Tom's Blog

Friday, November 26, 2010

Summary of seed collecting activities

Seed collecting is an important part of our restoration activities, and this is the time of year when we are pulling together all of the collections. Kathie is in charge, and in addition to her own collecting activities, she spends a lot of time keeping track of the data. Our regular crew (Susan, Marci, and Amanda) have been doing most of the seed collecting and cleaning. I do a little collecting but mainly help with the hammer mill work and do all the computer work.

This year we had 149 species of forbs, which is about our usual level of species diversity. Some of these species are only present in small amounts, whereas we have lots of others. I'll be entering the weights into the database sometime next week.

Once all the seeds were cleaned and weighed, the seed mixes were made. Except for a few specialty grasses, the mixes consist mainly of forbs. The main grasses are only added when we get ready to plant. The forbs mixes (and their approximate weights) are:
  • Savanna (42 pounds)
  • Dry prairie (3+ pounds)
  • Dry mesic prairie (26 pounds)
  • Wet mesic prairie (21 pounds)
  • Wetland (4 pounds)
  • Woods (1/2 pounds)
The mixed seeds are bagged and hung in the barn until time to plant. We aren't planting any new areas this year, so most of the seeds will be used as "fill-in", in areas where we have eliminated invasive shrubs, woodland sunflower, and pale Indian plantain. (See earlier blogs for the story on the sunflower and plantain.) We won't actually plant most of these until after our spring burns are finished.

Also, Kathie spends a lot of time putting aside species for other people. These are seeds that we donate in "trade" for the sweat equity that folks put into seed collecting here at Pleasant Valley Conservancy or in trade for species that are in short supply for us.

In addition to seeds from Pleasant Valley Conservancy, we have another set of collections (45 species) made at and destined for Black Earth Rettenmund Prairie. These will be planted in brush-control areas after next spring's burn.


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