Monday, April 24, 2017

The miracle of native grass

"The greatest conservation tool ever made..."

17 comments:

AprilApple said...

That was a great video. Thanks, Lem.

restores some faith in humanity.

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

That was awesome. Somewhere Aldo Leopold is smiling.

bagoh20 said...

I'm skeptical. I Don't quite see the science of it, but if it works, that's a miracle and gift.

AprilApple said...

yeah - I wanted to see more "before" photos.

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

It is not really all that surprising, if land is overgrazed and abuse, the solution is to allow nature to restore itself with new ground over. Grass cover allows for faster water retention back into the ground and aquifers. But grass typically will not suddenly regenerate off bare rock. The conditions could not have been quite as dire as presented in the video. There were efforts here to reseed and then allow the new grass to grow.

While nature is pretty forgiving (since in nature land is often destroyed by natural forces), it does take time to build back what was lost by erosion.

Sixty Grit said...

When I saw that it was National Geographic I was very skeptical. His explanation sounds like baloney, but since I never lived in the Hill Country I can't really speak to what is going on there.

Here we have had close to 4 inches of rain since yesterday, so our current issue is flooding.

ndspinelli said...

Looks like wild turkey for dinner. Not the 100 proof, the bird.

Sixty Grit said...

This story specifically reminded me of L'homme qui plantait des arbres, which was likewise toute merde du taureau. You can look it up.

I, however have always endeavored to plant trees wherever I have lived. This year's crop was a total failure, sadly, as there was a bumper crop of acorns last fall. I need work on over-wintering - I have tried three different plans with limited success.

The good news is that last year's black walnut seedlings are doing well.

ndspinelli said...

"I don't speak French but I like to kiss that way."

LT. Frank Drebbin

Synova said...

Some of the grasses have roots deeper than trees. It actually makes sense that grass would be more important than trees for opening pathways for water to soak down into the earth. This is long and boring but if you scroll down there are some diagrams and a list of root depths for different grass. https://www.nap.edu/read/2212/chapter/6#113 I recognized a few of the non-grass plants (and the grass) as parts of the seed mixes we use to reclaim oil well sites in New Mexico.

Synova said...

Evi, I thought he said they took out the brush to make way for grass. That it was all scrub.

Sixty Grit said...

It's a pop-up!

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

I was referencing the part that showed bare rock. I was not buying the grass just grew over that.

I know that certain shrubs like chaparral in California, leave oily film on the surface to kill competing species. It also prevents absorption of water. I am not sure if the Hill Country brush do that, but they might. Just removing those plants to plant grass would improve water retention coming in from the surface. But if the rains come before the grass is grown, it would be a muddy disaster.

In California, that chaparral is evolved to burn. Provided it is allowed to burn a lot, you get a patchy growth pattern over the landscape, with a mix of brush, grass, and some oak trees, and no huge fires. Suppress it and you create an eventual inferno.

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

I liked him saying we do not need to rely on government. If they respected private property, left us alone, and stopped taxing us so much, just think of the good we all could do.

AllenS said...

It only works if it rains, and sometimes in Texas it doesn't rain.

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

I sure wouldn't try planting grass in August.

Leland said...

So I've been to that part of Texas a few times. There is lots of limestone caverns and underground aquifer systems. There's plenty enough rain, but it tends to runoff until it reaches a cavern to enter the aquifer, and then flows even faster towards the Gulf of Mexico. Texans are aware of climate change, in that we have cycles of flooding and drought. In 2006, there were severe fires caused by an extended drought. In 2002, there was water overflowing the Canyon Lake Dam.

However, the Dam also plays into this story. It was completed in 1964 by the Army Corps of Engineers. It helped control the Guadelupe and Blanco rivers and to some extent the Edwards Aquifer's recharge zone. So, the government had a bit of a role. But the pressure also came from local citizen, farmers, ranchers, and oil men; who wanted to reclaim the land for useful purposes. The difference is that 50 years ago, Democrat big government meant building dams to help manipulate the environment to serve mankind, and today Democrat big government is shutdown human innovation to prevent mankind from "destroying" the environment. During that time, Texans have remained interested in preserving the environment and using it to serve our needs and wants. Thus the switch from Blue State to Red State about 25 years ago.