Planning a native prairie planting can be very daunting. Information is very regional and sparse. Or at least that’s how it seems. The truth is – there are a ton of AMAZING books on native prairie planting, maintenance, growing and seed harvesting. Yes, some of the information will still be regional, but the majority of the books we mention have great cross over.
We are entering Year 5 of our prairie restoration. We went in knowing almost nothing about native plants, went through many ups and downs and somehow wound up with a fully diversified sand prairie. We just knew we wanted to restore the land and provided habitat for pollinators, especially bees. Now we know quite a bit more. Much of it we learned from trial and error. The rest we learned from other people and books.
To read more about our journey – search through the native prairie tag on this blog.
Here are the Best Books for Native Prairie Grass and Wildflower Recognition, Growing, and Harvesting
How do you identify native plant seedlings? They all look the same!! Or do they? This is the BEST book for identifying native plant seedlings from germination to full plant. It does an amazing job and covers a wide variety of plants. This book gives leaf pictures, stem details, and ID hints for all of it’s plants. We have this book in a kindle version but it would also be great in print. Tall Grass Prairie Center Guide to Seed and Seedling Identification
This book is everything you need to know to harvest seed and plant native seedlings from A-Z. It is highly technical and specific but the plant specific information is invaluable. Want to know how to clean native prairie seeds? How do you know when the seed are ripe? How do you harvest them? How do you clean them? What is the best way to store certain seeds? What are the germination requirements? This book has it all. Best of all this book can be downloaded as a free PDF file. https://scholarworks.uni.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1104&context=facbook
Can’t tell grasses apart? This is the best book – it’s a fantastic, portable field guide for telling grasses apart by their ligules, flower heads. and seedlings. It is a lifesaver in native grass identification. It’s very helpful for identifying seedlings, differentiating invasives, and identifying your favorite grasses. It’s also helpful for identifying wildflower seedlings. It’s small size makes it great for taking into the field.
A very comprehensive look at native prairie plants. In depth knowledge of growing requirements and conditions, plant description, photos, and interesting attributes. This is the best book for identifying and learning about adult native prairie plants.
These 4 books are our go-to guides. Individually they stand alone, but they also work well in tandem. Together they are a comprehensive approach to learning everything you might want to know about North American native prairie plants; especially those that cover the central US.
Let us know what you think of them and if you have any “must have” prairie books. And feel free to ask us questions about our prairie experience. It hasn’t been all roses, and will will give you the good and the bad parts so you can make an informed choice when you venture into native plants. Happy Growing!