Effects of Competition on Prairie Plants – Elizabeth Halley

Elizabeth studied plant growth in an area of the Biocore prairie restoration where there was considerable competition from weeds. The focus was on three species: little bluestem (a grass), butterfly weed (a forb), and leadplant (a legume). The health and growth of the three species in the plot were being compared with their health and growth in the demonstration garden at the top of the hill where weeds had continually been removed (as a result, the prairie species there had little competition from weeds). In order to include other differences between the demonstration garden and this research plot, Beth measured soil composition and light levels in addition to height and width of plants. By closely studying the growth of these three key prairie species, we hoped to find what was limiting their growth so that we could use this information to assist them in becoming more easily established throughout the restoration.