Restoration Best Practices: Site Preparation Methods

Welcome to the first post in our new series about best practices in ecological restoration. Through this series we hope to provide an accessible but thorough outline of the most important elements of implementing ecological restoration projects. Nearly everything to do with ecological restoration is complex, and there is still a lot of research being done into best practices, so it is important to keep an eye open for new information. Our goal is to outline the basics, and point you in the direction of more detailed information if you choose to go in depth on any topics.

We are starting our ecological restoration best practices series with a focus on site preparation. The importance of site preparation is often underestimated but can have a huge impact on the success of your restoration project. If you would like to go more in depth into a range of site preparation issues, we highly recommend the Xerces Society “Organic Site Preparation for Wildflower Establishment” document.

Timing

Seeds:

The time of year that you choose to disperse native plant seeds at your restoration site is extremely important. Native plant seeding usually happens either in the fall or spring in the Pacific Northwest. In Southern Oregon, fall is generally the best time to get seeds in the ground, as it gives time for in-ground stratification (cold treatment) and mimics the seeding cycles of most native plants. Early spring can also be a hard time to do site preparation if the ground is too wet, or covered in snow! But spring seeding is still a good option if site preparation is possible and the seeds you are using don’t require a deep winter stratification.

Containerized Plants:

Planting potted native plants is generally best done in the fall to provide time for settling and root growth, but early spring is an option if the ground is not too frozen and supplemental water can be provided if spring rains are not sufficient.

Surveying Your Site

Recording the plants that already exist on your site is a great opportunity to better know the plants, their needs, and ways the native plants can be protected during the site preparation phase of your project. You can just write down a list in a notebook, or keep a spreadsheet where you can update information about shifts in flowering, seeding and other interesting observations you make. It’s also a really good idea to keep a record of any weeds you can identify and get to know their lifecycles, best times of year to work on removing them, and the best practices for how to reduce their impact on your restoration site.

Weed Removal

Inadequate weed suppression can have massive impacts on the success of your ecological restoration project. For most weeds, an important control method is removing or cutting back the plant before it goes to seed. Different weed plants tend to require a variety of removal methods, used in progression. Some of these methods include solarization and sheet mulching, mowing, flame weeding or burning, and selective and careful herbicide (incl. organic) use. To dive further into best practices for removing some of our most detrimental weeds in Southern Oregon, check out these documents:

Solarization and sheet mulching: these methods are best used for smaller sites without steep slopes. Solarization utilizes large sheets of clear UV-stable plastic to cover an area containing weeds for 2-6 months in warmer climates, and up to 6 months in colder climates. Many trials have shown solarization to be an extremely successful method of weed removal, as the heat that builds up under the plastic not only kills plants, but also any weed seed bank that has built up in the soil. Occultation is a variation on solarization, where thick black plastic tarps are used to cut of access to sunlight, and produce large amounts of heat. Sheet mulching is useful in areas that are too shady for solarization to be effective, or in areas where laying out a large piece of plastic is impractical due to landscape features. Sheet mulching involves layering nitrogen and carbon based materials to smother weeds and stop the seed bank from being able to germinate. For example, a layer of nitrogen-based material (eg. animal or plant composted materials, pellets, meals, grass clippings) is then topped with a layer of carbon-based material (eg. cardboard, paper, sawdust, woodbark), and then these layers are repeated 1-2 more times, making sure that a heavier carbon-based material is on top to hold everything down. 

Occultation with silage tarps at Jackson County OSU Extension

Mowing: this can be a very useful tool in ensuring a weed population doesn’t get to produce seed. For most weeds, using a mower or weed wacker to remove any seed heads before they -are pollinated is a fast and efficient way to deplete the plant’s ability to reproduce. That said, it can be hard to time mowing so that the plant doesn’t have the time and energy to enter into the flowering stage again, while also navigating any fire season restrictions on cutting dry grass. This method involves getting to know your weeds and their reproductive cycle well, and should be used in tandem with other weed control methods.

Hand-held flame weeder

Fire: flame weeders are an excellent resource for spring-time weed control. They must be used with great caution and attendance to fire restrictions, but they are an efficient and targeted method for removing weeds without impacting surrounding native plants. If you have a large area that would benefit from prescribed fire, get in touch with your local prescribed fire practitioners to see if there are any opportunities available for this work to be done on your land by trained professionals. In Southern Oregon, The Klamath Siskiyou Oak Network may be able to point you toward prescribed fire resources.

Smother cover crops: in areas where weed pressure is low to moderate, cover crops can be used to smother weed plants. Smother cover crops can also improve soil health and provide temporary forage for wildlife, including pollinators. This technique is best used on farmland or pasture that has access to irrigation and farming equipment. Certain varieties of buckwheat, sorghum, millet, oats, rye and vetch can be planted. Depending on the cover crop planted, they can not only compete aggressively with weeds for space, but also alter the nutrients in the soil and release allelopathic substances into the soil to make it undesirable for weed germination and growth. Timing and duration of the cover crop also varies depending upon species, but is very important to ensure that weed suppression is maximized.  

