today this soil supports some of the most productive cropland in the world. Without the prairie grasslands, we would not have such productive soils.

Indian grass at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum's prairie

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About grasstalk

University of Minnesota Professor and Extension Horticulturist
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