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turning hayfield into prairie

Posted by stacwase 4 MI (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 22, 05 at 8:12

I recently bought a farm with about 5 acres of hayfield on it. The hayfield gradually turns into a sunny bog, as the land slopes downward. In the center of the bog, there is even a small (20X60?) marsh. The wetlands attract copious wildlife, including sandhill cranes which I am particularly fond of.

I think I would like to turn part or all of the hayfield into a meadow or prairie, and I was wondering how to go about this. I do have a disc plow ordered, which will attach to my ATV. Should I plow the entire area and then seed it? Do they sell mixes of grass and wildflowers native to each area of the U.S.? I don't have any large equipment to use for pressing seed into the ground. Any suggestions?

As the land slopes down into the bog, I assume it will simply not promote the growth of the grasses/wildflowers in that area. Am I correct? I am very happy with the natural bog environment and associated wildlife, and I don't want to disturb it in any way.

Regarding mowing of the field: I would like to leave the wildflower stalks up during the winter, for the birds to eat. I also don't want to disturb nests. I would assume early spring would be a good time to mow - before the nests are established. Is this correct?

One last question: if I do decide to do this, when should I plant?

Thanks in advance for all your help. I have found Garden Web to be very helpful.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: turning hayfield into prairie

They didn't have seeds that I could find, but over 200 native plants to Minnesota...if anything you may want to see if they might point you in the right direction for wetland plants, lowland plants.
located in the Twin City area :)


Here is a link that might be useful: Landscape Alternatives

RE: turning hayfield into prairie

Prairie Moon Nursery is in Minnesota, and will be able to help you. They have regional seed mixes for your area.

You could also try Prairie Nursery:

They have the same deal, kind of, though it's more geared towards soil type. April

RE: turning hayfield into prairie

lots of hayfeilds are seeded with agressive nonatives, such as brome, crested weatgrass, and alfalfa. the competition from these planst might be a limiting factor if you seed it as is, but i really have no experience nor can i offer a solution.

RE: turning hayfield into prairie

Fledgling is correct...Site prep is 2/3 of the battle. The names I gave you above have excellent advice in their catalog and on-line on doing exactly what you want to do. April

RE: turning hayfield into prairie

Thanks a bunch for the links and the responses!

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