Herbicides: using synthetic herbicides to control weeds is a very contentious issue, but best practices generally determine that they should be used as a last resort, and in a very targeted and well-planned manner. This is particularly important in riparian zones where herbicides can make their way into the aquatic ecosystem. Herbicides alone are rarely able to control the most problematic weeds, and should be considered part of a regime that involves other weed control methods. There are some organic herbicides available to use, and successful use depends on targeted plant species. For more information it is worth checking out the “Roadside Habitat for Monarchs: Monarch Butterflies, Weeds and Herbicides” and “Organic Pesticides: Minimizing Risks to Pollinators and Beneficial Insects” documents produced by the Xerces Society.

Ground Disturbance

If you are utilizing native seeds in your restoration project, gentle ground disturbance is a useful step to take just before you are set to distribute the seed. It helps the seed penetrate the soil more rapidly and protect it from being washed elsewhere by rain, and from browsing wildlife (birds love seed!).

Site preparation: raking in the Ashland watershed

Raking: this is a great method for restoration projects in woodlands, forest floors, sloped locations and small areas being seeded. Hand raking disturbs the ground enough to allow seed to get into the soil, but doesn’t disturb soil structure or existing native plants as much as more intensive ground disturbance. It also allows you to easily avoid any preexisting native plants that you are trying to protect.

Light tillage: you can also use a small tiller / cultivator to prepare an area for seeding. This is particularly useful in pasture and farmland. If you have a weed issues, this is a method that should be considered carefully, as ground disturbance can expose weed seed banks in the soil to the ideal conditions for growth.

Keep an eye out for our next blog post about best practices in native plant seeding for your ecological restoration project! Don’t forget that we are always updating the Rogue Native Plant Partnership Resources Library with new useful resources for ecological restoration projects – from backyards to woodlands and everything in between!

More Useful Site Preparation Resources

Roadside Habitat for Monarchs: Monarch Butterflies, Weeds, and Herbicides

Author: Xerces Society Date: 2019

Monarch butterflies are in decline in North America, and restoring monarch habitat, including roadsides, is important to the species’ recovery. Monarch caterpillars require milkweed (primarily in the genus Asclepias) to complete their development. A diversity of milkweed species is found on roadsides, and monarchs lay their eggs readily on milkweed plants in roadsides and consume nectar from milkweed flowers.

Roadsides provide more than just milkweed. They can also provide diverse nectar sources to feed adult monarchs and other pollinators—but ensuring that roadsides can continue to provide the best habitat requires some thought and care. This guide highlights best management practices to reduce the impacts of herbicides on monarchs.

Download PDF: Roadside Habitat for Monarchs: Monarch Butterflies, Weeds, and Herbicides (548KB)

Organic Pesticides: Minimizing Risks to Pollinators and Beneficial Insects

 Author: Xerces Society Date: 2018

Organic agriculture generally supports higher biodiversity than conventional management, and organic farms can play an important role in protecting and supporting bees and other beneficial insects in agricultural landscapes. Many organic operations already have good numbers of wild bees, as well as predators and parasitoids that attack crop pests. These beneficial species may provide most or all necessary crop pollination and pest control services when adequate habitat is available and preventive non-chemical pest management practices are implemented.

Unfortunately, however, even pesticides allowed for use in organic agriculture can cause harm to bees and other beneficial insects. There are many considerations when choosing between different pesticide options, including efficacy, specificity, cost, and risks to human health and the environment. This guide provides a brief overview of how to select and apply pesticides for organic farm operations while minimizing pollinator mortality. Many of the practices outlined here for protecting pollinators also can help to protect beneficial insects such as parasitoid wasps and flies; predaceous wasps, flies, and beetles; ambush and assassin bugs; lacewings; and others. The presence of these insects can further reduce pest pressure and the need for chemical treatments.

Download PDF: Organic Pesticides: Minimizing Risks to Pollinators an Beneficial Insects (2MB)

Organic Site Preparation for Wildflower Establishment

Author: Xerces Society

Site preparation is one of the most important and often inadequately addressed components for successfully installing pollinator habitat. These guidelines provide step-by-step instructions, helpful suggestions, and regional timelines & checklists for preparing both small and large sites using:

  • Solarization
  • Smother cropping
  • Repeated shallow cultivation
  • Sheet mulching
  • Soil inversion
  • Organic herbicide applications
  • Sod removal

Download PDF: Organic Site Preparation for Wildflower Establishment (6MB)

RNPP Memorandum of Understanding

Author: Rogue Native Plant Partnership Date: 2019

The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is to formalize the cooperative effort among the Rogue Native Plant Partnership’s member organizations and meet the following goals:

  1. Facilitate a sustainable and reliable supply of native plant materials to federal and state agencies as well as local non-governmental organizations and the public
  2. Streamline the native plant materials procurement process by centralizing seed collection efforts and grow-out contracting among partner organizations
  3. Increase diversity and genetic appropriateness of locally-available native plant materials
  4. Provide technical and financial support to local native plant producers

Download PDF: RNPP Memorandum of Understanding (14MB)

Managing Milkweed Crop Pests: A Native Seed Industry Guide

Author: Project Milkweed Date: 2017

Project Milkweed is a collaboration with the Xerces Society, the native seed industry, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to increase commercial availability of milkweed seed. Since 2010 this partnership has worked to address some of the major production challenges faced by the native seed industry and has expanded commercially viable milkweed production to regions where seed was not previously available.

