A well-planned seed mix is essential to reconstructing a diverse and stable plant community. Selecting species for any native planting involves knowing the physical characteristics of the site (soil type, hydrology, slope, aspect, and sunlight exposure) then choosing the most appropriate native plants for that site. All native plantings should include grasses, sedges, and forbs (both legume and non-legume species). The seed mix should also include annual, biennial, and perennial species to foster both early establishment and maintain long-term diversity.
The cost and availability of the seed is often the primary factor in determining which species and how much seed of a species gets included in a seed mix. Seeding calculators are valuable tools to enable practitioners to develop diverse seed mixes within a seed budget. It is also important to consider the source of seed and the ratio of forb to grass species in the mix. A well-planned seed mix will result in a diverse, weed-resistant prairie plant community that will last a lifetime.
Tallgrass Prairie Center
Original Publication Date
UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
©2018 Dave Williams
Williams, Dave, "Prairie Restoration Series: Designing Seed Mixes" (2018). Tallgrass Prairie Publications and Reports. 39.