The Prairie

The prairie at sunset

The Bennett-Johnson Prairie, established in 1965, was established to present plants that existed on the tallgrass prairies of central Minnesota before the days of settlement. Indian grass and big and little bluestem are the dominant grasses of the prairie, which is sprinkled with blooms from spring to late fall.

A south-facing slope contains many plants including goldenrod, heliopsis, asters and golden Alexander. A marshy section contains red-osier dogwood, cattails and phragmites; a tall stately grass. Pasque flowers, prairie smoke and downy gentian bloom in a mesic area. Visitors can also locate a few of the Arboretum's rare plant species in the prairie.

To accomplish what natural prairie fires did years ago, the prairie is periodically control-burned in the spring to prevent the growth of large trees, shrubs and unwanted weeds. In the prairie, one can sense the majesty of the land's natural beauty.

Prairie Trail

Visitors can take a .5 mile trail that follows the edge between native Big Woods and a 22-acre prairie planted in the 1960’s. Connector trails explore the center of the prairie. The estimated walking time is 20-30 minutes.