During Project Milkweed surveys of native seed producers, yield loss from insect pests was consistently the most significant challenge reported. Further complicating the situation is the abundance of monarch butterfly caterpillars, crop pollinators, and predatory insects, all of which are typically found in seed production plots and which are vulnerable to insecticides used for pest control.

Download PDF: Managing Milkweed Crop Pests: A Native Seed Industry Guide (3MB)

Native Thistles: A Conservation Practitioner’s Guide

Author: The Xerces Society Date: 2016

Native thistles are a largely misunderstood and wrongly maligned group of wildflowers. These diverse plants ll a variety of significant niches along more esteemed wildflowers including the cone flowers, prairie clovers, camas, and compass plant. While so many of those native wildflowers have been embraced by restoration practitioners, ultimately finding a place in our gardens and restored natural areas, appreciation for our native thistles never really caught on. is is too bad. With sublime blue-green foliage, interesting stem and leaf architecture, and pink blossoms, our native thistles are every bit as resplendent as countless other native plants.

Download PDF: Native Thistles: A Conservation Practitioner’s Guide (3MB)

Cover Cropping for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects

Author: The Xerces Society Date: unknown

This bulletin will help you use cover crops to encourage populations of pollinators and beneficial insects on your farm while you address your other resource concerns. It begins with a broad overview of pollinator and beneficial insect ecology, then describes cover crop selection and management, how to make cover crops work on your farm, and helpful and proven crop rotations. It will also touch on the limitations of cover crops and pesticide harm reduction, among other topics.

Download PDF: Cover Cropping for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects (727KB)

Collecting and Using Your Own Wildflower Seed to Expand Pollinator Habitat on Farms

Author: The Xerces Society Date: 2016

Native wildflowers are the backbone of pollinator habitat on the farm. Field borders, filter strips, pastures, hedgerows, and other places where wildflowers (and grasses!) grow also provide us with natural pest control by sustaining predators of crop pests. Additionally, these plants help filter runoff from fields, and protect soil from erosion. Despite the benefits that native wildflowers and grasses provide, the cost of seed can be daunting. Fortunately, if you have native plant areas already established, they can provide you with a readily available source for additional seed.

While harvesting seed from existing wildflowers around the farm may not yield huge volumes, it can provide you with the raw material to gradually create more habitat on the farm. By collecting seed from plants already growing on your land, you are also focusing your efforts on species that are known to perform well on your soils. In this document we outline the basic steps of collecting native plant seed using readily available, non-specialized equipment. While our focus is primarily on wildflowers, many of these same techniques can be useful for collecting native grasses as well as seeds from trees and shrubs.

Download PDF: Collecting and Using Your Own Wildflower Seed to Expand Pollinator Habitat on Farms (2MB)

November Native Plant of the Month: Rubber Rabbitbrush

11/12/19 – RNPP has started writing a new Native Plant of the Month column for the Rogue Basin Partnership newsletter! You can find the full RBP October newsletter here, and our Native Plant of the Month Column copied below.

Native Plant of the Month: Rubber Rabbitbrush

Rubber Rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa) is a small perennial shrub that grows in a wide variety of harsh habitats from the west coast all the way to Texas and North Dakota. In the Southern Cascades you can still see the last of its flowers in November, but its prime flowering season is August-October. It’s bright and prolific yellow flowers are a very abundant source of food for pollinating insects and birds, and the leaves are an important winter food for browsing mammals.

Rubber Rabbitbrush is an excellent revegetation plant in disturbed areas, as it propagates easily and grows fast in a range of poor soil conditions. It also thrives in dry environments, making it a great choice for xeriscaping (landscapes designed to reduce or eliminate the need for irrigation). It is often found growing in desert-like habitats alongside sagebrush – both of which are in the Asteraceae (sunflower) family. Its deep growing roots also make it very useful for stabilizing ground prone to erosion or damaged by mining.

Ethnobotanical uses of the plant include making a yellow dye from the flowers, using the rubbery stems in basket making, and making tea and chewing gum. As its name suggests, it can actually be used to make rubber from the plant’s sap. Rubber production potential varies depending on the growing conditions, but it is known to produce more rubbery sap in dryer, hotter conditions.

Taxonomy fact: the “nauseosa” species name relates to the pungent smell the plant gives off when the leaves are rubbed. Some say it’s a pineapple-like aroma, while it’s more foul and rubbery to others.

 

Establishing Pollinator Meadows From Seed

Author: The Xerces Society Date: 2015

To boost healthy populations of both wild resident bees and managed pollinators, the single most effective action you can take is to plant native wild flower habitat. This tangible course of action can be accomplished by anyone at any scale. The process behind establishing a wild flower-rich pollinator planting from seed consists of five basic steps:

  • Site selection
  • Site preparation
  • Plant selection
  • Planting techniques
  • Ongoing management

The steps outlined in this document are applicable to plantings that range in size from a small backyard garden up to areas around an acre.

