Uplands, Meadows & Pollinator Planting Guide

Uplands, meadows & pollinator projects are great for a variety of site types. Upland sites are characterized as being dry most of the year. Soils at these sites are well drained and may consist of sandy clay, sandy loam, loam or shale. The topsoil layer may be thin and subject to drought. If yours is a sandy site, refer to the Southeastern U.S. Sites Planting Guide. Upland examples include naturally rocky soil that has been subject to erosion or steep road cuts. Meadow examples include abandoned farm fields, previous lawns, vacant land or roadsides.

HABITAT

Typically in full sun for at least half the day with good air circulation; generally occupied with UPL, FACU and FAC species.

FERTILITY

Natural fertility is usually adequate; fertilizer and lime are not needed (fertilizer often helps weeds and invasives). Check your soil pH and select species adapted to that pH.

SEEDING METHOD

Hand seed, broadcast seed, hydroseed or drill seed.

SITE PREPARATION

If your site was previously a lawn or crop field to which herbicides were applied, it is important that you allow the appropriate interval for the residues of those herbicides to break down prior to planting your meadow. Some herbicide residues can prevent seedling germination.

Competition from invasive or undesirable vegetation is the most limiting factor in upland meadow preparation. Prior to planting, all such vegetation must be fully controlled. Typical control strategies include repeated tilling, smothering with black plastic or herbicides.

When using the tillage strategy, a site is disc harrowed every two to four weeks for a one to two month period. The underlying premise of this process is that the root system of perennial species will be worn out to the point of killing the species. In addition, tillage will stimulate germination of dormant weed seed Which will be killed by subsequent tillage. Planting should not occur until perennial species are completely killed.

Black plastic may also be used to kill weeds. It may be laid across tilled or untilled soil and anchored down by burying the edges in soil or laying boards or bricks across the surface. This protocol should be utilized during a growing season where the intent is to fall plant in the same year or spring plant the following year.

The application of an approved herbicide, such as glyphosate (Roundup® or Rodeo®), is the most common and least time-intensive protocol for controlling existing vegetation. Herbicides are most effective on actively rowing plant tissues; therefore, they are very effective on new growth in the spring. Spraying should begin when growth is approximately 6” high. One to two weeks later, a follow-up application of spray may be made To address skips or persistent species. If substantial plant tissues remain on the surface following a full kill by herbicides, a close mowing, tillage or burning may be necessary to achieve good seed-to-soil contact.

GROWING SEASON MAINTENANCE

First Growing Season

  • Whenever canopy (overall vegetation) reaches a height of 18”- trim the meadow to a height of 8” (Note: A lawn mower is not recommended as the mower height will be too low and native seedlings will be killed). This will reduce competition by fast-growing weeds for sunlight, water and nutrients needed by slow-growing perennial natives. Mowing should cease by mid-September.
  • For seedings of annual wildflower mixes or annual & perennial wildflower mixes, problem weeds should be hand pulled.
  • Problem weeds should be hand pulled or spot sprayed with approved herbicides (such as Roundup® or Rodeo®).

Second Growing Season

  • Prior to new spring growth reaching a height of 2” (e.g., shortly after forsythia or redbud blooms), trim any material standing from the previous year close to the ground (approximately 2”). This will allow the soil to warm more quickly, which will stimulate the emergence and growth of native seedlings and reduce the likelihood of the meadow being invaded by shrubs.
  • Problem weeds should be hand pulled or spot sprayed with an approved herbicide.

Special Circumstances

If you notice a heavy infestation of ragweed or foxtail in the second growing season, trim the meadow to a height of 8”. Trimming should cease by mid-September.

For additional helpful information, please reference our Guide to the Life Cycle of a Meadow.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this review of practices is the result of more than 50 years of experience in seed production. Ernst Conservation Seeds has been supplying seeds and consulting in the reseeding of tens of thousands of acres of roadsides, surfacemined lands, conservation and restoration sites in eastern North America, as well as growing and supplying seed and consulting in the planting of hundreds of thousands of acres of CRP/CREP-related areas for erosion control and wildlife habitat. All of these practices are opinion only and our best advice as a result of these experiences. These recommendations do not cover all of the conditions that will be encountered in the field. All of the information is for individual consideration. Ernst Conservation Seeds is not responsible for conditions that will be encountered in individual situations. The use of brand names does not represent our endorsement of a specific product; rather, it represents our experience only and has not necessarily been replicated in peer-reviewed research. The use of chemical pest control agents is subject to manufacturers’ instructions and labeling, as well as federal, state and local regulations.

Uplands, Meadows & Pollinator Seed Mixes

The following mixes are used in full sun with well-drained soils and provide food and/or cover for Wildlife. Meadow and wildflower mixes provide food for insects, including native pollinators.

