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Living Landscapes in North Dakota:                                    A GUIDE TO NATIVE PL ANTSCAPING“Helping People Help ...
Why is Native                                                                                                             ...
What is Xeriscape™?Xeriscape (pronounced zeer-i-scape)is derived from the Greek word,xeros, meaning “dry.” Denver Waterhol...
P LANNING           Before any digging, trenching, or post-driving, contact North Dakota CAUTION           One-call. North...
Topsoil. The growth rate and health of            Organic Soil Amendments. All soil textures may not be ideal for landscap...
D ESIGN                      Incorporate wildflower and native grass planting for                       interest and to re...
Rules of Thumb                                                                                                            ...
S ITE P R EPAR ATIONS       ite preparation methods, sequence, and timing are important considerations to achieving landsc...
2      Maintaining or Improving Soil Quality                                                         3       Removing Unwa...
C HOOSING THE R IGHT G R ASSES AND W ILDFLOWERS                                                                           ...
Plant Types                                                                                  Wildflowers                  ...
G R ASSES                                                                                                                L...
Grasses for Ground Cover and Lawns                                                                                        ...
Accent grasses in fall color                                                                            G R ASSES         ...
ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping
ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping
ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping
ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping
ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping
ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping
ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping
ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping
ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping
ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping
ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping
ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping
ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping
ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping
ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping
ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping
ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping
ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping
ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping
ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping
ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping
ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping
ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping
ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping
ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping
ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping
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Transcript of "ND: Living Landscapes - A Guide to Native PlantScaping"

  1. 1. Living Landscapes in North Dakota: A GUIDE TO NATIVE PL ANTSCAPING“Helping People Help the Land”Natural Resources Conservation ServiceUnited States Department of Agriculture August 2006 August 2006
  2. 2. Why is Native Landscaping Important? Native landscaping provides an attractive, environmentally TABLE OF CONTENTS friendly landscape while reducing water and maintenanceWhy is Native Landscaping Important? .............................................................. 1 requirements. Do you want a beautiful yard, garden, school,Planning ................................................................................................................ 3 park, or parking area? Try a Xeriscape™ with native plants!Design................................................................................................................... 5Site Preparation.................................................................................................... 7 T he information in this publication will help you select and grow native plantsChoosing the Right Grasses and Wildflowers .................................................... 9 that are naturally adapted and will thrive for years under extreme environmentalGrasses ............................................................................................................... 11 conditions of North Dakota. This booklet provides an overview of native landscaping principles and practices. It integrates the principles of reduced water,Wildflowers ......................................................................................................... 15 energy, and chemical usage; wildlife habitat enhancement; and invasive weed management. Native plant, in the context of this booklet, means native to NorthChoosing the Right Trees and Shrubs .............................................................. 17 Dakota, with a few exceptions.Trees and Shrubs ............................................................................................... 19Water Conservation ............................................................................................ 23Maintenance ....................................................................................................... 