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First Year Native Seedings

June 10, 2020

By: Dave Riddell

 *Most of you have probably talked to Dave on the phone at one time or another and we finally convinced him to write for the blog! Be on lookout for answers to your more technical questions!

This time of year, we get a lot of questions about how to manage areas that were planted the previous fall, winter or spring. All the tips given in this blog pertain to freshly seeded areas only. Established native plant communities have a different timeline for growth and likely have different management techniques. Native plants take their time waking up the first growing season from seed. Typically, native plants begin to emerge from late-May to mid-June. The first growth are cotyledons emerging from seed embryos. Please note all cotyledon growth looks the same until the plants get taller and start to produce their leaves and stalks. In June, these cotyledons from the native species you planted are likely scattered all over your seeding area with other plant growth from the existing seed bank mixed in. So, how do you manage the area to give the native species the best chance to grow and prosper?

It is important to have a plan and understand when it is time to be patient and when it is time to act. This time of year, it is best to be patient. Walking on the site to cut or pull plants will likely cause more damage than the benefits removing the undesirable plants will achieve. With that said, there are always circumstances where you may need to remove certain species based on the type of plant and density. But for most plantings, let them go. The cotyledons are very susceptible to being smashed or uprooted which may kill the plant that was going to grow. There will be plenty of opportunities to get your hands dirty as we get later in the summer; I promise. For now, grab a cold beverage and be patient!

I'll be back in a few weeks to discuss what to do next.

First Year Native Seeding Example

*Please note each site is unique and several factors can affect overall growth at this stage. Those include sunlight, hydrology and overall soil health.

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