Download PDF: Establishing Pollinator Meadows From Seed (2MB)

Farming For Bees: Guidelines for Providing Native Bee Habitat on Farms

Author: The Xerces Society Date: 2015

The purpose of these guidelines is to provide information about native bees and their habitat requirements so that farmers can manage the land around their fields to provide the greatest advantage for these crop pollinators. These guidelines will help growers and conservationists:

  • understand how simple changes to farm practices can bene t native pollinators and farm productivity;
  • protect, enhance, or restore habitat to increase the ability of farmlands to support these bees; and
  • ultimately increase a grower’s reliance upon native bees for crop pollination.

Making small changes to increase the number of native pollinators on a farm does not require a lot of work. Subtle changes in farm practices can involve identifying and protecting nesting sites and forage, choosing cover crop species that provide abundant pollen and nectar, allowing crops to go to flower before plowing them under, or changing how pesticides are applied in order to have the least negative impact on bees.

Download PDF: Farming For Bees: Guidelines for Providing Native Bee Habitat on Farms (3MB)

Why Grow And Sell Native Milkweed?

Author: Monarch Joint Venture Date: unknown

Milkweed plants (family Asclepiadaceae) are the only food source for monarch butter y caterpillars. However, milkweed has severely declined in North America due to drastic changes in land use or management, like agriculture and development. Milkweed losses and other stressors are associated with declines in migratory monarch butterflies over the past 20 years [1, 6, 7]. To compensate for the loss of milkweed, gardeners across North America are helping monarchs by planting native species of milkweeds, and by keeping milkweeds safe from pesticides.

Download PDF: Why Grow and Sell Native Milkweed? (839KB)

A Guide to the Native Milkweeds of Oregon

Author: The Xerces Society Date: 2012

Five species of milkweed are native to Oregon. This guide includes profiles of the four most common species, all of which are used as a larval host plant by the monarch butterfly.

Asclepias cordifolia (purple milkweed, heartleaf milkweed)
Asclepias cryptoceras ssp. davisii (Davis’ milkweed)
Asclepias fascicularis (narrow-leaved milkweed)
Asclepias speciosa (showy milkweed)

A profile of each of these species includes descriptions of flowers, leaves, and seed pods, accompanied by photos and distribution maps. Supporting these profiles is a simple guide to identifying milkweeds based on their distinctive flowers and fruits.

October Native Plant of the Month: Vinegarweed

(10/11/19) – RNPP has started writing a new Native Plant of the Month column for the Rogue Basin Partnership newsletter! You can find the full RBP October newsletter here, and our Native Plant of the Month Column copied below.

Native Plant of the Month: Vinegarweed

While walking through open grassy woodlands and prairies during late summer, you may have encountered a strong smell of minty vinegar on the breeze, and maybe even heard the hum of insects that eagerly congregate on the annual herb commonly known as Vinegarweed. The attractive purple flowers are an important late summer pollen source for many insects, with flowers known to bloom into October.

This sun-loving herb is quite shade intolerant, and prefers dry soils below 2,200 ft between Washington and Baja California. It is known to have phytotoxic properties that prevent other plants from growing happily around it. This could make it an excellent plant for competing with invasive herbs. It is also unlikely to be palatable to browsing animals due to its highly fragrant oils. Seeds mature and can be collected in late fall, and sown directly (raked into soil) in fall or early spring.

Vinegarweed is known to be highly medicinal, and has been used by west coast tribes for many healing purposes, including for treatment of colds, throat inflammation, headaches, infected sores and aching teeth.

The species name Lanceolatum means “lance-shaped”, which relates to the shape of Vinegarweed’s leaves. It’s always nice when the scientific name relates to the plant’s appearance! Its lovely little purple flowers are also a great way to identify the plant, but the easiest way to identify Vinegarweed by far is its powerful fragrance – you can’t miss it!

USDA Plant Guide: https://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/cs_trla4.pdf

Reducing Phytophthora

Authors: Parke, Jennifer (OSU) Date: 2010

Phytophthora species are some of the most problematic plant pathogens in nursery production systems. The quarantine pathogen Phytophthora ramorum has received the most notoriety, but many Phytophthora species pose a challenge for nursery growers.

These pathogens cause trouble because of their persistence and spread in infested soil and water, and their ability to attack a wide variety of plants. Some species cause root rot, whereas others cause foliar blight and shoot dieback. Several species can infect plant parts both above and below the ground.

In collaboration with Niklaus Grünwald and Val Fieland of the USDA-ARS Horticultural Crops Research Laboratory, Carrie Lewis and I (Oregon State University) recently completed a three-year project to determine the most common sources of Phytophthora contamination in nurseries. We applied a systems approach to identify three critical control points in nursery production systems: contaminated soil/gravel beds, contaminated irrigation water, and used pots. Another potential source of Phytophthora spp., not included in our study, is nursery stock brought in from off site.

So what is the take home message for growers? Here are the top 10 practical tips for nursery growers:

Download (PDF): Reducing Phytophthora (2MB)

Restoring huckleberry habitat as a cultural resource

On September 26th a large group of volunteers including Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians members, Forest Service and BLM employees and Rogue Native Plant Partnership volunteers converged on a recently burnt area just outside the town of Prospect in the High Cascades to help replant 1500 mountain huckleberry (Vaccinium membranaceum) plants.

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The area was burned during the 2017 Broken Lookout fire. The well-established plants were grown by the Forest Service’s nursery in Dorena from seed fortuitously collected onsite only two weeks before the Broken Lookout Fire started. This project is a collaboration between the Forest Service, the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians and the Rogue Native Plant Partnership to restore an important cultural food resource.

