Helping restore the native landscape for over 50 years
Founded by Calvin Ernst in 1964, Ernst Conservation Seeds is the largest native seed producer and supplier in the eastern United States.
Find the exact seeds you need for your project using the advanced search and filtering options of our Seed Finder Tool:
Browse all seed mixes and find the one you need using the advanced search and filtering options of our Seed Finder Tool:
While planting dates differ between annual and perennial mixes, most are designed for spring or fall planting. Examples: Woodland openings, remote areas of large residential lots, abandoned fields, or timber harvest and loading areas.
Well-drained or moderately well-drained sites in woodland openings (ideally near water sources); typically in full sun for at least half the day; upland species may be planted.
Check soil pH and fertility; adding lime can improve the nutritional value of vegetation beneficial for wildlife. If a soil test has not been obtained, a starter fertilizer, such as 200 lb per acre of 16-16-16, should be applied. If uncertain about the soil pH, add 1,000-2,000 lb of lime per acre which will provide plants with essential nutrients without pushing up a lot of top growth. Lime and fertilizer may be incorporated into the soil using a tiller. After incorporating amendments, smooth the soil to develop a good seedbed. If broadcasting the seed, run a spring-tooth harrow or ATV over the site to incorporate the seed into the soil 1/4”-1/2” deep.
Hand seed, broadcast seed, or drill seed.
If the site was previously a lawn or crop field to which herbicides were applied, it is important to allow the appropriate interval for the herbicide residues to break down prior to planting. Some herbicide residues can prevent seedling germination.
Eradicate existing vegetation by having a licensed spray technician apply an approved herbicide, such as glyphosate (Roundup® or Rodeo®), or by tilling the weeds into the soil. Hand pull or spot spray problem weeds. Perennial weeds not addressed before establishment will be difficult to remove later. Good pre-seeding weed control may require repeated tilling or spraying two applications of glyphosate at least two weeks apart.
It may be necessary to mow some mixes to 4”-6” in order to keep plants young and tender. Annual food plot mixes must be planted yearly.
Andropogon gerardii, 'Southlow'-MI Ecotype
Panicum virgatum, 'RC Chippewa'
Brassica napus, Bonar
Panicum anceps, SC Ecotype
Lespedeza capitata, RI Ecotype