Mesic to Dry Native Pollinator Mix

Item #: ERNMX-105 Cost: $30.30/lb
Categories: ,
Description: The native wildflowers and grasses in this mix provide an attractive display of color from spring to fall. Designed for mesic to upland sites and full sun to lightly shaded areas. This mix will attract a variety of pollinators and songbirds. Mix formulations are subject to change without notice ()

Biodiverse Polyculture Mix for Biomass Production & Wildlife Habitat

Item #: ERNMX-115 Cost: $11.55/lb
Categories:
Description: Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending upon availability of existing and new products. While the formula may change, the guiding philosophy and function of the mix will not. ()

Warm Season Grass Mix

Item #: ERNMX-117 Cost: $3.52/lb
Categories:
Description: The perennial warm season grasses (which take 1-2 years to establish) are combined with cool season grain to provide immediate cover and act as a companion crop. The grain matures quickly during the cool wet season and goes dormant during a hot dry period, which allows the native grasses to develop ()

Native Upland Wildlife Forage & Cover Meadow Mix

Item #: ERNMX-123 Cost: $11.35/lb
Categories:
Description: This perennial grass mix with re-seeding annual forbs creates attractive first-year color and perennial cover when planted in full sun or partially shaded areas. Seed from October-May in rich well-drained soils. Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of ()

Mesic to Dry Native Pollinator Mix w/o Grasses

Item #: ERNMX-125 Cost: $115.74/lb
Categories: ,
Description: Contains native forbs common in the Northeast. Excellent for wildlife food and shelter, including pollinators. Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existing and new products. While the formula may change, the guiding philosophy and function of the ()

Midwest Forbs Mix

Item #: ERNMX-145 Cost: $22.40/lb
Categories:
Description: Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existing and new products. While the formula may change, the guiding philosophy and function of the mix will not. ()

Showy Northeast Native Wildflower & Grass Mix

Item #: ERNMX-153 Cost: $33.59/lb
Categories: ,
Description: The native wildflowers and some grasses provide a gorgeous display of color from spring to fall. Designed for upland sites with well-drained soils and full sun to semi-shaded areas; ideal for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on ()

Showy Northeast Native Wildflower Mix

Item #: ERNMX-153-1 Cost: $98.20/lb
Categories: ,
Description: Contains the showiest native forbs common in the Northeast. Excellent for wildlife food and shelter, including pollinators. Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existing and new products. While the formula may change, the guiding philosophy and ()

Deer Resistant Meadow Mix

Item #: ERNMX-155 Cost: $34.13/lb
Categories: ,
Description: Contains species that deer typically do not find palatable. It is not guaranteed that hungry deer will not eat the species in this mix, but these species are normally not preferred. Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existing and new products. ()

Low-Growing Wildflower & Grass Mix

Item #: ERNMX-156 Cost: $10.15/lb
Categories:
Description: Specifically designed to provide erosion and sediment control and color on low-fertility sites. May be mowed occasionally. Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existing and new products. While the formula may change, the guiding philosophy and ()

Plateau Tolerant Wildflower & Grass Mix

Item #: ERNMX-166 Cost: $19.69/lb
Categories:
Description: Plateau is a registered, non-restricted herbicide product from BASF, recommended in areas where undesirable weeds or grasses prevent successful establishment of wildflowers and native grasses.Ernst Conservation Seeds has available Plateau Dry granular herbicide ECO-PAKS in water-soluble packets ()

Plateau Tolerant Wildflower Mix

Item #: ERNMX-166-1 Cost: $40.31/lb
Categories:
Description: Plateau is a registered, non-restricted herbicide product from BASF, recommended in areas where undesirable weeds or grasses prevent successful establishment of wildflowers and native grasses.Ernst Conservation Seeds has available Plateau Dry granular herbicide ECO-PAKS in water-soluble packets ()

Annual Wildflower Mix

Item #: ERNMX-167 Cost: $18.34/lb
Categories:
Description: Showy the first year if planted before mid-June. With proper management, this mix will be showy the second year. Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existing and new products. While the formula may change, the guiding philosophy and function of the ()

Northeast Annual & Perennial Wildflower Mix

Item #: ERNMX-168 Cost: $32.86/lb
Categories:
Description: Showy the second year and beyond, changing color and texture as it matures. Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existing and new products. While the formula may change, the guiding philosophy and function of the mix will not. ()

Southeast Annual & Perennial Wildflower Mix

Item #: ERNMX-169 Cost: $37.31/lb
Categories:
Description: The native and non-native wildflowers establish quickly and have a 2-3 year lifespan; wildlife and pollinator value. Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existing and new products. While the formula may change, the guiding philosophy and function of ()

Annual & Perennial Wildlife Food Plot Mix

Item #: ERNMX-170 Cost: $8.11/lb
Categories:
Description: A food plot mix the first year. If planted before July 1st, it converts to a native warm season grass stand for permanent cover and food for quail, turkey, pheasants, deer and non-game animals. Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existing and new ()

Multi-Purpose/Multi-Year Wildlife Food & Shelter Mix

Item #: ERNMX-171 Cost: $6.44/lb
Categories:
Description: This combination of annual milo, millet and sunflower provides excellent first-year coverage for pheasants and migrating birds on well-drained, upland soils. It is also a companion crop for the warm season grasses and partridge pea, which create perennial food and shelter for all types of wildlife. ()

Fall Multi-Purpose/Multi-Year Wildlife Food & Shelter Mix

Item #: ERNMX-171-1 Cost: $5.63/lb
Categories:
Description: Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existing and new products. While the formula may change, the guiding philosophy and function of the mix will not. ()

Maryland Upland Mix

Item #: ERNMX-172 Cost: $25.69/lb
Categories:
Description: The diverse native upland species are used for perennial cover in coastal and plateau areas of the Mid-Atlantic states. Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existing and new products. While the formula may change, the guiding philosophy and function ()

Eastern Native Habitat & CREP Mix

Item #: ERNMX-173 Cost: $12.11/lb
Categories:
Description: The eastern warm and cool season grasses and hardy forbs make an economical cover for large areas. Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existing and new products. While the formula may change, the guiding philosophy and function of the mix will not. ()

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