little bluestem cover crop?

fiddlrs3(NE Illinois)April 11, 2009

My wifes garden patch is being converted to llittle bluestem, butterfly weed, and pale coneflower. It's been my experience that LBS takes at least a couple of years to really show up. Any cheap ideas of how to hold the weeds at bay those first couple of growing seasons?

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giantslug(4b/5 SW Minnesota)

I my experience Little Bluestem really can't compete well with anything when it is a seedling. I think a cover crop with the bluestem would slow it's establishment or prevent it from establishing at all.I would suggest you use cover crops before you plant the bluestem and try to deplete the weed seedbank.
Spray weeds with glyphosate, plant densely with any kind of cover crop (I prefer oats, but anything that smothers other weeds is effective). Kill the cover crop before it sets seed. Repeat if there are still a lot of weeds sprouting. Then plant your bluestem and flower seeds. Trust me, it is a lot easier to get rid of weeds before you plant your seeds than after! Another way to help the bluestem along (and other small seedlings) is to mow the planting a few times to cut down anything tall. This lets light down to the ground where the bluestem seedlings are growing.
Hope this helps..

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 3:33PM
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Not sure. I know some seed mixes include a "nurse" crop of annual rye and various things but not sure if that's good for LBS. I like giantslug's suggestion. It's my experience that it's best to have your big weed battles before you put down your favorite seeds/plants and then just have little weed battles thereafter.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 5:26PM
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