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hanso612

seed choice for interseeding

12 posts in this topic

I'm planning a spring burn and plan to add some forbs to my existing 7 grass mix to be drilled or broadcast into the duff after the burn.

If you had to pick one plant to seed to hold pheasants in the fall or to significantly up the chick survival what would it be?

My crp is 7 years old and already has stand height reduction do to crowding so I was thinking of adding more nitrogen fixers like purple praire clover or even alphalpha-but what do others think? Hans

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You are asking a tough question there. To me I hear you saying two things....

1. You want to provide for a strong brood habitat for hold.

2. You want to provide cover for survival.

I see these as two projects, that is at least how I read it.

So for #1, I would not put in alphalpha, it will be cut and prevent or disrupt nests. The clover is ok I guess, but I would actually say to put in Timothy grass, great nesting material and sow it with some oats. This will give you a good nesting area and hopefully build a strong brood class on your property. My favorite mix for a grass peice is a tall switchgrass with big blue stem bunches. Pure prairie beauty.

For #2, I would opt not for grasses, but to plants or shrubs for cover to protect young and adult chicks from predators both on ground and avian. Mix up some choke cherry, arbovitae, and eastern red cedar. Good cover with canopy runways to escape and also providing some thick stem cover to hide in. If you are ok with taller cover, throw in some red dogwood.

Good luck Hans and keep us updated on the progress and your decisions. You know you have some great habitat specialists not far from you to talk with too. Make your property all you want it to be, but make sure you know what will work with the size and soil type as well as limitations you may have with programs. Good luck and I hope you build a beauty!!!

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go with native prairie plants. they are drought resistant and grow during the summer, unlike the introduced tame grasses. purple prairie clover does great from seed, as long as you get good soil contact. i hate planting shrubs, especially cedars (yuck). black eyed susans, yellow or gray cone flower, bergamot, goldenrod, and yarrow are also good forbe choices.

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Native prairie forb seed is very expensive and the likelyhood of failure is very high. That's why during the original planting 7 years ago the NRCS only cost shares on a couple of forbs. I would have liked a mix just the opposite as the one they recomended- with 7 forbs and only a handfull of grasses.

Some of the forb seed can go for up to a thousand dollars a pound. That's a huge risk for a guy on a budget interseeding into an existing native prarie.

I went with Purple Prarie Clover and Maximillian sunflower the first year. The second fall the sunflower was eight feet tall with many stems -and held birds like crazy- but now it is knee high and single stemmed. My Prairie clover was a failure do to lack of soil microbes or not enough inoculant, but the little that made it was grazed heavy by deer. I don't mow and thought alphalpha might be a cheap way to add a nitogen fixer.

I have the chance to handpick local seed and I am wondering what species would give me the most return and least risk if I interseeded it into the prarie after the burn.??

Light disking brings up the weeds and has helped on our other plot, but I already have some rarer species that I would like to protect in our 7 year old restoration.

I keep my shrub areas and grass areas seperate to help keep the work down when making fire breaks for a contolled burn. I have added over 5 thousand seedlings to the farm in the last ten years and it is a constant battle with mice, rabbits, and deer. If the plants make it past the browseing a buck always rips them up just as they get big enough to rub.

But I still keep at it. It's a hard question and the bottom line is I want to have birds on the property in October. Most good brood cover is covered by the first storm so I think the answer lies in tall stiff plants that don't lodge.

Thanks for any help, Hans

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Hans, don't you think the burn is enough to re-establish a diverse productive area? You got to have plenty of seed in the ground already and the burn should release it.

Brood and survival cover are 2 animals....you need both. Determine which one is the critical one for your area and stick with that.

If money is tight I would just burn and forget the interseed.

I plan to do a spring burn on about 45 acres also.

A seminar I went said you want to interseed after heavy disking of old CRP. That is different scenario than a burn.

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First off lets point out what the main benifit of having a forb component to a grass planting is. Forbs attract insects which is high percentage of a young chicks diet. This is your main benefit. The grass alone will hold birds all depending on the surrounding land practices (neighboring crop field, woods, more grass, etc.).

Assuming the 7 grass mix is native species...NO ALFALFA!!

1 - it will probably get out competed after the burn by the grasses. You will be absolutely amazed by the regrowth you get on the grasses after the burn.

2 - Alfalfa is short lived

3 - it doesn't belong in a native prairie

No timothy or anything like that. A person manages to get rid of non-native cool season's in native prairie.

I have seen interseeding of native forbs work. There is a possibility of having some of the new seedlings getting smothered out by the grass that once again will come back unbelievable.

Species that are relatively cheap (or should I say cheaper) and are going to be your best growers.

Purple Prairie Clover (hanso612, not sure why yours didn't come up. PPC grows in a multitude of conditions and is one of the first forb species that you see in a new seeding).

Black Eyed Susan, Wild Bergamot, Grey headed coneflower, Oxeye, Maximillian Sunflower.