It was a brisk but beautiful day up in the mountains, and after a smudging ceremony led by members of the Cow Creek Tribe, everyone got their planting equipment ready and hiked into the burn area to get huckleberries into the ground. In addition, monitoring plots were surveyed as part of a multi-year effort to obtain data that will help develop an understanding of the success of the replanting efforts.  There are still 8000 more plants to go in the ground, with that work being completed by contractors at the time of writing.

Huckleberries continue to be an incredibly important cultural food resource for Native Americans, and so many community members and government agencies coming together to support the replanting efforts is a powerful acknowledgement of understanding the huckleberry’s cultural significance. Thank you to everyone who came out for this great replanting effort!

AUTHOR:

Lilia Letsch
Rogue Native Plant Partnership

 

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Collecting milkweed seedpods for local pollinators and landowners

Ten Rogue Valley community members come together at the Forest Service’s J. Herbert Stone Nursery in Central Point to volunteer for a milkweed seedpod collecting event on September 9th. Even with a decent breeze sending the seed fluff (known more officially as “coma”) flying everywhere, we still managed to collect large amounts of both narrowleaf milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis) and showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) seed pods. The beds of narrowleaf and showy milkweed have been funded by the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the seeds will be used in special seed mixes being prepared for landowners to enhance pollinator habitat on private lands in the region.

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Milkweed is a fantastic perennial flowering herb that is much loved by many pollinators, including the at-risk Monarch butterfly. Not too long-ago milkweed was an incredibly widespread plant, but has been eradicated in many areas in favor of agricultural crops, and now faces a lot of competition from introduced invasive plants. Luckily it is an easy plant to grow, and efforts are being put into introducing it back into the landscape on a broader scale. It couldn’t happen soon enough for the Monarch!

Many thanks to all of the volunteers who came out to help collect milkweed seeds and contribute to important pollinator habitat restoration!

Interesting taxonomy fact: In 1753, Swedish Botanist Carl Linnaeus named the genus Asclepias after Asclepius, the Greek god of healing.

AUTHOR:

Lilia Letsch
Rogue Native Plant Partnership

 

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Restoring disturbed ground on Mt Ashland with native forbs

June 2nd, 2019

We had a fantastic day on Mt Ashland on June 1st, working with a group of volunteers to plant out 4,500 native plant plugs in an area next to the Mt Ashland lodge that was recently disturbed by heavy machinery. Thanks to the folks at the Mt Ashland Ski Lodge for helping organize volunteers and providing snacks and drinks for everyone!

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The plants were grown by Silver Springs Nursery in the Applegate, from seed that we collected in 2018 on Mt Ashland. The species that were planted out included Oregon Sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum), Coyote Mint (Monardella sheltonii), Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Roemer’s Fescue (Festuca roemeri), Squirretail grass (Elymus elymoides) and Sulphur Buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum). Once grown in, these plants will create a beautiful meadow of wildflowers and native bunch grasses, and great habitat for pollinators and birds!

Post-planting care will involve regular watering for the first year, and ensuring that the area is cordoned off from the public so that the small plants won’t be damaged under foot. We look forward to monitoring the survival rate and growth of these plants, and enjoying the first flush of wildflowers next spring.

Thanks to the amazing volunteers!

AUTHOR:

Lilia Letsch
Rogue Native Plant Partnership

 

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Growing plants for seed production at Long Shadow Fields

April 25, 2019

Long Shadow Fields in Talent is one of a handful of local farms working with the Rogue Native Plant Partnership to develop a new model of native forb seed production. Seed for native forbs – herbs, and grasses – can often be hard to come by in the amounts required for local ecological restoration projects. Growing such plants out for seeds is often cost prohibitive due to the amount of time it can take for plants to develop to the flowering stage, and the amount of labor required to harvest the seed. But through a non-profit / small farm partnership, we are hoping to alleviate the risks and pressures of growing native seed for restoration projects in the Rogue Basin.

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Gary Kliewer at Long Shadow Fields grew a selection of native herbs and forbs from seeds that RNPP supplied from our wild seed harvesting events. A volunteer planting event was organized to help get a lot of the small native herbs in the ground. RNPP will continue to support Gary’s native seed production through volunteer labor, funding through grants, and technical support from a network of other experts in the Pacific Northwest.

The volunteer planting event on April 24th was a great success, we planted hundreds of native plugs and did some great networking and knowledge sharing. Thank you so much to everyone that came and helped! Keep an eye open for future events at Long Shadow Fields and other local farmers we are working with to grow regionally adapted native herbs and grasses for ecological restoration projects happening in our community.

Planting Wyethia into straight rows for ease of mechanical weeding.

AUTHOR:

Lilia Letsch
Rogue Native Plant Partnership

 

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Yellow Starthistle Management Guide

Authors: Ditomaso, J.M., Kyser, G.B. and Pitcairn, M.J. Date: 2006

Details historical information, ecological impacts, biology and ecology, mechanical, cultural, chemical and biological control, and how to develop a management plan for eradication of yellow starthistle.

