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Old 08-29-2013, 12:01 PM   #1
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A blog written by a local leader in restoration and volunteer stewardship and co author of The Tallgrass Restoration Handbook: For Prairies, Savannas, and Woodlands
Stephen Chapman shares his knowledge, experience and ecological ethics.


Vestal Grove: Planning Notes for 2014

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First, a definition of a word used often below:
conservative – a species that is most common under natural conditions – and rarely is found away from them. In ancient prairies, the conservatives are among the most common plants. In most “restored” or degraded prairies, they are rare or non-existent. There’s a longer note on conservative plants at the end of this post.
Vestal Grove: Accepting Defeat - as a strategy toward victory

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Accepting Defeat - as a strategy toward victory

The battle against invasive species is a new phase in ecosystem conservation. The depth of our strategy and analysis is still shallow. We have done a better job at raising the war cry than at planning the campaigns.
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Old 08-29-2013, 04:39 PM   #2
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Nice find, Gloria.

From the first link:


Quote:
Conservativeness is ranked on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being the highest. Examples of plants in the 0 range include ragweed, annual fleabane, and common milkweed. Typical alien weeds like dandelion would also be given a zero rating if these ratings weren’t reserved for native species.

Examples in the 9 and 10 range include prairie dropseed, white prairie clover, fringed gentian, prairie gentian, cream false indigo, prairie lily, Leiberg’s panic grass, prairie cinquefoil, prairie sundrops, heart-leaved Alexanders, and the prairie white-fringed orchid.
Over the years, I have come to really love the daisy fleabane...even if it is not one of the more conservative (a new term for mean this context) species. My hope is to have areas on our property in different stages of succession...hopefully that will also help me maintain diversity. Being from a Mid-Atlantic state, I'm not sure how much of this applies to me, but it has got me thinking.

I definitely want to establish a lot of little bluestem...and keep big bluestem in the mix--but kept at bay. I'd like to see the ranking of the little bluestem....and those that fall between the 1-8 range not mentioned.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 08-30-2013, 10:55 AM   #3
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dapjwy, his book Tallgrass Restoration Handbook: for prairies,savannas and woodlands, has just that kind of information and more. I picked it up at the library first then later bought a copy. While it is mainly for restoration not gardens it is still chock full of good information.
I would like more little bluestem but have had trouble establishing, whereas prairie dropseed and switchgrass flourish here.
Seed is another whole thing that I wish he would write a book on. Knowing from what is growing what needs to be planted next and where, takes so much information and experience and even he sometimes decides to wait a bit and see. He is invaluble to the restoration community in our area and I am always glad to see others learning from him. When the Army Corp of Engineers herbicided Orland Grasslands then reseeded they basically started over with pioneer plants. But Stephen Packard cordoned off areas he deemed thriving prairie from which hopefully seed bank,micro-organisms, and some insect life might benefit the young restoration.
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Old 08-30-2013, 04:52 PM   #4
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You are getting me more and more excited about learning from his (and others') experience. I actually consider my project part landscaping and part restoration...leaning a good bit more towards restoration, I think.

I should look for hat book.

I'm really hoping my little bluestem take root and thrive here. I planted a lot from seed, winter sowing them in containers which I plan to pot out in various sections of the property any time now. I'm also planning on collecting more seed for future plantings. They are from a local source which pleases me all the more. It is one of my favorites.

My dad, I think, referred to it as poverty grass and explained to me that it got that name because it often thrived in poor soil. I just hope it likes our soil. I'd like to add other native grasses, sedges, and such as well...but I'd be disappointed if I had to do without my favorite.
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Old 06-23-2014, 02:22 PM   #5
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About the conservative plant numbers. They are not to indicate one native is better to plant than another. Just the timeline from disruption,be it natural or manmade, and with the early plants being pioneers. Then the ecosystem should move along creating conditions whereas the conservative plants are able to grow successfully.
Some plants need specific microorganisms, some need other plants already growing and some need a layer of decomposing plant material.
Example being woodland ephemerals. A recently planted suburban garden is unlikely to have much success with these ephemerals but after a few years of woodland habitat garden growing they just may do ok.
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Old 06-23-2014, 03:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gloria View Post
About the conservative plant numbers. They are not to indicate one native is better to plant than another. Just the timeline from disruption,be it natural or manmade, and with the early plants being pioneers. Then the ecosystem should move along creating conditions whereas the conservative plants are able to grow successfully.
Some plants need specific microorganisms, some need other plants already growing and some need a layer of decomposing plant material.
Example being woodland ephemerals. A recently planted suburban garden is unlikely to have much success with these ephemerals but after a few years of woodland habitat garden growing they just may do ok.
I remember this thread. Thanks for reviving it.

From what I remember reading the first time around, you did a fantastic job of summarizing the concept.
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Old 06-23-2014, 06:51 PM   #7
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I remember looking into this before, but now that I know of of the species it is easier to digest. Also noticing species have different scores for different areas.

Nice to notice the use of broad leaf plants of higher CoC in competition with grasses, which historically available. Limited seed sources due to limited high quality enviroments makes sense to learn which plants need established plants to nurture them.

Here is the list (Excel) for New England states:

NEIWPCC | Water Quality | Wetlands | NEBAWWG
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Old 06-25-2014, 05:05 AM   #8
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Dap, how is your little bluestem doing this year?
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Old 06-25-2014, 09:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebek56 View Post
Dap, how is your little bluestem doing this year?
Unfortunately, the plants I started last spring and planted in the fall didn't seem to take--at least some plants died--perhaps there are others that survived that I've overlooked.

I winter sowed more that have germinated...I want to get them in the ground now so that they have all summer to send down roots.

Thanks for asking, though...I *really* want to get it established in my planned meadow. If transplanting my tiny grasses doesn't work (or even if it does), I plan to direct sow this fall/winter and let it grow in place.
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Old 06-26-2014, 07:42 AM   #10
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For Little Bluestem plugs, I have seen them at 2 years. Seems pretty hardy at that age.

Warm season grass (and a lot of grass) doesn't need cold stratification. Since it matures so late in the season, it is not at risk of germinating when the soil conditions are right for its germination. It will germinate on warm soil in late spring/early summer (Mid May to June here).

Mowing the surrounding grasses to 6" will open up some holes for the warm season grass to grow through the cool season grasses. Next year, should be established enough to not need mowing, though will be helpful in late spring when the warm season grass starts to grow. In wild environments with bison or other grass loving species take out the grasses and open the holes for new growth. When a pasture is left to mature without management, the grass species take over and create a weed reducing mat. Cutting/mowing/grazing reduces the dense cool season grass and allows some gaps to form where warm season grasses will enter.
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