Multiple Native Species Planting Mixtures Look at the seed mixture on the basis of seeds desired per square foot: some species1-3 seeds per sq ft some species1 seed per sq yd some species1 seed per 50 sq ft some species5-20 seeds per acre
.0000593.88.00.120.95190.00.3673.00573.463.2MHeath AsterAster ericoides.0000472.241.122.020.404.00.195.11.9585KIllinois Bundleflower Desmanthus illinoensis.00004577.381.236.0202.408.001.2.34.01175KIndiangrassSorghastrum nutans MLKJIHGFEDCBA EXAMPLE FOR FIGURING MULTIPLE NATIVE SPECIES PLANTING MIXTURES A = scientific name B = common name C = seeds in one pound of Pure Live Seed (PLS) D = no. seeds per square foot in 1 pound PLS per acre (C ÷ by 43,560 sqft/acre) E = desired PLS pound per acre (man-made decision) F = column D x column E = column F (no. of seeds per sqft/acre in planting mixture) G = actual cost per pound of PLS (data collected from seed dealers) H = column E x column G = column H (actual cost per acre) I = acres to be planted... J = column E x column I = column J (total PLS pounds needed) K = seed tests determine bulk pounds needed to equal one pound of PLS L = column J x column K = column L (total bulk pounds in seed mix) M = column G ÷ by column C = cost per individual seed
Multiple Native Species Planting Mixtures “It’s Time for a Change!!!” Rangeland ([Prairie] planting techniques need to be taken to the next level. Pure-Live-Seed-Pounds to the acre is not good enough. Most plantings are made on old worn-out, depleted fields which are low in fertility, low in organic matter, and the nitrogen cycle is almost nonexistent. So why are plantings of only 8 to 10 species mixtures still being used??? [Table #1 typical planting mix] we are trying for a pristine prairie condition without having a pristine soil or without putting in the support plants to help achieve this goal, thru plant succession. [Table #2 helper or support or secondary plants] These support plants will help with ground coverage, stand establishment and enhance and speed-up “Plant Succession”.
Figuring PureLiveSeed pounds to the acre only is not good enough!!! The next level in figuring seeding mixtures is to use “Live-Seeds per square feet”. Annual and perennial forbs, secondary grasses, and native legumes are all important to a successful and productive native prairie. In multiple native species planting mixtures, using the number of live seeds per square foot needs to be considered for all future plantings. We need to schedule “Shotgun” mixtures with 10 to 20 native grasses, 5 to 10 native legumes, and 14 to 30 native wildflowers, with at least 25 to 60 native species represented. [Table #3] Multiple Native Species Planting Mixtures
Look at the seed mixture on the basis of seeds desired per square foot: some species1-3 seeds per sq ft some species1 seed per sq ft some species1 seed per 27 sq ft some species5-20 seeds per acre If any given seed is super expensive, put only a few seeds per acre. Which will provide a seed source for plant succession. Of prime importance is to be sure the seed has been tested by a seed testing lab so you will be able to determine the Pure Live Seed percentage of a given lot of seed. Multiple species plantings will be conducive to whatever the soil type represented [sand-silt-clay], so the broader the spectrum of species planted, the better the chance of having good plant coverage. This will assist in weed control and erosion control. Table #4 illustrates step-by-step how to use the “live-seeds-per-square- foot” method.
Multiple Native Species Planting Mixtures As far as where we should get seed to plant, over the years botanists and ecologists and others have collected and catalogued the different species. Now self-proclaimed ecologists, johnny- come-latelys and others are saying that Andropogon gerardi is not the same in Florida as it is in Oklahoma, and we can’t seed interchangeably. I think we need to check the DNA of these plants, and if they prove to be the same we should be able to use them wherever. As seed growers and seed dealers, we already know of genetic adaptability of a lot of plants. In my opinion, to demand the seed to be planted on a given site, be harvested within a one to 25 mile range or within a state, is plumb asinine. Through the universities and agricultural agencies, the ecological information and experience is available to assist local people to decide what species will be in a mixture for a given resource area. If what we say is true about plant succession and proper management of native prairies, each individual site will find its own balance of the best plants to be grown sequentially on a given site.
Multiple Native Species Planting Mixtures Research at the Woodward Experiment Station has shown when planting “old fields” we can get an economical response to 20# to 25# of nitrogen [W.A. Berg, Soil Scientist] which will in turn boost the stamina of the young seedlings. Part of our planting criteria should be a strong emphasis on soil testing and applying the appropriate amounts of N-P-K needed. There are also several products on the market to help increase the numbers of bacteria in the soil, such as a product available through Agri-Gro. Using multiple native species planting mixtures, plus today’s mechanical planting technology, prairie seeding planting success ratios will increase 40 to 60%. The livestock industry and the wildlife industry will both benefit from multiple native species plantings. The longer we put off making changes to the MNSPM method, we are limiting our capabilities and short-changing the producer who has confidence in us.