Download (PDF): Yellow Starthistle Management Guide (8 MB)

Field Guide for Managing Yellow Starthistle in the Southwest

Author: Forest Service Date: 2014

Yellow starthistle is an invasive plant that has been listed as a noxious weed in Arizona and New Mexico. This field guide serves as the U.S. Forest Service’s recommendations for management of yellow starthistle in forests, woodlands, rangelands, and deserts associated with its Southwestern Region. The Southwestern Region covers Arizona and New Mexico, which together have 11 national forests. The Region also includes four national grasslands located in northeastern New Mexico, western Oklahoma, and the Texas panhandle.

Download (PDF): Field Guide for Managing Yellow Starthistle in the Southwest (2 MB)

 

USDA Web Soil Survey

Web Soil Survey (WSS) provides soil data and information produced by the National Cooperative Soil Survey. It is operated by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and provides access to the largest natural resource information system in the world. NRCS has soil maps and data available online for more than 95 percent of the nation’s counties and anticipates having 100 percent in the near future. The site is updated and maintained online as the single authoritative source of soil survey information.

Visit website: USDA Web Soil Survey

The Woody Plant Seed Manual

Authors: Bonner, F.T. and Karrfalt R.P. (eds.) Date: 2008

The major audience for this book, as for its two predecessors, is those who are involved in the growing and planting of trees and shrubs. Their involvement can be collection and sale of seeds, production of nursery stock (both bare- root and container), or planting itself. Planting for commercial forest production is the traditional mainstay of tree planting, but planting for wildlife food, watershed protection, urban environmental improvement, ornamental enhancement, wetland mitigation, and carbon sequestration are all on the increase. Ecosystem management, now commonly used in the management of many federal and other governmental forest lands, has decreased the use of planting to regenerate the forests and has increased the role of natural regeneration. Those who apply these practices will find this book useful also in the data on flowering and seed production. Although the book is not intended to be a detailed textbook on seed ecology and physiology, there is sufficient scope and depth to the material included to make it useful to anyone who studies seeds.

Download (PDF): The Woody Plant Seed Manual (21MB)

Use of Mycorrhizae for Native Plant Production

Author: St. John, T.

The mycorrhizal symbiosis is well known, but not yet in widespread use in the com- mercial nursery trade. The often-cited mycorrhizal growth response is in not the most signi cant mycorrhizal effect. Instead, the important effects are performance in the eld and improved nutrition and disease resistance in the nursery. These bene ts may be of use in meeting regulatory requirements related to fertilizer runoff and pesticide use. A nursery mycorrhiza program requires modi cation of some current practices and careful choice of appropriate fungi.

Download (PDF): Use of Mycorrhizae for Native Plant Production (120KB)

Techniques to Determine Total Viability in Native Seed

Author: Vivrette, N.

The deep dormancy exhibited by seeds of many native plants can lead to the under estimation of total viability in laboratory tests. Pre-treatment of dormant seeds with gibberellic acid to break dormancy prior to testing for germination or total viability can give a more accurate assessment of seed quality.

Download (PDF): Techniques to Determine Total Viability in Native Seed (93KB)

Seed Germination and Storability Studies of 69 Plant Taxa Native to the Willamette Valley Wet Prairie

Authors: Guerrant Jr., E.O. and Raven, A.

Seeds of 69 taxa native to the Willamette Valley, Oregon were subjected to four germination treatments: two under ambient late winter into summer environmental conditions (untreated (fresh) seed or dry and frozen seed) and two in controlled environment chambers (some seed was cold stratified at 5°C then placed in a 10°C/20°C chamber, other seed was placed in 10°C/20°C chamber then moved to a 5°C/15°C chamber). At least 93% of the taxa tested can tolerate desiccation and frozen storage.

One third of the taxa had a maximum mean germination above 80% in at least one of the four germination treatments, 55% of the taxa had a maximum mean germination rate between 10% and 80%, and only 12 % of the taxa had less than 10% germination. A total of 88% of the taxa had their highest germination in one or both of the two treatments, fresh and cold stratification.

Download (PDF): Seed Germination and Storability Studies of 69 Plant Taxa Native to the Willamette Valley Wet Prairie (267KB)

 

Salvaging Plants for Propagation and Revegetation

Author: Buis, S.

Salvaging native plants is the act of rescuing plants from a construction or disturbance site before they are destroyed. We have not found salvage to be a cost effective method for obtaining most of the plants we sell in our nursery or use in our own projects. However, we do sometimes salvage plants, either to obtain plants that are dif cult to propagate, to increase the genetic diversity of plants in our nursery, because they are unusual species that we don’t have access to otherwise, or to preserve plant genetics on a disturbance site for future replanting. Factors important to consider in salvaging plants include species, size, site access and soil type, whether to use hand or mechanical techniques, time of year, available crew, etc.

Download (PDF): Salvaging Plants for Propagation and Revegetation (275KB)

Ruminations and Ramblings About Native Plant Propagation

Author: Landis, T.D.