25Plant Protection .................................................................................................. 27Planning for Wildlife ........................................................................................... 29Rain Gardens ..................................................................................................... 31Energy Conservation ......................................................................................... 33Weeds and Invasive Plants ................................................................................ 35“To Do” List ........................................................................................................ 37About this Publication ...................................................................... Back Cover “Fargo Xeriscape Gardens” is a popular urban demonstration of Xeriscape principles and landscapes incorporating native plants. Planting areas display “Moderate Water Use,” “Low Water Use,” and “Very Low Water Use” plants. Living Landscapes in North Dakota: A GUIDE TO NATIVE PLANTSCAPING 1
  3. 3. What is Xeriscape™?Xeriscape (pronounced zeer-i-scape)is derived from the Greek word,xeros, meaning “dry.” Denver Waterholds the trademark on the term.It is the wise use of water throughwater-efficient landscaping and theutilization of plants better adapted tolocal climatic and soil conditions. Theword Xeriscape conjures up visionsof a dry, desert-like landscape when,in fact, its focus is how to landscapeappropriately in areas with seasonal Narrow grass strips (left) can result in poor water management. A water-efficient,water supply shortages. A Xeriscape low maintenance alternative landscape features hardier plants in “low water use”design uses less water to sustain landscape zones.plant life and provides year-roundbeauty. Xeriscape and Native Plant Benefits Steps to Success Economic1. Develop a plan and landscape This colorful blazing star brings design • Lower water and maintenance costs beauty to landscapes. It attracts2. Soil analysis • Enhanced real estate values3. Select appropriate plants butterflies and other wildlife • Increased survival of plantings4. Manageable lawn size species, and is significant to Native • Edible and/or decorative products5. Efficient irrigation American culture.6. Mulch plants and seedings7. Practice regular maintenance Native prairie wildflowers and grasses Black chokeberry: berries used for making wine and jelly are excellent alternatives to traditional Environmental • Improved water and soil conservation landscaping. They are less expensive to • Reduced use of petroleum products maintain than turf, require minimal rainfall, • Improved air quality/carbon sequestration and are attractive all year long. Generally, • Enhanced urban wildlife habitat • Reduced storm water runoff only 50 percent of an existing lawn is actively used. Turf is the highest water-user and requires the most labor in a traditional Butterfly garden landscape. Reducing the amount of turf Quality of Life will save time and money. Consider using aAs one of five national Xeriscapes, the City of • Attractive year-round landscapeFargo projects that up to 50 percent savings can • Increased wildlife viewing warm-season alternative turf grass, such asbe achieved in home water usage. Fargo studies • Connect with nature blue grama or buffalograss. These grasses aresupport other study sites indicating potential • Decreased mowing different from normal lawns. They are slowersavings of nearly 30 percent in maintenance andlabor, 61 percent in fertilizers, 44 percent in fuel, to green in the spring, quicker to go dormant inand 22 percent in herbicides and pesticides. the fall, and require less mowing. Big bluestem: fall color 2 Why is Native Landscaping Important?
  4. 4. P LANNING Before any digging, trenching, or post-driving, contact North Dakota CAUTION One-call. North Dakota Century Code 49-23 requires anyone who engages in Steps to Planning any type of excavation, with certain exemptions, anywhere in North Dakota, to provide notice of at least 48 hours in advance (excluding weekends and 1 Consider family interests and needs members, List the outdoor activities and interests of family holidays) to North Dakota One-Call. This system is established to notify all including pets. North Dakota underground facility operators of intended excavation. Contact North Dakota One-call at 1-800-795-0555 or visit www.ndonecall.com. 2 Analyze the site Understand the resources: climate, soil characteristics (as determined by a North Dakota One-Call 1-800-795-0555 soil test), slope and aspect, topsoil depth, and stability. Identify limitations such as potential flooding or inundation. Identify native plants/plant communities present on the site. 3 Develop and evaluate alternatives Visualize an initial landscape design that meets your objectives. Consider each of the following when formulating the conceptual plan: Site. Is it wetland, riparian, or upland? Can topsoil be salvaged? Should the site be left alone due to potential flooding, bank erosion, or mass soil movement? Plants. Are the plants adapted to the site? Consider managing to restore native plant vigor rather than removal and replanting. Identify desirable native plants and ensure they are not damaged during construction and site preparation. Evaluate how the landscape design, site preparation, and planting will affect future maintenance. Function. Do the plants meet your objectives for aesthetics, conserving energy, and reducing maintenance time and expense? 