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Cooter
02-15-2009, 05:56 PM
I would like some info on doing a prairie grass restoration. I need to submit a bid for approx 30 acres. I have a few ideas but thought you would have some more. I need to know what to do with the existing grass. It is not a lawn area. It is a grass/weed area that we did mow once a month with a bush hog. What type of seeder to use. I believe these types of jobs take about 3 years to reach maturity. Thanks in advance.

KCfireman
02-15-2009, 05:59 PM
I would call your local FD and ask them for a burn permit, burn the old grass and start from there.

LindblomRJ
02-15-2009, 06:09 PM
Basicly its farm work. Start off with clearing the old grass. Buring or nonselect pesticide (make sure you have a license)

Then till the ground. Prepare seedbed, then plant with a drill the praire grass I am guessing you would use some sort of mixute. And your local seed company should be able to help you out with seed. Or check with soil conservation service. They might be able to provide you with a seed drill and seed and anyother useful information.

Cooter
02-15-2009, 06:51 PM
I am contacting the DNR tomorrow. Hopeful they can help. I have a pesticide license. Burning is a definite no because of the sites proximity to some large alcohol tanks. I have also read it is recommended to burn every 3 years, and will just have to mow it instead.

jaybird24
02-15-2009, 08:08 PM
Definitely talk with your DNR, they may even have some grants to either supply some of the work, or seed materials and such. U.S. Fish and Wildlife, along with other gov't and private entities are real into this in your area right now.

I would advise against tilling, brings too many dormant seeds to the surface. Best bet is to spray with non-selective, wait for any seed on the surface to germinate and spray again late summer or early fall. Then you can do a dormant seeding, although if it is just native grass you want time it so you put the seed down in early spring for better germination. Wildflowers need a cold moist stratification for most to germinate, and grasses just go when the soil temp is right and you will lose a lot of germination on grass if planted in the fall. You can broadcast the seed, but for an area that big a brillion drill is probably your best bet.

LindblomRJ
02-15-2009, 08:22 PM
What on the area now?

I agree on the brillion drill.

Cooter
02-16-2009, 12:11 PM
The area now has a mixture of grass and weeds. The company is rather large and wanting to do this to do their part of the "green" movement. I would really like to get away without doing any tilling. The less soil disturbance the better.

LindblomRJ
02-16-2009, 09:39 PM
Depends who you talk to. With a good drill you should have good seed penetration then you might be OK without turning soil.

Smallaxe
02-17-2009, 12:27 PM
In a natural setting the most well adapted plant survives and thrives. The idea of Prairie grass may be - artificial.
Either way it will have to be maintained to work. Depending on your success rate you will always have the opportinistic weeds, and trees, to contend with.
Left to its own devices, Junegrass dominates the landscape - around here - even outcompeting quackgrass over time. Niether of which are native, as far as we can tell.

Kiril
02-17-2009, 12:30 PM
I would advise against tilling, brings too many dormant seeds to the surface

second that.

Cooter
02-18-2009, 01:05 PM
Working with the conservation board I found another guy to do the actual seeding. They recommend 5-7# of seed/acre. Sounds light to me, but they said they have been real successful and do allot of ground at that rate. They recommended I spray existing area with a non-selective herbicide 2 weeks before seeding. Then they come with a drill and seed the area. I asked if I could use an oats seeder or a grain drill and the guy said his was a special drill for the light prairie grass seeds. In this setting what is the best way to deal with the occasional weeds/trees that will pop up?

jaybird24
02-18-2009, 03:48 PM
Hey Cooter, glad you got it figured out. letting the other guy seed is probably best, so good for you. The first year or 2 you'll want to keep it cut back to like 8" with a trimmer, or a mower that can cut high, just to keep weeds down until the native grasses can do it on their own. Maybe cut it every 6 weeks depending on growth. For trees and stuff that comes up in subsequent years we just use brushcutters and treat the stump with Garlon/ basal bark oil. Get the trees while they are young. Winter is actually a good time to go through and clear any brush out, so now you have something to do during the winters.

turfcobob
02-20-2009, 07:17 PM
I would like some info on doing a prairie grass restoration. I need to submit a bid for approx 30 acres. I have a few ideas but thought you would have some more. I need to know what to do with the existing grass. It is not a lawn area. It is a grass/weed area that we did mow once a month with a bush hog. What type of seeder to use. I believe these types of jobs take about 3 years to reach maturity. Thanks in advance.

I did some natural or Native seeding a few years back. The seed blend is pricey so make sure you cover that cost. Any the stuff is was really fluffy. I would not feed through a normal slit seeder. what is did was drag an old section of farm harrow around for an hour or so to really open up the soil so the fluffy seed could get to the soil. I then spread the fluffy seed with an old over the shoulder ag spreader and dragged the seed in with a piece of chain link fence. Not real good looking equipment but got a great start and within three years of no mowing the entire field filled in very nicely.