Native plant nurseries face different challenges than traditional forest and conservation nurseries. They must educate their customers to the practical limitations of propagating native plants such as the poor availability of seeds or vegetative propagation material. The unusually long amount of time to collect propagules, treat seeds or cuttings, and grow the seedlings emphasizes the need for crop planning well in advance of the outplanting date. The concept of “source-identified, locally-adapted” planting stock must continually be stressed when dealing with native plant customers. New products mean new markets so nurseries should try to produce a range of species and stock types and show them to prospective customers. Native plant nurseries and customers should establish networks to better exchange information. Although there are few incentives to do so, both nurseries and seedling users should strive to share techniques about collecting seed and cuttings, seed treatments, and cultural techniques. Attending professional meetings and presenting propagation and outplanting information is one of the most effective ways to network. Publishing propagation protocols on the Internet is an exciting new way to share technical information.

Download (PDF): Ruminations and Ramblings About Native Plant Propagation (313KB)

Propagating Native Grass Seed and Seedlings

Author: Steinfeld, D.

J. Herbert Stone Nursery produces over 20,000 pounds of native grass seed annually from 36 species endemic to public lands in the western states. Nursery seedbeds are established from wild seed collections. Each collection (referred to as seedlot) is grown separately from other seedlots of same species to prevent cross pollen contamination. Sowing, culturing, harvesting and storage practices for seed and seedling production are discussed. Methods and strategies for achieving successful restoration projects using native grass seed and seedlings are also addressed.

Download (PDF): Propagating Native Grass Seed and Seedlings (202KB)

Genetic Studies in Native Plants

Author: Hipkins, V.

The genetic variation contained within a species is paramount for its survival and future evolution. Species exhibit a large range in their levels and patterns of genetic variation. This range in population structure is basic to the use and conservation of genetic diversity in plants. In order to understand, conserve, and manage plant populations, it is necessary to measure the levels of genetic variation within a species. We have at our disposal a variety of estimation tools. These tools provide information about plant identity, taxonomy, hybridization, parentage and mating systems, and levels and structure of genetic diversity. Genetic information can be used to guide restoration and revegetation projects, conservation concerns, and seed transfer movement. Our role at NFGEL is to conduct laboratory genetic tests and provide information to land managers so that they may better utilize and manage plant species.

Download (PDF): Genetic Studies in Native Plants (209KB)

Extraction and Germination of Pacific Madrone Seed

Authors: Harrington C.A., Lodding, C.C., and Kraft J.M. Date: 1999

Pacific madrone (Arbutus menziesii) seeds can be extracted and cleaned in a procedure which utilizes a mortar and pestle, a blender with a rubber blade, and several sieves. The method involves several steps but is not difficult and can result in a large amount of seed in a short period of time. Following extraction, the seeds can be dried and stored at low moisture content (6%) in sealed containers at 3-5°C or given a cold strati cation treatment and then sown. Cold stratification periods of 60 days or longer increased the initial rate of germination compared to seeds stratified for 40 days but resulted in seed losses due to premature germination during stratification. For lots from the Puget Sound Lowlands, cold stratification for 40 days is adequate; seeds in stratification longer than 40 days should be monitored closely for premature germination.

Download (PDF): Extraction and Germination of Pacific Madrone Seed (150KB)

Native Plant Network Propagation Protocols

Author: Native Plant Network (various authors)

The Native Plant Network is devoted to the sharing of information on how to propagate native plants of North America (US, Canada, Mexico and the Pacific Islands). Search the database for extensive details on how to propagate different plants, or scroll through alphabetically.

Visit (website): Native Plant Network Propagation Protocols

Guide to Placement of Wood, Boulders and Gravel for Habitat Restoration

Author: ODF/ODFW Date: 2010

This guide has been developed to facilitate the placement of large wood, boulders and gravel in a manner consistent with these principles and regulations in Oregon. These techniques, when done independently or in conjunction with other restoration activities, increase the channel complexity and diversity of habitat necessary to help restore and support a healthy aquatic ecosystem.

Download (Word): Guide to Placement of Wood, Boulders and Gravel for Habitat Restoration (4MB)

Restoring Rare Native Habitats in the Willamette Valley

Author: Campbell, B. Date: 2004

This guide is organized by the four priority habitat types: oak woodlands; wetlands; bottomland hardwood and riparian forests; and grasslands and prairies. A brief discussion of each habitat is followed by restoration considerations and techniques. References or sources of information are denoted by superscript numbers that refer to entries in the bibliography. Restorationists wishing to obtain additional information or delve more deeply into a topic may want to review these references.

Download (PDF): Restoring Rare Native Habitats in the Willamette Valley (2MB)

Restoring Oak Habitats in Southern Oregon & Northern California

Authors: Klamath Bird Observatory & Lomakatsi Restoration Project Date: 2014

This landowner guide describes how to apply conservation practices for Oregon white oak and California black oak habitats on private lands in southern Oregon and northern California. The document first discusses the importance and history of oak habitats and then provides detailed conservation guidelines for oak habitat restoration. Also, the guide includes supplemental resources for the restoration- minded private landowner, including a list of organizations that will assist with private lands restoration as well as step-by-step instructions for monitoring birds on your land to track the return of wildlife following oak restoration activities.

