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Geographic Analysis and Exploration in the South Central United States. Mark P. Widrlechner USDA-ARS North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station Ames, IA. Acknowledgments. ISU Media Graphics (Rex Heer) for moisture balance map

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geographic analysis and exploration in the south central united states

Geographic Analysis and Exploration in the South Central United States

Mark P. Widrlechner


North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station

Ames, IA

  • ISU Media Graphics (Rex Heer) for moisture balance map
  • Spatial Climate Analysis Service - Oregon State University for precipitation maps
  • Cris Nass and Robert Stebbins for help with scanning
outline of presentation
Outline of Presentation
  • Overview
  • Applying geographic factors to the South Central US
  • Plants and potential sites
  • Location-specific factors influencing the adaptation of woody plants in the Midwest
    • Photoperiod regimen
    • Winter injury
    • Moisture balance
    • Soil type
photoperiod regimen
Photoperiod Regimen
  • Key factor to signal growth and the cessation of growth
  • Directly correlated with latitude
  • Plants evolve in response to the interaction of photoperiod and correlated events
winter injury
Winter Injury
  • Three main aspects
    • Timing of hardening
    • Mid-winter low temperature survival
    • Timing of dehardening
  • Also, interaction with moisture conditions, especially for evergreens
  • USDA Hardiness Zones (average annual minimum temperature) are an easily obtainable surrogate (especially for regions resembling the target environment)
moisture balance
Moisture Balance
  • Perhaps as important as winter hardiness (especially in low maintenance situations)
    • Widrlechner et al. (1992) J. Environ. Hort. 10: 192-198 and J. Environ. Hort. 16: 27-32.
  • Can visualize based on the Moisture Index of Mather and Yoshioka: Im = 100((mean annual precipitation/potential evapotranspiration)-1)

From Widrlechner (1999) "A Zone Map for Mean Annual Moisture Balance in the North Central United States," Landscape Plant News 10(2): 10-14.

valuable soil types
Valuable Soil Types
  • pH (neutral to alkaline)
  • High Ca or Na content
  • Relatively poor drainage
  • Thin (for drought tolerance)
applying this approach to the south central united states
Applying this Approach to the South Central United States
  • Latitude (35 to 40° North)
  • USDA Hardiness Zones (6a and b)
resulting region
Resulting Region
  • Southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma on the west
  • Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee on the east
adding the moisture balance criterion
Adding the Moisture Balance Criterion
  • Areas in the western two-thirds of Kansas and Oklahoma have negative moisture balances (too dry)
  • Kentucky and Tennessee have high positive moisture balances (too wet)
  • Parts of eastern Kansas and Oklahoma, Missouri, northwestern Arkansas, and southern Illinois have appropriate moisture balances

(Im between 0 and 40)

working with the moisture balance criterion
Working with the Moisture Balance Criterion
  • In areas that are too dry, target extremely wet sites along rivers, lakes, springs and significant north-facing slopes
  • In areas that are too wet, target limestone barrens and other drought-prone sites
  • In areas that are a good match, one can be broader in collecting

