Prairie Grass Seed & Spring Planting

Overview

Prairie grasses and wildflowers offer a natural choice for homeowners to recreate an ecosystem that supports a wildlife habit or as a livestock forage food. Once established, prairie grass requires very little care to thrive. Prairie grass is exceptionally drought tolerant and normally requires no irrigation. It also continues to thrive into the fall months. Prairie grass is established during the spring months through seeding.

Seed Considerations

When purchasing prairie grass to seed in the spring choose top quality seed that offers a greater then 50 percent germination rate. Choose a native prairie seed that is suitable for the region it will be planted within to insure success when planting. When planting prairie grass the landscaper does not require an abundant amount of seed. Usually only 1/2 lb. of prairie seed per 1,000 square feet is sufficient, according to the University of Minnesota.

Location

Prairie grass requires full sunlight to truly thrive. During the late fall and winter months most prairie grass becomes quite dry so locate the planting site at least 30 feet away from all buildings to avoid fire danger. Placing a barrier of gravel, sand or irrigated turf between the prairie field and any building will help reduce the danger of a possible prairie fire. Choose a planting location that is well-draining because prairie grass does not tolerate wet root system.

Time Frame

Spring planting of native prairie grasses is the most successful if the soil temperature has reached 60 degrees Fahrenheit. From May 15th to June 1st is usually the ideal spring planting time in most locations for prairie grass to successfully germinate. Always remove all existing vegetation prior to planting the prairie grass seeds to insure their success so weeds do not utilize the valuable nutrients needed by the prairie grass, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Conventional plowing can remove the vegetation or an application of a short acting herbicide that does not persist in the soil.

Planting

For planting a limited area of prairie grass the seeds can easily be hand sown in the spring. Always rake at least 1/8 of an inch of soil over the seeds surface to insure germination. If a large area is going to be planted in prairie grass then use a mechanical driller to help spread the seeds. If seeding an acre of prairie grass use approximately 30 pounds of seeds, according to the Purdue University.

Considerations

Once spring germination occurs prairie grass grows rapidly. It will soon attain a height of 10 to 14 inches and need to be mowed once to a height of 6 inches to ensure that it continues to thrive. After three years the prairie grass will often require burning in the spring to insure that it continues to thrive and is not overtaken by weeds. Prairie grass seeds in the soil will not be killed by the fire and will return more vigorous than ever. Burning normally takes place in April or May. Always obtain all permits before burning a prairie grass field. Burning usually takes place every three to five years in the spring to limit weed growth.

Keywords: establishing prairie grass, seeding prairie grass, growing prairie grass, planting prairie grass

About this Author

Kimberly Sharpe is a freelance writer with a diverse background. She has worked as a Web writer for the past four years. She writes extensively for Associated Content where she is both a featured home improvement contributor (with special emphasis on gardening) and a parenting contributor. She also writes for Helium. She has worked professionally in the animal care and gardening fields.