En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Appropriate riverbed and quail habitat plantings for southwest OK

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - September 27, 2009

From: Winnsboro, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Wildlife Gardens
Title: Appropriate riverbed and quail habitat plantings for southwest OK
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Mr Smarty Pants, I have an area in extreme SW Oklahoma along the Red River. What native plants could I plant that are both appropriate for the sandy/saline soils in the vegetative area of the river bed and appropriate for wildlife especially the bobwhite quail?

ANSWER:

We'll start with what we DON'T know, which is much of anything about bobwhite quail. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we focus on the care, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. So we're going to help you find plants that fit your specifications for the river area and that you also believe will benefit the quail.

We did do a little research, and learned that quail are best in what is called "early succession" areas, which implies abandoned farmland, burned-over areas and other areas not heavily covered with old forests, which would shade out the plants the quail need for food, nesting sites and cover. A very interesting fact we ran across links quail habitat with that of pollinators, including bees. There is global concern about the vanishing pollinators, usually due to habitat destruction and, of course, pesticides. From this, we would surmise that an area that attracted pollinators naturally would also support a quail population. For more information on quail ecology, read this article from Mississipi State University's Natural Resource Enterprise Wildlife Management: Northern Quail.

So to get back to what we can do for you, the first possibility that occurred to us was meadow gardening, in which grasses and both perennial and annual  blooming plants are encouraged. We have a How-To Article on Meadow Gardening that should at least help you start thinking in that direction. Another How-To Article that has excellent information is Wildlife Gardening. As you survey the natural areas you already have, you may realize that a meadow garden is waiting for you and the quail. The meadow garden would involve grasses native to the area, as well as blooming herbaceous plants. Another closer-to-home source of information on wildlife habitat would be from the county extension office for the area in which your land is located. Since you gave us a home location in Louisiana, we searched for Lawton, OK, which was the only town we knew in southwestern Oklahoma. We learned it was in Comanche Co., and from there found the contact webpage for the Comanche County Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. They could help you, or you could use the correct county.

Since we know nothing about the sunlight available in the area, how much moisture is in the soil and how large an area you are planning, we want to give you instructions for finding what you need in our Native Plant Database. You can go to Recommended Species, click on Oklahoma on the map, and then indicate under General Appearance whether you want to search for grasses, herbs (herbaceous blooming plants), shrubs or trees. You can indicate with each search what the light availability is, how moist the soil is and so forth. Then, click on "Narrow Your Search" and you will gt a list of whichever plant type you selected with the characteristics you have specified. 

 

More Wildlife Gardens Questions

Color year round, welcome to Austin Texas.
December 04, 2011 - I am new to Austin and want to plant colorful flowers for fall and winter that get a "wow" reaction. I have not seen much at the local nurseries. Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated!
view the full question and answer

Something eating milkweed leaves in Austin
June 23, 2011 - I have some milk weed plants, and have noticed in the last few weeks that something is eating the leaves on them. The flowers are fine and no other plant appears to be bothered. I thought perhaps it w...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for a lizard terrarium
October 24, 2006 - My brother is setting up a terrarium for his lizard and wants advice on some species to put in the tank. He wants plants that generally fit the below description. Can you think of anything fairly c...
view the full question and answer

Host plants for Painted Lady Butterflies (Vanessa cardui)
August 22, 2009 - I am looking for host plants for the Painted Lady Butterfly that I can plant in my school's (I am a teacher) native plant/butterfly garden. As part of the curriculum, each Fall our 2nd graders study ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for exotic pets
May 14, 2012 - I need to know what are some good native non-toxic plants for these species: Porcelain roach (Gyna lurida) from Kenya, Africa. Giant cave roach (Blaberus giganteus) from Central and South Americ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center