Sowing prairie seed into snow

oakridge2January 26, 2008

I am interested if anybody has experience with prairie seed sown on top of snow. This year I seeded a one acre expansion to my existing prairie plantings and part of it was done late on top of snow. The area has a south facing aspect with modest slope. It was prepared by chemical treatments and burning (no tilling). Seeding was done by hand after mixing seed with sawdust.

One half of this field was seeded onto the first accumulated snow of the season (about 3/4" of dry snow). This seeding was covered the next day by a big blizzard (about a foot of snow followed by several inches freezing rain).

The other 1/2 of the field was sown durig a warm spell in late December onto a wet melting layer of snow. Under this was a thick compacted layer layer of snow/ice.

I have had good results with late fall seedings onto bare ground. I live in Wisconsin and did not plan to seed on snow, unfortunatly winter came early. I will say that seeding on snow really lets you get a good distribution as the sawdust really stands out. It will be interesting to see if there are any differences in establishment between the two different seeding dates.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardeninprogress

I'll be curious to see the responses here. I'm just beginning a wildflower/prairie garden and have 5lbs. of seed to put out.

There is no less than 2-3 feet of snow on the site at the moment. . . and I'm afraid to put the seed out there. I really don't want to feed the wildlife ~ and have had alot of trouble w/ wild turkeys in the past.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 1:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
froggy(z4/5 WI)

Seeds and the frozen ground dont mix.

Seeds and wet rain/snow that will melt onto unfrozen soil does mix exactly where I put it.

Many years ago when I was pressed for time, I seeded as you suggested late in the year and had almost 100% of the germination on the last 5ft of the downslope of ~ 3% slope. Luckly I realized this first year and re sprayed and re seeded and have a nice spot now.

IMO, the first snow of the year is the best seeding time of the year. But not into frozen ground...you'll be singing that famous paul simon song 'slip slidin' away...'

Froggy

Here is a link that might be useful: slip slidin away

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 4:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
flatlander(z6KS)

I did my planting the hard way...in the spring. I've read from several sources that sowing in the fall and letting the snow cover it is a better method. I would think that sowing on top of the snow, as long as more snow comes along would accomplish the same thing. I'm interested in how it works since i've still got some ground left to plant. Are you mixing forbs in with the grass?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 4:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
oakridge2

Froggy, you have me worried now that 1/2 acre of seeded prairie is "slip slidin away!! I went outside and dug down in the snow/ice and found my seed/sawdust layer. It is now very close to the frozen soil, but still in a layer of compacted snow/ice.

I would hate to see it fail as it was a very good mix with about 60 forbs. I collected/processed at lot of the seed myself which is a big investment of time (although it is fun). I also bought about $300 of seed.

I have not given up hope yet. Maybe it will depend on what kind of thaw we get in the late winter/spring. I am hoping for a gradual thaw where some of my seed will stick to the soil, as opposed to a big thaw that causes my seed to take a ride down the hill.

I will report back next summer when I have some results.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 9:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
anemone_gardener

I have heard that planting on snow is a great way to break dormancy in some seeds (I have not experienced this first hand). With the thawing and refreezing it wears hard seed coats so moisture can enter the seed and therefore germinate. Infact in nature this happens alot. Unless you have a huge runoff this spring you shouldn't have a problem. Let us know how it works when they start to germinate!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 10:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Oak Noll

how did your seeding turn out?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2015 at 2:30PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
establishing a prairie garden - strawberries
I'm converting my lawn to prairie plants and used a...
mill1154
My Prairie Lawn in Oklahoma
Just wanted to share a shot I took today of my little...
TexasRanger10
Need recommendations
Hi, Could someone give me an idea of which species...
adidas
How I cultivated a prairie'ish meadow in Oklahoma
Someone suggested I might post this, so let me basically...
dbarron
Central Texas Grassland restoration Blog
This Blog Is really pretty good and interesting. Jill...
wantonamara Z8 CenTex
Sponsored Products
Gizaun Art Tile Door Indoor/Outdoor Full Color Cedar Wall Art - TD1624
$79.00 | Hayneedle
Uttermost Frisco 8" Wide Tinted Glass Mini Pendant
Lamps Plus
Outdoor Lighting. Naples Collection Wall-Mount 1-Light Outdoor Matte Black Light
Home Depot
4-Light Pendant Chestnut Bronze
PLFixtures
Geneva Outdoor Pendant by Troy Lighting
$396.00 | Lumens
Casablanca Ceiling Fans Utopian 52 in. Outdoor Snow White Ceiling Fan 54037
Home Depot
Sunflower Seeds Personalized Throw Pillow - PIL-WFO-JFIL
$49.99 | Hayneedle
52" Casablanca Isotope Snow White Ceiling Fan
Lamps Plus
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™