Wet meadow native grass in barnyard

zootjs(zone 5 MA)March 7, 2008

Hello,

My barn sits on a hill, at the bottom of which is a wet meadow that leads into a small pond. The barnyard, with chickens, ducks, and geese is on the hill. The waterfowl parade to the pond a couple times a week, in good weather.

When the snow melts, I'm looking forward to bare spots and mud.

My plan is to rotate various parts of the barnyard for the birds' use, while other areas heal/grow up.

So, here's the question. What sort of natives (mostly grass, likely, but wildflowers too if they make sense) should I try to grow, here? They should be durable, fast growing, nutritious for birds, thrive in a heavy nitrogen environment, and able to stand wet feet (their own and the birds trampling!).

Sources of seed would also be appreciated. The area is about 2500 square feet.

I'm zone 5, central MA.

--Jonathan

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giantslug(4b/5 SW Minnesota)

I found a company in Pennsylvania that sells native seed mixes that may be suitable for your needs. It would probably be a good idea to contact them to find out what seed mix would be best for you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ernst Seed

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 9:49PM
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dandy_line(3B (Brainerd, Mn))

I also have a wet area that I am trying to reclaim. At first I thought it would be hard to find plants that will like to be wet for long periods. But doing research, found there are quite a lot of perennials that will work. Try the following that just come to mind right noew.

Aruncus-Goats Beard
Aster-New England
Boltonia asteroids
Eupatorium(Joe Pye Weed)
Iris siberiaca
Helenium-Sneezeweed
Helianthus maximilliani
Hibiscus moschatus
Rudbeckia-Black eyed susan

and I'm sure there are more. These all are growing in my Z4a Mn wet spot so are quite hardy.
Don't try to just scatter seeds and expect them to grow in place of weeds. You will need to set up a nursery and germinate the seeds, then pamper them until they are large enough to fight on their own.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 11:04PM
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amelanchier(NY)

For a durable cool-season native grass, you might want to consider Canadian wild rye or red fescue. No personal experience with either, but the species descriptions I've found seem to match what you're looking for.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 12:25AM
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zootjs(zone 5 MA)

Thanks for this.

After some more research, I can be more specific. I want a sod type grass with deep roots, that grows fast enough and is hardy enough to stand the trampling of poultry. It should do well in a heavily nitrogen environment.

Red fescue might fit this, though I'm not sure if it is vigorous enough.

Prices that I've found for native wetland grass/wildflower seed mixes are astronomical ($125/lb), so I'm interested in economical ideas and sources.

Thank you,

--Jonathan

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 10:41AM
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amelanchier(NY)

Have you looked at Prairie Moon Nursery? A pound of seed should easily cover 2500 square feet, BTW. You probably need less than a pound.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 1:14PM
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