Contour buffers are typically planted with fixed widths. In contrast, we vary the width of the prairie strips based on the amount of water they intercept, with the goal of treating all of the runoff leaving the crop field. Where more water is flowing down-slope, prairie strips should be wider, and where less water is flowing down-slope, the strips can be narrower. Read more about FAQ: How are prairie strips different from contour buffers and grass strips?
Prairie strips are a conservation tool that can be used in both conventional and organic farming operations. In conventional farming operations, precision herbicide management is useful. Native forbs (i.e., wildflowers) in the prairie strips are broadleaf plants and can be damaged or even killed by direct contact with herbicide. Once established, native grasses and forbs have deep root systems that help create a durable, resilient plant community. Read more about FAQ: Are prairie strips only for organic operations?
Prairie strips are planted with native, perennial prairie species. Species include grasses, forbs (i.e., wildflowers), legumes, and sedges. Typically, plantings include stiff-stemmed warm season grasses (e.g., Indiangrass, big bluestem, little bluestem) and a wide range of erect forbs, including species of aster, beebalm, blazing star, bush clover, coneflower, goldenrod, and native sunflower. Read more about FAQ: What kind of plants are actually in the prairie strips?
(November, 2014) Listen to webinar by Lisa Schulte Moore on the science and practice of prairie strips! The webinar was hosted by The Stewardship Network and was originally delivered on November 12th. Read more about The Stewardship Network webinar featuring STRIPS
Have questions about prairie strips? Visit our new Frequently Asked Questions webpage.
Have questions about the potential for prairie strips on your land? Check out our frequently asked questions (FAQs) brochure: 2015-05-prairie-strips-my-land-frequently-asked-questions.pdf. (1.2 MB) Read more about Prairie strips? Frequently asked questions
Prairie strips are a farmland conservation practice that uses strategically placed native prairie plantings in crop fields. The practice has been tested by the STRIPS team since 2007 on experimental plots at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge and increasingly on commercial farms across Iowa. Here we present our responses to the Frequently Asked Questions we receive on prairie strips at conferences and field days, and through email. The information was prepared by team members, and will be updated over time as needed, as we continue to learn. The answers below are general in nature, and may not apply in specific situations. Resources are provided with each answer. Read more about Frequently Asked Questions
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.