Showy Tick Trefoil

(Zone 5a)

I totally forgot about an order I placed with Prairie Moon Nursery, when I got the Here-they-come! email yesterday. I was already beat from the plantings I did earlier in the day.

About the Showy Tick Trefoil, I am not sure why I ordered that, unless I was thinking of it for a host plant for something, or possibly as a food source for Bobwhites. In searching more about this, one site says it can spread six feet in all directions. Whoa! My children have requested that they have some lawn for their running arounds, so I have to leave something for them. They can do full sun, so I am thinking out in the prairie-to-be area.

Does anyone have experience with this plant?

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

It is generally a prairie plant. For utilization by wildlife see

(Zone 5a)

Thank you for the reply.

I was thinking that, but my field guide said open woods, so I was wondering if it needed some shade. That was the first link I ran into when I search for what in the world I ordered and I looked at that list, but didn't see anything that struck me that I wanted to specifically attract to the property. We've had a lot of Eastern Tailed Blues already, but did not know what their hosts were.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

The LBJ Wildflower Center says it attracts hummingbirds:

(Zone 5a)

I really need to get the latest pictures off the camera, but here is a mid-June picture of one patch of the plant.

If I didn't know exactly where I placed these, I would have no idea what this is. Those early leaves are nothing like the mature plant. They have been growing in every area I put them, dry or mesic soil. But they are definitely not growing as fast as I had hoped, but they are a perennial, so maybe will have a better start next year.

I thought about asking this on the PlantFiles help forum, but not much gets responded to there any more. Where in the world do the Soil pH requirements come from? I used to avoid planting certain natives because of that and found that my natives which require so-called acidic soil, thrive in neutral to alkaline soil. We had three areas tested around the property and their pH ranged from 7.1 to 7.6. The Desmodium canadense plant file page claims it is acidic and mildly acidic.

I was thrilled to see my Wild Senna are starting to form flowers. Oh, it is a mess in that spot with the day lilies, Maximilians, the flaccid type of Yucca, tomatoes, and whatever weeds. Our duck likes to sleep in that spot so I don't get much done over there. I was concerned she'd mess up the tiny Wild Senna starts, but they are doing well.

I was kind of shocked to see tomato plants growing there, but then I forgot that sometimes the children would place our duck's salad in that area. She's spoiled and has been ever since that mink/weasel attack nearly left her for dead. It was only because of her large size being able to fend the thing off and us getting to her at the right time that she made it. She has always had a fondness for lettuce and tomatoes... we learned this when we first got her and another duck.

Thumbnail by Chillybean
Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Poor duck! Or maybe I should say lucky duck because you all saved her!

The soil pH levels listed are probably the ones typical for a plant's native range. Some plants will do a lot better if they're grown in proper soil conditions, but it might not make a noticeable difference for others.

Blueberries, for example, are known to be unhappy in soil that's not acidic enough. I have some wimpy blueberries that are surviving, but not thriving in my yard. I have soil acidifier for them but generally forget to apply it.

(Zone 5a)

Our duck is so old now, she needs to be carried into the pool, but she can flop herself out.

From what I understand, our portion of Iowa is known to be alkaline and my goal is to plant things historically grown here. I was able to get some plants last year that are Iowa ecotypes from right in the area. Reading about some of them, I was surprised to find the Large-flowered Beardtongue being in the tallgrass prairies, since they do not like competition. But I guess there are just slightly differing ecosystems within the larger habitat. It is one we will have to protect, if we do any fires, since that will do them in.

We were given a raspberry bush and it has grown well, but it is one of my children's baby. I have to remind him to put on the acid fertilizer.

(Zone 5a)

Some of the Showy Tick Trefoil is blooming. The flowers are tiny, the photo just makes them look larger. They are not lasting long, though! Those corn rootworm beetles are decimating every tender plant I have. They are on the hardier stuff like the native sunflowers, but do not do the damage as to my Rose Mallows, these and others.

It's bad this year because the corn is right up to our property line on two sides (We're on a corner) and corn is across the road. These beetles got here faster this year than last, so my summer plants hardly had time to start blooming before they arrived.

It is a native insect, but has gotten out of control with the price of corn being so good. Some farmers around here do not even rotate, it's just corn every year. And the others only do two year rotations. Besides growing resistance to the GMOs, these insects have adapted by staying dormant in soy bean years. :(

I may have ranted about this before. It is just so frustrating that by the time the adults come to me, they have already laid eggs under the corn, so I am doing nothing toward future generations. And how can I compete against thousands of acres worth of these beetles? Because I avoid chemicals, it's been hand squishing and soapy water. I am tempted to use insecticidal soap, but really do not want to harm pollinators. The beetles go first for the pollen, then to the petals and other parts of the plant, but I've never seen them eating the leaves.

Thumbnail by Chillybean
Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Beautiful photo!
What a bummer that the beetles eat your flowers!

My understanding of insecticidal soap (and this link reinforces it) is that it only kills the pests with which it comes in contact, so I think you could use it without hurting pollinators.

(Zone 5a)

Thank you. The photo was taken as a fog was lifting. I was taken with all those little droplets.

I appreciate the link. I know I have some EcoSmart somewhere.

I am trying something. I covered a Rose Mallow flower with an organza bag before it opened. This morning, I went out and tried hand-pollinating it using instructions found on line. There was one hole on a petal when I took it out of the bag. After pollinating, I covered it back up. I want to see if it actually goes to seed. It was nice seeing a nearly perfect flower for a short time.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Too bad there isn't something equivalent to Japanese Beetle traps that can be used to catch them. I don't have a beetle problem this year, but in the past I've found that several types of beetles happily drown themselves in the dishes of beer I put out to kill slugs. I wonder whether corn rootworm beetles might like it?!

(Zone 5a)

I am still dealing with those Corn Rootworm beetles, but now I have help.

1. I've been trying to ID this spider, but regardless, she's still welcome here.

2. A predatory stinkbug. I didn't have my camera with, but ran into the house to get it. By the time I came back, the bug was done with his rootworm beetle meal.

Thumbnail by Chillybean Thumbnail by Chillybean
Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Fantastic! That must have been fun to watch : - )

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