PROFESSIONAL’S GUIDE TO SEEDING AND ESTABLISHING NATIVE SPECIES

Native species are often the most trying species to establish. However, when done correctly establishment can be very successful and timely. The instructions below will offer you the best results possible for seeding and establishing native plant species. It is important to note that ground disturbance WILLpromote weed growth. Therefore it is imperative that proper precautions and treatments be understood and implemented to prevent and control weeds. Without a plan to address weed pressure, the likelihood of a successful native plant stand is minimal.

A THREE STEP PLANTING APPROACH

  • 1st Planting – COVER CROP: Planting a cover crop such as: wheat, rye, oats, sorghum or a blend of multiple species allows for a window of opportunity to eliminate future weed pressure. This is done so by allowing the bank of weed seeds in the soil to germinate and then apply appropriate herbicide(s) to terminate the weeds. The timing of the cover crop planting is based on the cover crop species being planted. Therefore, use species suitable to your desired planting window. It is recommended that all existing vegetation prior to the planting the cover crop. The goal of the cover crop is to provide standing residue to plant the native grasses into. Terminating the cover crop is recommended in non-droughty conditions. Terminate the cover crop with glyphosate when the cover crop is beginning to set seed. Alternatively, if planting a cover crop isn’t an option fallowing the area for one growing season prior to planting the native species is an option. Disking the area during the fallow period is recommended as long as the risk of erosion is not increased in doing so. The goal during the fallow period is to attempt to germinate as many weed seeds as possible then chemically terminating the weeds. By doing so, you reduce the weed seed bank present in the soil bed. This method allows for a “sterile” seed bed to be created and therefore reduce weedy competition. Once the “sterile” seed bed is created the native species may be planted.
  • 2nd Planting – GRASS: Upon terminating the cover crop, the grass species may be planted into the standing cover crop residue. Note: glyphosate may be sprayed to terminate any weeds present at this point. Grass species may be planted on irrigated sites when the soil temperature reaches 60°F. Dryland areas can be seeded from December through August. Successful dryland stands are possible with 2 or 3 timely rains. Thus, we suggest planting prior to your area’s most consistent rainfall period with suitable tempatures for seed germination. Planting the forbs/legumes at a later date allows for broadleaf weeds to be chemically controlled in the establishing grass. Reference the Post-Grass Planting Weed Control section below for weed control recommendations.
  • 3rd Planting – FORBS/LEGUMES: After the grass is successfully established and the weed pressure is controlled, the forbs/legumes may be planted. To offer the newly planted forbs/legumes the least amount of competition the newly seeded area needs to be shredded to a height of 4-6 inches. In most cases, the seeding rate of the forbs/legumes alone will be very light. Therefore, in order to aid in regulating the flow of the forbs/legumes a no-germ filler may be used to increase the overall seeding rate. Alternatively, the forb/legume rate may be increased to obtain a manageable seeding rate and the seed sown in strips throughout the grass stand. Reference the Post-Forb/Legume Planting Weed control section below for weed control recommendations.

HOW TO SEED NATIVE PLANT SPECIES

DRILL SEEDING

  • Drill seeding into a cover crop is highly recommended. However, there are instance where a cover crop is not an option. When drill seeding in an area with no cover crop chemically terminate existing vegetation prior to planting the native species.
  • Allow time for weed to wither.
  • A drill capable of planting fescue or wheat can be used to plant Buffalograss, Switchgrass, and other slick-seed native species. Depth bands on the opening disks are required in order to maintain the required 1/4 to 1/2 inch seeding depth.
  • A native grass drill will be required for chaffy species such as: Big bluestem, Little bluestem, Blue grama, etc. Depth bands on the opening disks are required in order to maintain the required 1/4 to 1/2 inch seeding depth.
  • When planting all native all native plant species it is very important to place the seed under the soil surface to ensure adequate moisture and seed-to-soil contact for seedling germination.
  • Irrigate after planting if possible.

BROADCAST SEEDING

  • Broadcast seeding into a cover crop is highly recommended. However, there are instances where a cover crop is not feasible. When broadcast seeding in an area with no cover crop disk or till the soil 4 inches deep to loosen soil and to terminate existing weeds.
  • Spread seed with a fertilizer spreader, commercial air fertilizer truck, or by hand.
  • Disk, harrow, or aerate 1 to 2 inches deep at an appropriate speed to cover the seed with soil  1/4 to 1/2 inch deep.
  • Pack the soil with a cultipacker or roller to ensure the seed is in good contact with the soil. Seed-to-soil contact is essential for germination and successful stand establishment.
  • Irrigate after planting if possible.

NOTE: Hydromulching may be used on sloped sites.

