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Old 03-30-2009, 02:04 PM   #11
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Join Date: Nov 2008

Gloria, please explain the difference between a pioneer and a nurse plant that is referred to in that article. I'm a bit confused. I think it means using the nurse plants to improve the soil and pioneers are succession planted to smother out the invasives? Is that correct?
Lady S

There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling. ~Mirabel Osler

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Old 03-30-2009, 02:46 PM   #12
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Nurse species are plants that help other plants. Eventually the nurse species dies off. A good example of a nurse species would be annual rye. A pioneer species would be a species that colonizes an area previously vacant such as what occurs after a fire. There are many native grasses that lead the process but many exotics get in too. We need to watch out for what moves in to colonize or natural succession will be compromised.
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
- Dr. Seuss
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:29 AM   #13
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Location: Chicago Illinois USA

Nurse crops help the slower germinating,more demanding species. Living organic mass helps with temperature moderation (hot sun on bare ground causes extreme temperature fluctuations in surface soil where seeds reside,to much compact duff slows soil warming),wind does not blow seed around as much,in some cases even excess soil moisture is moderated by transpiration rates.So nurse plants provide shelter and also improve nutrient supply(like a cover crop or spreading straw).
Pioneer species are the early succession plants that help create the conditions for community diversity.A poor soil becomes richer after time,species that do well in rich soil begin to dominate,etc...
"Half Earth Quest" Edward O. Wilson

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Old 03-31-2009, 08:49 PM   #14
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Location: NE IL, USA

And in other news...there are no illustrations in the S/W book. It's all text. I got mine for $40 from a friend, but that was sheer luck.
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