Prarie grass restoration

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Cooter, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. Cooter

    Cooter LawnSite Senior Member
    from NE Iowa
    Posts: 510

    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.
     
  2. KCfireman

    KCfireman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,863

    I would call your local FD and ask them for a burn permit, burn the old grass and start from there.
     
  3. LindblomRJ

    LindblomRJ LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,570

    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.
     
  4. Cooter

    Cooter LawnSite Senior Member
    from NE Iowa
    Posts: 510

    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.
     
  5. jaybird24

    jaybird24 LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Posts: 623

    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.
     
  6. LindblomRJ

    LindblomRJ LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,570

    What on the area now?

    I agree on the brillion drill.
     
  7. Cooter

    Cooter LawnSite Senior Member
    from NE Iowa
    Posts: 510

    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.
     
  8. LindblomRJ

    LindblomRJ LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,570

    Depends who you talk to. With a good drill you should have good seed penetration then you might be OK without turning soil.
     
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    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.
     
  10. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    second that.
     

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