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Home > Advice > Prairie Planting Instructions

Native/Food Plot Planting Instructions - Prairie Planting

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Preparing the seedbed

Lightly till the soil, making sure you have eliminated as many weeds as possible. Do not till too deeply, as this will bring weed seeds to the soil surface. A contact herbicide may be used to kill sod and weeds before and after tillage. Roll or pack seedbed just before planting, making sure soil is firm, not loose.

Thoroughly mix your seed, as some of the heavier seeds may have worked to the bottom of the bag in shipping. Scatter seeds evenly over the planting area. You will find it helpful to mix the seeds with Grit-o-cob to more easily achieve an even coverage. If possible, broadcast seed over the planting area several times, in different directions, making sure all areas are evenly covered. Roll or compact the seed bed after broadcasting and raking.

Seeding dates
(Frost seeding)
Broadcast your seed onto a seedbed that was prepared in the fall of the previous year and allow freezing and thawing to work the seeds into the soil.

Broadcast your seed onto a firm, well prepared seedbed. Lightly rake in the seed. Roll or compact the seedbed after broadcasting and raking. Supply some water during the first few weeks, especially if dry conditions occur. After that, leave the watering to Mother Nature.

(Dormant Seeding) Broadcast your seed onto a firm, well prepared seedbed and allow the seed to work into soil by freezing and thawing action.

First Year
Your native perennials will be estab- lishing roots this year, and will not be particularly noticeable above ground. Keep the area mowed to 4-6 inches the entire first season to reduce competition from the annual weeds which are sure to appear.

Second Year
Keep the area mowed to 6-8 inches, especially if there is still weed competition. Handweeding, in small sites, may be useful.

Third year and beyond
If possible, burn area in March or April. Your prairie plants will thrive on fire. If burning is not possible, mowing can substitute for some of the beneficial effects of fire.

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