Visit our online How to Guide page for demonstration videos: How to Guide

HOW TO CONTROL WEEDS IN NATIVE PLANT STANDS

  • Pre-Planting Weed Control: Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide; therefore it will terminate the actively growing plants. Glyphosate can be used to control existing weeds before planting the grass and may eliminate the need for disking or tilling prior to planting. Glyphosate can also be used to terminate the cover crop.
  • Post-Grass Planting Weed Control: After the grass species have reached 4″ tall or 6 leaves (not including forbs/legumes) it presents an excellent window of broadleaf weed control. Chemicals such as: 2,4-D, Dicamba, or Banvel have the ability to control unwanted broadleaf weed species while your grass is establishing. Once the grass stand is established a pre-emergent herbicide such as trifuralin may be applied to prevent future broadleaf weed pressure. Follow label recommendations for chemical applications rates and methods.
  • Post-Forb/Legume Weed Control: After the forbs and/or legumes have been seeded there is no ability to chemically control weeds at this point without damaging the forbs and/or legumes. Your weed control abilities now shift to mechanical methods of weed control. For example: shredding, mowing, hoeing, and/or individual plant removal are the required methods for controlling weeds. Once the plants are established a pre-emergent herbicide such as trifuralin may be applied to prevent future broadleaf weed pressure. Follow label recommendations for chemical applications rates and methods.

HOW TO IRRIGATE NATIVE PLANT STANDS

After planting, begin irrigation by filling the soil profile to field capacity and depending on weather conditions, water once or twice a day to maintain adequate moisture for a three week period. After the seedlings have germinated and an acceptable seedling density has been achieved, water once or twice a week until the stand is fully established. At 65°F, most native species will germinate in 10-14 days.

HOW TO FERTILIZE NATIVE PLANT STANDS

Due to a potential increase in weed pressure we do notrecommend applying fertilizer at seeding. If a soil test has been conducted, apply post-establishment fertilizer at the recommended rate. If tests have not been conducted apply 2 pounds of nitrogen and 1 pound of phosphate per 1,000 square feet at six to eight weeks of age.

 

PROFESSIONAL’S GUIDE TO SEEDING AND ESTABLISHING NATIVE SPECIES

 

Rhett Kerby

by Rhett Kerby, M.S.

Purchasing Seed on a PLS Pound vs. a Bulk Pound

PLS vs Bulk

 

Have you ever called or visited a website of a seed dealer and kept seeing these three little letters, PLS? Have you ever wondered what’s so important about PLS? Well let me explain.

Pure live seed (PLS) % is important when defining an amount of an individual species to plant in order to achieve a desired or adequate stand. PLS % is a way of expressing the quality of the seed. PLS % is the amount of “live or viable” seed that you are considering. The PLS % of a seed species is determined by multiplying the purity by the germination percentage of a specific seed lot. When purchasing on a PLS pound basis it helps you to better compare lots of a specific species to another because you are guaranteed the same amount of viable seed even though different lots may be used. This is in comparison to a bulk pound. A bulk pound of seed is one that contains viable seed, inert matter, other crop seed, and weed seed. When purchasing on a bulk pound basis you are no longer guaranteed the same amount of viable seed. Purchasing on a PLS pound basis allows you to compare apples to apples and ensures the viability of your seed purchased.

It is important that when you are getting ready to purchase seed you understand not only the bulk contents but also the PLS % of the seed. This is to help the consumer know which portion of the seed is viable and will germinate and how much is inert material and/or “dead” seed. In layman’s terms when you purchase seed on a PLS pound basis you are buying the viable seed; but when you purchase on a bulk pound basis you are buying viable seed, inert material, and/or potentially dead seed. Let’s take a look at an example of a PLS versus Bulk purchase.

 

Example:

You want to purchase 30 pounds of Blue Grama, but you are unsure if you should purchase on a bulk pound or a PLS pound. You know that the price of Blue Grama on a bulk pound costs $23 per pound; and Blue Grama on a PLS pound costs $27 per pound. You know that the specific lot has a PLS of 59%.

Bulk Cost:

To find the cost of the seed on a bulk pound you multiple the cost by pounds, in this instance:

$23 x 30 bulk pounds = $690 total cost

You know that you will pay $690 of 30 bulk pounds of viable, inert material, and dead seed.

Next you want to know how many PLS pounds you would be receiving. Therefore you multiply the total bulk pounds by the PLS percent.

30 bulk pounds x 0.59 lot PLS = 17.7 total PLS pounds in your order.

PLS Cost:

To find the cost of the seed on a PLS pound basis you multiple the cost by PLS pounds, in this instance:

$27 x 30 PLS pounds = $810 total cost

You know that you will pay $810 of 30 pounds of viable seed.

Next you want to know how many bulk pounds you would be receiving. Therefore you divide the total PLS pounds by the PLS percent.

30 PLS pounds / 0.59 PLS% = 51 Bulk pounds

So even though the cost of buying on a PLS may seem higher you are receiving 30 PLS pounds of seed that are guaranteed to be viable and germinate. While if you purchase on a bulk pound you are only receiving 17.7 PLS pounds of seed that would be viable and germinate. Purchasing seed on a PLS pound basis is especially important when comparing lots with differing PLS%.

 

So when it comes to purchasing on a PLS versus a Bulk pound, don’t be scared or hesitant of the cost because when you buy on a PLS basis you are guaranteed viable seed.

Gretchen

by Gretchen Adams, M.S.

