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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Establishment of Seeded Grasslands for Wildlife Habitat in the Prairie Pothole Region

Summary, Conclusions and Acknowledgments

Summary and Conclusions

It is possible to establish good stands of grassland using either introduced grasses and legumes or native grasses if proper attention is given to site selection, site preparation, planting methods, and other details outlined in this publication. However, failure to follow the proper procedures will usually result in a poor stand. Some factors are under man's control and some, such as soil phase and climate, obviously are not. Nevertheless, these natural factors make up the potential of a site to produce vegetation, and this fact should be clearly recognized. Cultural practices, especially seedbed preparation and seeding technique, are very important in attaining a good stand of grass. Managers have the capability of controlling these factors and should do so. Unfortunately, a lot of high-priced seed has been wasted on poorly prepared seedbeds.

If a planting fails, do not hesitate to cultivate and reseed if it is probable the soils and climate can produce a better stand. A good stand is usually apparent by the first or second year after seeding. Most areas plantings on cropland will contain many weed competitors the first year. If the competition is by annual plants, there is little problem. Although seeded perennials will usually overcome annuals by the second or third year, the problem is much more serious if the stand has an abundance of undesirable perennial grasses or forbs, and many inferior plantings result because of such competition. Warm-season native grasses are especially poor competitors with annual weeds.

Establishment and maintenance of high-quality stands of seeded grassland can be an important wildlife management activity. The need for good management of areas dedicated to wildlife is emphasized by the destruction and degradation of grassland habitats on private lands. We believe this publication should be updated as new knowledge is obtained by wildlife managers and researchers and agricultural agencies.


We appreciate the assistance of A. Kruse. W. Whitman, W. Rumsey (deceased), R. Hamilton, and A. Davis who provided useful comments on various drafts of our manuscript.

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