Creating a Native Landscape
Dormant Woody Materials:Bare-root trees and shrubs, live stakes, fascines, and brush layering
are all dormant when sold and
are best planted during their dormant season (November 15 through
April 15). This timing reduces transplant shock and allows the plants
to develop a root system when moisture is readily available. Fall
availability of bare-root trees and shrubs is weather dependent, and
winter weather can eliminate fall harvest opportunities.Install seed and plant material
Seed installation techniques
Cardno’s native plant experts recommend using specific techniques
to successfully install native seed.
For small (typically two acres or less) or irregularly
shaped areas, seed can be planted by hand broadcasting. To aid
seed distribution, combine the seed mix with filler materials,
such as sawdust, peat moss, or vermiculite. Mix the material
evenly into the filler material, which should be slightly damp so
that the seed sticks to it. If not already included in the seed mix,
plant a temporary cover crop along with the seed, to stabilize the
soil while the permanent native species germinate and become
established, especially in highly-erodible areas. Do not use a heavy
amount of cover crop seed, which could smother the native seed
and inhibit germination.
Using a hand-crank or tow-behind broadcaster, start with half of the
seed and try to cover the entire area with that amount of seed. Take
the remaining half of the seed, go to the opposite end of the site and
cover it again. This approach helps prevent running out of seed, a
common occurrence. After broadcasting is complete, it is important
to use a cultipacker or roller over the area to make good seed-to-soil
contact. If a roller is not available, tractor tires can be used instead.
Do not cover seed more than 1/4-inch deep.
For larger areas and sites with existing vegetation,
use a no-till seed drill, which does not require the soil to be tilled
before planting, resulting in minimal soil disturbance. No-till drills
plant seed in rows by opening slits in the soil, into which seed is
deposited. Several brands of no-till drills are available to plant
prairie forbs and grasses. If using a no-till drill, Cardno recommends
following the specific manufacturer’s recommendations. Because the
diversity of seed sizes makes drill calibration a challenge, perform a
few test areas first to help prevent running out of seed.
Native plant installation
Prior to Installation
After delivery, remove plants immediately from packaging and set
them in a cool, semi-shaded area until you are ready to plant.
If the soil around the plant roots is dry, irrigate to keep the roots
moist, but not saturated.
If watered properly and protected from extreme conditions,
such as excessive heat, sun, strong winds, or frost or freezing
conditions, plants should be fine in their original pots or plug trays
for up to several weeks.
On site, it may be helpful to stage plants near the areas where
they will be installed, to save time. During the planting process,
protect bare-root trees, shrubs, and aquatic plants from heat, sun,
and wind, to prevent the roots from drying out.