Too dry

Im < 0

0 to 20

20 to 40

Too wet Im > 40

can we find the right soils in this region
Can we find the “right” soils in this region?
  • Neutral to alkaline, calcareous or saline soils
  • Thin soils
  • Poorly draining soils
can we find interesting woody plant populations
Can we find interesting woody plant populations?
  • Plants adapted to appropriate soils
  • Species reaching the northwest edge of their native ranges
  • Endemic species
  • Species with attractive aesthetic characteristics
oklahoma soils
Oklahoma Soils
  • Neutral to alkaline, calcareous soils
    • Apperson, Catoosa, Foraker, Grainola, Labette, Lenapah, Mayes, Newtonia, Summit (mostly silty clay loams)
  • Thin soils
    • Shidler, Sogn, Talpa (mixed with limestone)
  • Poorly drained soils
    • Choska, Latanier, Lela, Miller, Osage, Wynona (clays)
oklahoma plants
Oklahoma Plants
  • John E. Williams (1973) Atlas of the woody plants of Oklahoma (QK 155 W55 1973)
  • Forrest L. Johnson and Bruce W. Hoagland (1999) Catalog of the Woody Plants of Oklahoma
arkansas soils
Arkansas Soils
  • Neutral to alkaline, calcareous soils
    • Clareson, Mayes, Newtonia, Summit silt loams and silt clays
  • Thin and rocky soils
    • Arkana, Elsah, Moko, Sogn, Ventris mostly stony silt loams (often with rock outcrops)
  • Alluvial soils
    • Razort silt loam
arkansas plants
Arkansas Plants
  • Gary E. Tucker (1976) Guide to the woody flora of Arkansas (QK 153 .T84 1976)
  • Arkansas Biodiversity – The Vascular Flora

missouri soils
Missouri Soils
  • Neutral to alkaline, calcareous soils (rocky or thin)
    • Blueye, Brussels, Cedargap, Gasconade, Hercules, Knobby, Moko
  • Rock outcrops
    • Dolomite and other non-cherty limestones
  • Poorly drained soils
    • Gasconade, Snead
missouri plants
Missouri Plants
  • Julian Steyermark (1963) Flora of Missouri (being revised and updated by George Yatskievych)
kansas soils
Kansas Soils
  • Neutral to alkaline, calcareous soils
    • Apperson, Catoosa, Kenoma silt loam
  • Thin and rocky soils
    • Shidler, Sogn silty and rocky clay loam
  • Poorly drained soils
    • Clime, Lanton, Osage, Verdigris, Zaar silty loam and silty clay
kansas plants
Kansas Plants
  • H.A. Stephens (1973) Woody Plants of the North Central Plains
  • Great Plains Flora Association (1977) Atlas of the Flora of the Great Plains
illinois soils
Illinois Soils
  • Neutral to alkaline, some calcareous soils
    • Bold silt loam, La Hogue loam, Hurst, Sable and Virden silty clay loam
  • Upland natric (with sodium) soils
    • Darmstadt, Grantfork, Huey, and Piasa silt loams and silty clay loams
  • Thin soils
    • Rare, isolated limestone outcrops in Jackson Co.
  • Alluvial soils
    • Ambraw, Beaucoup, Birds, Darwin, Dupo, Lawson, McFain, Nameoki, Tice, Titus, Wakeland
illinois plants
Illinois Plants
  • Works by Robert Mohlenbrock
    • Series on the Flowering Plants of Illinois
    • 2002 edition of the Vascular Flora of Illinois
    • Mohlenbrock and Ladd (1978) Distribution of Illinois Vascular Plants
    • Mohlenbrock and Voigt (1959) A Flora of Southern Illinois
some potential target sites
Some Potential Target Sites
  • OK-KS
    • E ½ of Kay Co., W ½ of Osage Co., W ½ of Chautauqua Co., and all of Cowley Co.
    • Much of Rogers Co., W Craig Co., E Nowata Co., much of Labette Co., and E Montgomery Co.
    • Mayes Co. (W side of Lake Hudson and SW of Locust Grove)
more potential target sites
More Potential Target Sites
  • AR-MO
    • W edge of Fulton Co., N ½ of Baxter, Marion, and Boone Cos., SE ¼ of Taney Co., and possibly S ½ of Ozark Co.
    • W 2/3 of Carroll Co., SE ¼ of Barry Co., and small parts of adjacent Benton and Madison Cos.
more potential target sites1
More Potential Target Sites
  • MO-IL
    • Mississippi floodplain from Perry Co. north towards St. Louis and Jackson to Monroe Cos. ( + limestone outcrops in Jackson Co.)
    • Lower Kaskaskia River and tributaries
    • Natric soils in E ½ of Madison, Bond, and Clinton Cos. and near Hecker in Randolph and St. Clair Cos.