Wet Meadows & Wetlands Planting Guide

Wet meadow & wetland sites have soils made up of clay and high organic matter, with high water tables or impervious layers that prevent drainage. They are wet most of the time. Examples of wet meadows include roadside ditches, retention basins that catch run-off water, pond areas or wetland edges. Wetland examples include newly created wetlands and wetland restoration sites, retention basins with wetland functions, floodplains, pond edges and open water or wet bioremediation sites.

HABITAT

Varies from partial shade to full sun; requires wet or saturated soil, standing water or a high water table; generally occupied with OBL, FACW and FAC species.

FERTILITY

Due to the potential for water contamination, lime and fertilizer are not recommended; however, we do recommend the addition of organic matter (compost) when topsoil has been depleted or removed. Check your soil pH and select species adapted to that pH.

SEEDING METHOD

Hand seed, broadcast seed, hydroseed or drill seed when the water table is drawn down. It is not practical to seed any wetland when the water is more than 2” deep or where severe flooding is likely to occur before germination. The same caution applies to mulching. Natural seed banks (seeds in wetland soils) often establish part of the vegetative cover.

SITE PREPARATION

Eradicate existing invasive vegetation by having a licensed spray technician apply an approved herbicide, such as glyphosate (Rodeo®), triclopyr (Garlon® 3A) or other aquatic herbicide formulation, to control undesirable vegetation, such as multiflora rose, honeysuckle and woody species.

CAUTION: Some persistent species, such as purple loosestrife, phragmites or reed canarygrass, may need multiple applications of glyphosate or triclopyr. Perennial weeds not addressed before establishment will be more difficult to remove later. The soil is often too wet to till.

Newly constructed wetlands, retention basins and wet construction sites should be seeded as soon after construction as possible. Leaving the surface rough by creating mounds and kettles for an undulating microtopography can be very beneficial in obligate wetlands.

 

GROWING SEASON MAINTENANCE

First Growing Season

  • When feasible (the ground isn’t too slippery or mucky to safely walk), post-planting maintenance will provide the best results for wet meadows and wetlands. Whenever canopy (overall vegetation) reaches a height of 18”-24”, use a string trimmer to trim the meadow to a height of 8”. This will reduce competition by fast-growing weeds for sunlight and nutrients needed by slow-growing perennial natives. Mowing should cease by mid-September.
  • Problem weeds should be hand pulled or spot sprayed with an approved aquatic herbicide (such as Rodeo® or Garlon® 3A).

Second Growing Season

  • Problem weeds, such as phragmites, reed canarygrass and purple loosestrife, should be hand pulled or spot sprayed with an approved aquatic herbicide (such as Rodeo® or Garlon® 3A).

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.

Wet Meadows & Wetlands Seed Mixes

The following mixes are good for vegetating disturbed or man-made wetlands. The species in these mixes provide food and/or cover for insects, birds and mammals.

OBL-FACW Perennial Food & Cover Wetland Mix

Item #: ERNMX-120 Cost: $47.11/lb
Categories:
Description: This wetland restoration and mitigation mix contains some of our most popular native species to create a permanent grass and forb cover. Seed from October-May in full sun or partially shaded areas in rich, wet, saturated soils; tolerates standing water during the dormant season and part of the ()

FACW Meadow Mix

Item #: ERNMX-122 Cost: $52.71/lb
Categories:
Description: The diverse species provide pollinator habitat and erosion control in wet meadows. Excellent for facultative wetland mitigation sites. Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existing and new products. While the formula may change, the guiding ()

Seasonally Flooded Wildlife Food Mix

Item #: ERNMX-128 Cost: $14.39/lb
Categories:
Description: This combination of annual and perennial grasses, forbs and grass-like plants provide food and cover in wet or flooded riparian areas, as well as in draw-down areas in retention basins or wetlands. Seed from October-May. Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the ()

OBL Wetland Mix

Item #: ERNMX-131 Cost: $69.98/lb
Categories:
Description: Adapts to standing water during part or all of the year. Excellent for obligate wetland mitigation sites; provides nectar for 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 ()

Specialized Wetland Mix for Shaded OBL-FACW Areas

Item #: ERNMX-137 Cost: $45.70/lb
Categories:
Description: The shade-tolerant native species provide wildlife habitat near wetland borders that are surrounded by trees. Excellent for grass and herbaceous cover on bioengineering sites. Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existing and new dproducts. While the ()

Wildlife Food & Shelter Mix

Item #: ERNMX-138 Cost: $46.10/lb
Categories:
Description: The wetland shrubs and sedges can create a typical shrub/sedge wetland and provide year-round food and cover for many game animals and migrating birds. Establishment takes several years, but costs much less than planting seedlings or potted material. Seed from October-May in full sun to shaded areas ()

Waterfowl Buffet Mix for Wetland Enhancement

Item #: ERNMX-175 Cost: $55.88/lb
Categories:
Description: The native grass-like species can support waterfowl, such as ducks. 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. ()

Passive Acid Mine OBL Wetland Mix

Item #: ERNMX-176 Cost: $67.67/lb
Categories:
Description: The native grass and grass-like species tolerate low pH and are well adapted to acid mine drainage. 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. ()

PA Central Lowland Province FACW Mix

Item #: ERNMX-201 Cost: $77.88/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. ()

PA Central Lowland Province OBL Mix

Item #: ERNMX-202 Cost: $114.52/lb
Categories:
Description: Peltandra virginica (Arrow Arum), 1-10 lb per acre, and Pontederia cordata (Pickerelweed), 1-10 lb per acre, are additional species that may be added to this mix. Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existing and new products. While the formula may ()

PA Northern Allegheny Plateau Province FACW Mix

Item #: ERNMX-211 Cost: $59.44/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. ()

PA Northern Allegheny Plateau Province OBL Mix

Item #: ERNMX-212 Cost: $108.32/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. ()

PA Southern Allegheny Plateau Province FACW Mix

Item #: ERNMX-221 Cost: $67.83/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. ()

PA Southern Allegheny Plateau Province OBL Mix

Item #: ERNMX-222 Cost: $116.12/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. ()

PA Valley & Ridge Province FACW Mix

Item #: ERNMX-231 Cost: $79.64/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. ()

PA Valley & Ridge Province OBL Mix

Item #: ERNMX-232 Cost: $110.04/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. ()

PA Blue Ridge Province FACW Mix

Item #: ERNMX-241 Cost: $78.20/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. ()

PA Blue Ridge Province OBL Mix

Item #: ERNMX-242 Cost: $104.28/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. ()

PA New England Province FACW Mix

Item #: ERNMX-251 Cost: $79.78/lb
Categories:
Description: Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existing and new produts. While the formula may change, the guiding philosophy and function of the mix will not. ()

PA New England Province OBL Mix

Item #: ERNMX-252 Cost: $114.36/lb
Categories:
Description: Mix formulations are subject to change without notice depending on the availability of existng and new products. While the formula may change, the guiding philosophy and function of the mix will not. ()

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