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Old 01-26-2017, 05:38 PM   #1
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Flowersred Wildflower Establishment: Organic Site Preparation Methods

The Xerces Society has published a really nice guide for planting a wildflower meadow/prairie. Site preparation is one of the most important steps for a successful outcome. This publication has detailed information on several organic methods for site preparation.

The link below is a pdf download, but they have indicated that a print version will also be available in their store.

Quote:
Wildflower Establishment
Organic Site Preparation Methods

Pollinators are a priority resource concern for many conservationists and farmers, particularly in the organic farming community. Pollinator habitat enhancement projects supported by USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) cost-share programs, for example, have received tremendous interest and participation from organic farmers. However, since conventional herbicides are often the go-to method for preparing a site for pollinator habitat, farmers interested in organic methods have been left with minimal options and guidance.

To address this, the Xerces Society conducted field trials throughout the Eastern, Midwestern, and Western United States to inform best practices for wildflower establishment using organic site preparation methods. We tested seven organic site preparation approaches: solarization, smother cropping, sheet mulching, repeated shallow cultivation, soil inversion, organic herbicides, and sod removal. This document reflects what we learned about the effectiveness of each weed control technique in our trials, combined with the current science on organic weed control and the successes and failures of numerous other restoration projects across the country.


Introduction 1
Site Preparation 3

1 Organic Site Preparation Methods Overview 4

2 Solarization 6
Table 2.1: Solarization Overview 6
How It Works 7
Timing/Duration 7
Basic Instructions 8
Table 2.2: Selecting the Right Plastic 10
Table 2.3: Solarization Timeline–Cooler Regions (e.g., Upper Midwest, Northeast) 11
Table 2. 4: Solarization Timeline–Warmer/Semi-Arid Regions (e.g., California) 11

3 Smother Cropping 12
Table 3.1: Smother Cropping Overview 12
How it Works 13
Timing/Duration 13
Basic Instructions 14
Buckwheat Smother Crop 14
Lacy Phacelia Smother Crop 16
Table 3.2: Ideal Conditions for/Characteristics of Buckwheat & Lacy Phacelia 17
Table 3.3: Buckwheat Smother Crop Timeline & Checklist—East/Midwest 18
Table 3.4: Lacy Phacelia Smother Crop Timeline & Checklist—East/Midwest 19
Table 3.5: Lacy Phacelia Smother Crop Timeline & Checklist—West 19

4 Repeated Shallow Cultivation 20
Table 4.1: Repeated Shallow Cultivation Overview 20
How it Works 21
Timing/Duration 21
Basic Instructions 22
Table 4.2: Repeated Shallow Cultivation Timeline 22

5 Sheet Mulching 23
Table 5.1: Sheet Mulching Overview 23
How It Works 23
Timing/Duration 23
Basic Instructions 25
Table 5.2: Sheet Mulching Timeline 25

6 Soil Inversion 26
Table 6.1: Soil Inversion Overview 26
How it Works 27
Timing/Duration 27
Basic Instructions 27
Table 6.2: Soil Inversion Timeline 27

7 Organic Herbicide Applications 28
Table 7.1: Organic Herbicide Applications Overview 28
How it Works 28
Timing/Duration 29
Basic Instructions 29
Table 7.2: Organic Herbicide Applications Timeline 29

8 Sod Removal 30
Table 8.1: Sod Removal Overview 30
How it Works 30
Timing/Duration 30
Basic Instructions 30
Table 8.2: Sod Removal Timeline 31

Appendix A: How To Get The Most Out Of Mechanical Weed Control 32
Appendix B: Useful Common Cultivation/Weed Management Tools 34
Appendix C: Additional Resources 36
Appendix D: Additional Acknowledgements 40

http://www.xerces.org/wp-content/upl..._FINAL-web.pdf

If I remember correctly it's a 4 or 5 MB download, so if you are on a slow internet connection you will have to be patient while it's downloading.
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Old 01-26-2017, 10:07 PM   #2
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Many thanks for sharing this...and sending it my way.

I am hoping to make a good bit of progress on my meadow this spring. ...then continue the process in other areas and continue to expand my native meadow this year and the coming years.
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Old 01-26-2017, 10:08 PM   #3
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I just hit the link and downloaded it in no time at all. Yay! The PDF is now on my phone.
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Old 01-27-2017, 04:10 PM   #4
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I hope you find some information in the publication that is useful for your meadow project.

Ever since the importance of pollinators has gotten the attention of the general public the Xerces Society has devoted a lot of their resources to helping people find information on how to provide habitat for our native pollinators. Their Pollinator Conservation Resource Center has a wealth of good information for every part of the country:
The Xerces Society Pollinator Conservation Resource Center

Each of their regional pages has lots of good detailed information/resources on native plant lists, conservation guides, etc.
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