Thousands of little weed seedlings!

mikeLHS68(5/PrairiesEdge)September 27, 2005

Hi, Prairie Friends!

In an earlier post I had asked advice on fall seeding. I have Roundup'ed the area 3X. Have not planted yet. We've gotten more than 3" of rain in the last 2 weeks and now my "bare" soil has sprouted thousands of tiny (annual?) seedlings.

My question for you: Should I 1) leave them alone, figgering Old Man Winter will kill the annual seedlings; 2) Roundup again when the sun comes out; or 3) rake lightly to kill the little devils?

Thanks in advance, Mike@prairiesedge

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Vera_EWASH(z5 EasternWA)

Any weed seedlings that are popping up now are likely winter annuals...sprout and grow a little in fall, go dormant, then set seed and die by summer.
Are you saying all 3 rounds of spay was directed on bare soil? I hope not. Round Up will not work on bare soil as it is not a pre-emergent herbacide (which kills seeds)...it must be applied to the foliage in order to be of use. Late Fall just before a snow is the best time to plant, so you still have time to treat your weeds.

Vera

    Bookmark   October 1, 2005 at 1:08AM
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john_mo(z5/6)

It might indeed be a good idea to treat your new crop of seedlings before you plant, but annuals are not really the major threat to your future planting.

Spraying throughout the growing season should have eliminated most perennial forbs and grasses that otherwise coulde become a major threat.

Regardless of what you do now, you will still have to fight against invasion by annuals over the next couple growing seasons. But this mostly entails periodic mowing to prevent them from crowding out your seedlings and to prevent them from setting seed.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2005 at 5:24PM
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mikeLHS68(5/PrairiesEdge)

Thanks, as always, John (and Vera). Happy Winter

    Bookmark   October 12, 2005 at 4:57PM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

have you seeded yet?
I would probably mow those annuals short, right before I seeded.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2005 at 10:46AM
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mikeLHS68(5/PrairiesEdge)

Thanks, Joe
No, I am planning on seeding in late November. Interestingly, I thought to mow over last week--(crabgrass seedheads). Think I may if I have time, but will it make enough diff to warrant extra labor?

Let me ask this...some have suggested a two-stage seeding--forbs now, grasses next year. I think John B mentioned in an email sowing both at same time, but I was reading the Alan Wade booklet that sug. the 2-stage approach. I would like to hear from the group your opinions...

Best to all prairie lovers, MB

    Bookmark   October 23, 2005 at 10:03PM
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mikeLHS68(5/PrairiesEdge)

PS: The previous reference to mowing in "Thousands of little weed seedlings" was over a 2004 planting that came up with a lot of crabgrass. The *new* plots are bare soil. I sprayed them a final time 3 weeks ago when the air temp was 70' and killed the little suckers!

So, curious--forbs only first year and grasses next? or both together this year--what do y'all think?

    Bookmark   October 23, 2005 at 10:17PM
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john_mo(z5/6)

I vote for seeding grasses and forbs together. Perhaps the goal of planting forbs first would be to discourage over-dominance of the prairie grasses, but I would be more concerned about invasion by weeds and undesirable cool-season grasses. Prairie grasses are your friends! You can always encourage your forbs later by careful choice of times for burning or mowing.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2005 at 10:30AM
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ernestm(z4)

Timing
Fall Seeding
A major advantage of fall planting is a high percentage of forb seed germination. The natural "wintering over" of fall planted seed helps break down the seeds germination inhibitors associated with many native plants. Species that require cool soil temperatures for good germination will also be favored. Germination of most warm season grasses is inhibited by fall or frost seeding. This can be a benefit, as it allows the forbs to have a strong presence before the grasses start filling in the spaces between them.
(from "Prairie Moon" nursery website)

I followed this advice when I planted my small prairies and did find that the forbs dominated the first couple of years and then the grasses began to mature.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 10:07AM
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mikeLHS68(5/PrairiesEdge)

Thanks ernestM and all. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Helping to "Keep the Prairie"

mike@prairiesedge.org

    Bookmark   October 28, 2005 at 5:22PM
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