Can I plant a less diverse mix? Can I plant only grasses?
The number of types of prairie plants sown (“species richness”) and the amount of each type that is present in seed mixes is a management decision. How the plants will function and the seed mix costs are two primary considerations.
How do I find someone to seed prairie strips for me?
The Plant Iowa Native website has contact information for seed sales and technical service providers.
How does the placement of prairie strips affect water quality gains?
While this is still an active area of research, there are a few guiding principles we can draw upon to try to maximize water quality gains.
How long will the prairie strips work? Won't dirt pile up quickly above the prairie strip?
As water moves downslope in a field and encounters the prairie strips, there will be greater resistance to flow and the surface runoff water will slow down. When this water slows, some of the material it is carrying will be deposited. This generally occurs a few feet into the leading edge of the strip or immediately upslope of the strip.
How do the prairie strips treat sub-surface water flow?
Research as part of our project and other research on buffers and riparian buffers has found that when shallow subsurface flow interacts with the root zone under the prairie strip or other buffers, we can see significant reductions in the concentration of nitrate-nitrogen.
Will the prairie strips make my crops more weedy?
Most prairie plants will not become weeds in crop fields where annual crops are grown and subjected to conventional weed management practices.
Will crop spray drift kill the plants in the prairie strips?
Spray drift definitely can harm the prairie strips in the first several years as the young plants are establishing, but mature prairie plants are more resilient. Mature perennial plants have deep root systems with substantial stored energy reserves, which tend to allow them to bounce back from incidental drift.
Will driving on the strips kill the prairie plants?
Driving on prairie strips will create disturbance and could disrupt the native plant community. Many invasive weeds are more tolerant to disturbance than prairie plants, and driving on the strips could create an environment where weeds can out-compete the prairie plants. Disturbed areas also may reduce the prairie diversity to only a few native species.