News and upcoming events
Dr. Susan Galatowitsch will give the final Restoration and Management Seminar of the season on Thursday, April 7, 4pm. Her topic is "Making Ecological Restoration More Effective: Ideas from the Midwest and Around the World". Dr. Galatowitsch is Professor and Head, Fisheries, Wildlife ad Conservation Biology Department University of Minnesota. Dr. Galatowitsch is author of the definitive textbook, Ecological Restoration.
The Iowa Seed Mix Calculator is now available to use for free. It will recommend a custom blend of grasses, sedges, legumes and other forbs fine-tuned for your county and five different soil moisture classes. You have complete control to add or substract species as your budget allows, and it also provides an easy way to send the seed mix out for bid. Try this out and tell us what you think!
A new research report by Dave Williams is now available that helps to answer some basic questions about the importance of a well-designed seed mix and establishment mowing. A successful prairie planting must be durable, diverse, and cost-effective. In 2015, the TPC compared the custom-designed Economy ($130/ac, 21 species, 3:1 grass: forbs) and Diversity ($290/ac, 71 spp., 1:1) mixes to a popular Pollinator mix ($370/ac, 38 spp, 1:3 grasses:forbs). All mixes met NRCS approved specifications and were sown at ~430 seeds/m2. Plots were replicated and randomized in a proper experimental design.
By the conclusion of the first growing season, the Diversity mix had 1.9x more species and 4x more seedlings than the Pollinator mix, for 22% of the cost per established seedling. The Economy mix was slightly less costly than Diversity, but had much lower species diversity.
Wildflower species were not only more numerous, but grew larger in mowed plots (p<.05). Larger plants are destined to get a head start and out-compete weeds in Year 2. Mowing increased cost-effectiveness by three-fold. The big take home message is that proper seed mix design and mowing make all the difference. Mowed diversity plots cost $1.22 per thousand plants, while unmowed pollinator mix plots cost just over $17.00 per thousand plants!