Download (PDF): Restoring Oak Habitats in Southern Oregon & Northern California (4MB)

A Landowner’s Guide for Restoring and Managing Oregon White Oak Habitats

Authors: Vesely, D. and Tucker, G. Date: 2004

The primary purpose of this Guide is to encourage private landowners to conserve, and when appropriate, actively manage Oregon white oaks that already exist on their property, and consider planting additional oaks. In the early chapters of the Guide, we describe some of the uses and benefits of this remarkable tree in hopes of motivating landowners to take action. An introduction to the ecology of the Oregon white oak is included so the reader can better understand how management practices are founded on aspects of the tree’s biology. Later chapters are designed to help landowners develop land management goals and understand the process of natural resource planning.

Download (PDF): A Landowner’s Guide for Restoring and Managing Oregon White Oak Habitats (7MB)

Caring for Streams: Conserving, Restoring and Enhancing Stream Habitat in Southern Oregon

Authors: Illinois Valley Soil & Water Conservation District, and Illinois Valley Watershed Council Date: 2012

If you live in the Illinois Valley, chances are you live close to a river or stream. These waterways natural beauties and are part of what makes our area such a great place to live. However, living next to a stream is not always a “walk in the park.” Our waterways require our attention—sometimes, during high water, they demand it! Flooding and erosion are concerns for many landowners. This booklet has been designed to offer suggestions about things you can do ahead of time to ensure your stream stays healthy and problem-free. Sometimes, the best defense is often a good offense. We hope you will gain some ideas about how to take care of rivers and streams on and near your land.

Download (PDF): Caring for Streams: Conserving, Restoring and Enhancing Stream Habitat in Southern Oregon (1MB)

Oregon Riparian Assessment Framework

Author: Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board Date: 2004

The purpose of this document is two-fold: to provide guidance for 1) assessing riparian conditions, functions, processes, and management or project actions; and 2) tracking changes in riparian characteristics over time. With vegetation as the key variable of interest, this document focuses on three critical areas in developing a riparian assessment framework: the importance of planning; data collection methods to assess riparian conditions, functions, or processes; and analysis to support project evaluation. Understanding the entire process of assessment, from the reasons for doing an assessment to the interpretation of information, is essential for the success of any riparian project and is critical for effective implementation of the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds.

Download (PDF): Oregon Riparian Assessment Framework (1MB)

Guide to Native Riparian Trees and Shrub Planting

Author: Kubeck, G.

A concise guide to planting native riparian trees and shrubs, including when to plant, how to plant, planting bailed or burlapped trees or shrubs, planting from containers, planting bare-rooted trees and shrubs, maintaining plants to healthy maturity, and riparian planting spacing guidelines.

Download (PDF): Guide to Native Riparian Trees and Shrub Planting (65KB)

Managing Himalayan Blackberry in western Oregon riparian areas

Author: Bennett, M. Date: 2007

Listed as a noxious weed in Oregon, Himalayan blackberry rapidly occupies disturbed areas, is very difficult to eradicate once established, and tends to out-compete native vegetation. For those trying to restore or enhance native streamside vegetation, Himalayan blackberry control is a major problem.

This publication discusses the biology of Himalayan blackberry, its effects on riparian functions, and strategies for managing Himalayan blackberry specifically in riparian areas.

Download (PDF): Managing Himalayan Blackberry in western Oregon riparian areas (MB)

Controlling Himalayan Blackberry in the Pacific Northwest

Author: Soll, J.  Date: 2004

This guide to Himalayan Blackberry includes information on species description, origin and habitat, reproduction and basic ecology, ecological threat, and details a variety of control methods.

Download (PDF): Controlling Himalayan Blackberry in the Pacific Northwest (252KB)

Plants of the Rogue Valley

Author: North Mountain Park Nature Center Date: 2012

This booklet is an introduction to the North Mountain Park Nature Center’s interpretation of regional plants. It explores local plant communities, human plant use, and the impact of use upon the local environment. The term “local” refers to the Rogue Valley of southwest Oregon, with an emphasis on the Ashland area.

This booklet is not meant to be a technical work but rather is to be used by educators and others seeking an introduction to the topic of local plants. We hope that readers of this booklet will be inspired to use this information to help make decisions that will enhance the livability of the Rogue Valley for its people, plants and wildlife now and in the future.

Download (PDF): Plants of the Rogue Valley (2MB)

A Guide to Riparian Tree Planting in Southwest Oregon

Authors: Bennett, M. and Ahrens, G. Date: 2007

This publication is a step-by-step guide to riparian tree planting in interior southwest Oregon, including Jackson and Josephine counties and the noncoastal portions of Douglas County. Compared to other parts of western Oregon, this area experiences hotter, drier summers, and lower annual precipitation, which poses unique challenges for the survival and growth of riparian plantings. While some details apply mainly to this region, the principles discussed are broadly applicable to tree-planting projects in riparian areas throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Download (PDF): A Guide to Riparian Tree Planting in Southwest Oregon (2MB)

A Guide to Riparian Tree and Shrub Planting in the Willamette Valley: Steps to Success

Authors: Withrow-Robinson, B., Bennett, M., & Ahrens, G. Date: 2011

This guide describes six steps to help landowners, watershed council members, agency personnel, and others communicate about, plan, and implement successful riparian tree and shrub plantings in the Willamette Valley:
1. Plan your project.
2. Select and obtain plant materials.
3. Prepare the site.
4. Plant your trees right.
5. Take care of the planting.
6. Monitor and learn from results.