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Prairie Ecosystems
Prairie Plants
Underground Prairie
Roots and Erosion
Roots Add Nutrients
Fertile Soils
Field Guide
Prairie Peninsula
Illinois Prairies
Prairie Restoration
Planting a Prairie Garden
Human Voices
Inspiration for Art
Restoration Game
Teacher Orientation
Opuntia humifusa
Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus
(Opuntia humifusa)

Prairie plant roots help to decrease soil erosion and help the plant find water.

Prairie plants have root systems that grow deep into the soil. Many also have a web of secondary roots. This network of roots helps hold the soil together when the wind blows strongly or when rains flood the ground.

Prairie plant roots are also crucial to their survival because many  plants grow on dry to semi-dry sites. These deep roots find any available moisture that may be hidden deeper underground. 

You can see a similar type of root system in your yard by examining dandelion roots. If you dig around a dandelion, looking for the end of the root, you will be surprised how far the main root goes down-- especially for such a small plant.

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