Plant Material Centers

The history of the reclamation/native seed industry is one deeply rooted in necessity and has grown into an industry that today provides specialty seed for numerous industries. These industries include: erosion control projects, fire reclamation projects, oil and gas reclamation, wildlife habitat, landscaping, highway right-of-ways, transmission line right-of-ways, ranching, solar farm sod, and numerous government programs.

 

For 80+ years the reclamation/native seed industry has had USDA to thank for creating government funded Plant Material Centers [PMC] to evaluate, collect, propagate, and make available native seeds to commercial markets. PMCs are responsible for finding the plants that are well suited for specified eco-regions and begin propagating the seeds of those species into quantities that are economically feasible for the consumer. PMC plant releases are tried and true; therefore, when you need species for your area look to PMC releases for the best results.

 

USDA’s history of Planter Material Centers: The 1930s Dust Bowl taught us that plants play a critical role in the health of our environment. At that time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) created a number of Soil Conservation Nurseries throughout the country to grow and distribute plants for the stabilization of severely eroding lands. Since the mid-1930s, this need for conservation plants has grown into the present day Plant Materials Program.

 

The Program was created in 1935 as the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) Division of Nurseries. It later became the SCS Plant Materials Program and is known today as the NRCS Plant Materials Program.

 

The Program conducts its plant evaluation activities under the guiding philosophy of Dr. Franklin J. Crider, first head of the Plant Materials Section: “In most cases nature has evolved a plant for almost every growing condition.” These plants and the associated plant technologies are invaluable resources in the implementation of USDA conservation programs.

 

In 1934, the first Plant Materials Center was established in Tucson, Arizona, under the direction of F. J. Crider. The Tucson Plant Materials Center was built by the Bureau of Plant Industry, a Bureau within the US Department of Agriculture. Numerous Plant Materials Centers, originally called erosion nurseries, or erosion experiment stations were built by the Bureau across the nation in response to the devastation of the “Dust Bowl” era in the early 1930′s. At this same time another agency called the Soil Erosion Service, a temporary agency created in 1933 within the Department of the Interior, was also establishing nurseries to produce plants and seed for conservation demonstration projects.

 

The Soil Erosion Service was transferred to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1935 and on April 27, 1935 Congress passed the Soil Conservation Act, creating the Soil Conservation Service (SCS). In 1935, USDA consolidated the Soil Erosion Service and the erosion nurseries and erosion experiment stations of the Bureau of Plant Industry into the new Soil Conservation Service.

 

The Tucson Plant Materials Center served as the headquarters for the Southwest which included facilities at Safford, Arizona and Shiprock, New Mexico. The Center was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.

http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/plantmaterials/about/history/

Retrieved from http://www.nrcs.usda.gov 4/3/14

Retrieved from http://www.nrcs.usda.gov 4/3/14

Rhett Kerby

by Rhett Kerby, M.S.

Sales Position Opening

 

 

Our Goal:

Bamert Seed Company is a family owned company in search of a Sales Professional. The ideal candidate will have an enthusiastic personality and become a key team member in a company that provides a working environment that promotes and enhances family life and living.
Bamert Seed Company, Inc. is located in Muleshoe, Texas and began producing native seed in 1951. We specialize in native warm season grass seed, forbs, and legumes. We are a major supplier for the conservation, reclamation, restoration, and biofuel industries throughout the United States and internationally. Our mission at Bamert Seed Company is to supply the highest quality native seed while providing friendly, experienced guidance to ensure customer success. The selected candidate must be self-motivated and able to accomplish desired goals and objectives for the team. Experience in the conservation, restoration, or seed industry is desired but not required.
 

Requirements:

Preferred degree in agriculture or a related field
Experience in an agriculture or communications related field
Proficiency with Microsoft Office software, including: Excel, Word, Access, etc.
Excellent written and oral communication skills
 

Duties:

Provide sales to numerous native seed markets
Procurement of seed and production inputs
Assist with quality assurance and data gathering
Willingness to travel
 

Compensation:

Commensurate with experience, the benefits package includes retirement, health insurance, personal time and vacation.
 

To Apply:

Applications will be available at the following link: Job Application – Sales. Please email application along with a cover letter and résumé to Sales@BamertSeed.com or fax it to 888-378-0419.
 

Contact Information:

If you are interested in this position or have questions, please contact Rhett Kerby at Sales@BamertSeed.com or (800) 262-9892. If you would like this in a printable format click the following link. If you would like a printable format click the following link. Sales Position
 
Gretchen

by Gretchen Adams, M.S.

National Agriculture Day

Did you know that agriculture is more than just raising animals and crops? Agriculture is found in everyday items from beauty to opportunities. Agriculture plays a part in everyones lives, from city dwellers to the country folk. In Texas alone agriculture contributes to more than $100 billion to the economy each year. And that is not just farming and ranching but 1.8 million jobs ranging from journalism and advertising to commodity training. We as agriculturalist are involed in not only providing food, clothing, and shelter to the world. We are involved in environmental enchancements, education, and prosperity for the country and the world.

Check out the link below to learn more about Texas Agriculture.

http://texasagriculture.gov/culture/index.html

And don’t forget to thank an Agriculturalist!

 

Blog Post

 

Gretchen

by Gretchen Adams, M.S.