Cross Timber and Prairies Plant

The term “Cross Timbers” indicates to an ecological region of forest vegetation and woodland in central and eastern Oklahoma. Though Cross Timbers also occur in Texas and Kansas, over half of the approximated 4.8 million hectares of that region are found in Oklahoma, making it the rich woody vegetation type of the state. Albeit the Cross Timbers are the western extension of the oak-hickory forest of the eastern U.S., it’s not precise to describe Cross Timbers simply as forest. In fact, the Cross Timbers is a mosaic of forest, prairie, and woodland ไม้มงคล.

The Cross Timbers was, and is, the transition zone between the grasslands of the Great Plains and deciduous forests of the east. 

Northern Cross Timbers

A wide belt of land from south-central Oklahoma into southeastern Kansas, this is the part of the Cross Timbers that expands into Kansas. In that state, it covers Elk counties and eastern Chautauqua and smaller portions of Greenwood, Wilson, Woodson, and Montgomery counties, while in Oklahoma, this area covers all of Pottawatomie, Seminole,  and Okfuskee counties, large parts of Lincoln, Oklahoma, Osage,  Creek, McIntosh, Pontotoc, Cleveland, Hughes, and Okmulgee counties, and smaller parts of Garvin, Logan, Murray, Tulsa, Pawnee, Wagoner, and Washington counties. The towns of Sand Springs, Ada, Sapulpa, and Shawnee, Oklahoma fall within this large region; Okmulgee and Bartlesville lie on the eastern edge.

Eastern Cross Timbers

In Oklahoma, this belt of woodland covers up all of Marshall County and parts of Carter, Love, Bryan, and  Johnston counties, but in Texas, this area exists as a long, very thin strip of dense forest stretching from the Red River to north of Waco, Texas. It passes through eastern Cooke, northwestern Grayson County, Tarrant and Denton counties, western Hill County, central Johnson County, and northern McClennan County. The city of Arlington, Texas lies within this zone, and Cleburne and Denton are on its western edge.

Western Cross Timbers

A much wider band than the Eastern Cross Timbers, the Western Cross Timbers band extends from far southern Oklahoma, including parts of Carter and Love counties, into central Texas, where it covers large parts of Young, Wise, Montague, Jack, Parker, Stephens, Palo Pinto, Brown, Eastland, Erath, San Saba, and Mills counties, and smaller parts of Cooke, Hood, Coleman, Clay, Callahan, and McCulloch counties. In Texas, this region includes the towns of Mineral Wells and Weatherford; Brownwood  lies on the western edge, while Stephenville is on the eastern fringe.

The most important tree species in the Cross Timbers are blackjack and post oak. Both are slow growing, intolerant of shade, low in stature, they have limited commercial value and they reproduce from root sprouts. A number of other shrubs and trees are also common, such as bitternut hickory, black hickory, shumard oak, black oak, and red cedar. Grasses found in the Cross Timbers are those of surrounding grasslands: big bluestem, little bluestem, and Indian grass. Animal species such as bison, Carolina parakeet, black bear, and passenger pigeons when roamed freely in the Cross Timbers.

What is a Prairie?

Prairies are mostly made up of sedges (grasslike plants), grasses, and other flowering plants called forbs (e.g. milkweed, coneflowers).  Some prairies also have some trees. Wisconsin’s prairies fall into 3 basic types.

Wet Prairie

 Lots of water, poor drainage, peat soil or deep clay silt loam. Prairie cord grass and marsh milkweed are two species of plants common to the wet prairie.

Mesic Prairie

Some water, sandy loam soil or medium-deep silt, good drainage. These regions are dominated by tall grasses: Indian grass and big bluestem. Here you’ll also find out yellow coneflower and rosinweed. Flowers of the mesic prairie may reach 4 to 6 feet high, by late summer.

Dry Prairie

Little water, limestone or dry shallow soil over sand. Dry prairies on steep slopes are also known as “goat prairies.”  Sideoats grams, little bluestem, and purple coneflowers can be found here.

When to establish a prairie planting?

The perfect time to prairie plant is March. Some planting could be carried out in September; however this wouldn’t suit warm season grasses. In March the soil is starting to warm up and all plants will have the entire season to grow and establish.
Timing of seed sowing varies on the seed mix or your custom choice of seeds. Select species with the same germination requirements.

Christophe Rude
Christophe Rude
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