I wouldn't worry about a drill. First off the seeds of different species are typically different sizes so it makes calibration very difficult, if not impossilbe. I would recommend a broadcast and harrow. Don't worry, you won't hurt the grasses.

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Guys, thanks for the reply, sorry I took so long to get back to this forum.

I've had some luck interseeding when I use seeds that don't require any type of treatment(like scarfifying, or cold or wet cycles to break dormancy, or any special microbes) and I put them on bare soil. I usually find a gopher mound and spread the dirt then hand broadcast the seed.

It's a very slow process and doesn't have a fast or noticable impact-but over time I have added to the diversity of my prarie.

As my prairie gets older the cool season grasses are taking over. I am looking for any advice on slowing their spread-without harming the interseeded forbes. Some burns seem to help the grasses leading to an eventual monoculture of solid grass. Is light disking my best option or is there some chemical that can help?

Plateau made a herbiside called Ecopac that has been taken off the market because it was the perfect product to put on peanut farms- but wasn't rateed for human consumption but was being used anyway(My take-but would love to hear the real story?) But anyway, a product that knocked down the cool season grasses like this that would released the warm season natives and some forbs would be the ticket. Recomendations anyone ?

Anybody have any luck using roundup on the grasess like brome and not have them return without any further disking. What about spot mowing? Is it even approved in CRP

Things I would like to try:Any thoughts?

1)Planting a row of sunflowers around the corn and bean fields to be left as food and cover.Would it survive roundup oversray? Is there roundup ready sunflower? What about another species like millet? Would it be hard on the renter in any way?

2)Mowing an area of my CRP to a hight more benificial to chicks. Is it allowed in CRP? If not I have acres of untillable that could be mowed. Do you think the booste in chick survival would make up for the lack of heavy fall cover?

3)Pinning down large sheets of black plastic over cover I don't want. Could it be done or will wind rip it appart?

4) I want to get more cattails in my ditches. Could I use haybails to stop the flow and seed with cattail heads uphill of haybail or would I be better off transplanting live cattail or using mud from the bottom of the pond? Chem treat first?

5) I would like more shrubs around field edges as well but see huge risk with over spray. Anybody plant next to crop fields?

From the length of the post it is clear I have birds on the brain-but would really like to hear about other projects others have tried-failures too! Hans

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Roundup will kill everything that is actively growing. If you spray it on brome, you would need to burn off the excess residue, then no-till drill some warm season grasses into the sod. This will take a lot longer for the warm season grasses to grow, but can be effective.

If you want the warm season grasses to outcompete the cool seasons, you should try to burn as late in the spring as possible (late May). This should suppress the cool season grasses that are starting to green up and give more of an advantage to the warm season grasses. The black ash will attract more heat to the ground and give the warm season grasses a jump start. Not to mention that they will take advantage of the ash as a natural fertilizer. Don't be afraid to burn in consecutive years to achieve your goals. Maybe try a rotation where you burn 1/2 of your property at a time, so you don't lose all of your cover at once.

Pinning down sheets seems like a lot of work that would likely be blown away.

I wouldn't disk anything unless you want an explosion of weeds.

If you're going to mow crp, you better go ask your county farm service center for some guidelines.

It sounds like your describing drainage ditches. If these are draining wetland basins, why not restore the basin by plugging the ditch? The USFWS has a program called Partners for Fish & Wildlife that will do all of the restoration work for you for FREE. Do an internet search for minnesota partners for fish and wildlife.

Personally, I'm not a fan of shrubs on grassland landscapes. But, if you decide to go that route, at least look for native prairie species that can handle a burn and the cold winters.

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B.Amish, Thanks for the info. We have 160 acres with a creek down the middle that runs into a drainage ditch. This stream is buffered but has no cattails because the water is always moving and the bank is steep and deep.

I am actually talking about my road ditch. I often hunt the ditch when I'm hunting alone.

I notice the birds hold in the ditch when there are cattails or other heavy cover. So that is why I would like to get more switch grass and Indian grass in my brome ditch and more cattails in the wet areas all over the farm. Any thoughts on how best to get the cattails started.

I also have a low spot on an adjacent farm that is all smartweed, but I would like to seee it in cattails as well. Any thoughts?Hans

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If there are cattails growing on parts of your property, but won't in certain areas, there's probably a reason. It might be that some areas are a little too dry to support cattails. A taller wetland plant that grows in "drier" areas than cattails would be river bullrush. If you can ID it, the seeds are ready to be picked right about now.

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If it's wet enough and there are cattails nearby, the cattails will eventually grow. I wouldn't worry about seeding/transplanting. Be careful in blocking/impounding water. If it's your own private road then probably ok. If impounding within a right or way of township/county road then probably not goint to be ok without approval.

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I hear you on risk of a wash out on the road ditches. These are the ditches I'm talking about the outside corner dirt section roads in Murray co. on a 160 acre quarter section and another across the dirt road from a wma with tons of cattails. Could a haybail cause a washout?

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