4 Establish budget and timetable Will all the landscaping be put in place at one time or will it progress in phases over several years? How much will be spent and when? 5 Save or remove existing landscaping All desirable vegetation should complement future plantings. All unwanted vegetation should be entirely removed, either mechanically or chemically. all e-c On 6 Solve from roof andidentified in the sitein a rain garden. Are there problems analysis ND Runoff driveway can be utilized st existing rocks that could be used in the landscape design? Mulches can Co type? conserve water and protect soil surfaces from erosion. soil 7 Implement plan Order seed, nursery stock, and materials in a timely manner. Plan construction activities to avoid soil compaction and harm to desired vegetation. Use mulch or other suitable measures to prevent erosion during construction and establishment period. 8 Monitor and maintain landscape and weed competition. Ensure Check and protect plants from pest damage adequate soil moisture.Living Landscapes in North Dakota: A GUIDE TO NATIVE PLANTSCAPING 3
  5. 5. Topsoil. The growth rate and health of Organic Soil Amendments. All soil textures may not be ideal for landscaping and Site Inventory and Assessment landscape plants are directly related to garden beds. Two alternatives are available. One, plant site adapted vegetation which Planning and design begin with soil quality. Salvage topsoil prior to any may limit species selection, or two, add organic soil amendments that will improve a thorough site inventory and excavation to secure a desirable material water-holding capacity (sandy soils) or improve aeration and drainage (clayey soils). assessment of the following factors: for plant growth. A minimum of 6 inches of Organic amendments include peat moss, compost, processed bark, and animal good quality topsoil is recommended for manures. Spread this material evenly over the surface and incorporate to a depth of 2 turf; 12 inches for trees. This encourages to 4 inches. The general rule is to incorporate no more than 3 cubic yards of organic Current and Historic Land Use deeper rooting and provides an organic material per 1,000 square feet per year. This equals about 1 to 2 inches of organicHow has the property been used or rich environment for plant growth. Ideal material.altered in the past? Are there cultural soil textures are fine sandy loam, loam, orresources buried or on the surface silt loam.that should be saved? What level ofcleanup will be necessary? These areimportant considerations before entering Clay feels Clay feels sticky when sticky whenthe next landscape phase: design, site wet wetpreparation, plant selection, and planting. Vegetative InventoryNative species thrive in harmony with their CLAYenvironment. These relationships should Sand Sand feels feelsbe recreated as closely as possible for coarse coarsesuccessful native landscaping. Look and andaround and see what plants exist on the gritty gritty LOAMsite or a similar site nearby. Do they grow Ripping the compaction layer improvesthere as part of a natural plant community root growth and water movement. Silt feels Silt feelsor were they introduced? Identify the silky smooth silky smooth SAND SILT when wet when wetplants and determine if they are annual or Soil Tests. In landscape settings, soilperennial. testing is valuable to establish a baseline Loam is a combination of all these Loam is a combination of all these on soil pH, salt levels, and the need forIdentify and control weeds prior to nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassiumplanting activities. Chemical, biological, Climate fertilizer. The accuracy of a soil test ismechanical, or hand-weeding are all influenced by the laboratory analysis Climate of the Northern Great Plains is extremely variable and unpredictable. Nativeviable options. but may be influenced even more by the plant communities have adapted well to these extremes. quality of the sample. Refer to NDSU Soil • USDA Plant Hardiness Zones. The Plant Hardiness Zone map divides the United Extension Bulletin SF-990 for samplingSoil is the most important component States into zones based on average minimum temperature. It should be used to instructions.of landscaping. Many well-designed determine plant species adaptation to cold. (See page 6.)landscapes have failed because of • Elevation/Topography/Aspect/Hydrologic Regime/Landform and Landscapeinadequate soil preparation before Position. These elements influence the length of the growing season, number ofplanting. frost-free days, wind, sunlight, snow cover, soil depth, and other factors. LandscapeCompaction is a significant problem in position and microclimates around structures can modify growing conditions.new developments due to the activity of Riparian areas, wetlands, and subirrigated sites offer unique opportunities for plantheavy equipment during construction. diversity.Compacted layers severely limit root • Precipitation. Timing of seasonal precipitation dictates water availability which isgrowth and water movement. This an important element when establishing and maintaining plants on a site.problem should be corrected by rippingor deep tillage before the addition of • Wind. High wind speed exposes plants to moisture desiccation. Warm chinooktopsoil or planting. winds can falsely lure trees and shrubs into breaking bud, making them vulnerable Quality topsoil is the basis for quality landscapes. to winter kill. Winter-hardy plants must be selected to avoid damage. 4 Planning
  6. 6. D ESIGN Incorporate wildflower and native grass planting for interest and to reduce the amount of lawn mowing. Locate vegetable gardens with sunlight, access, aesthetic views and moisture in mind. Locate utility buildings close to gardens and other areas needing equipment. Incorporate out-buildings by blending into the landscape. Place groupings of trees and shrubs together in naturalistic patterns for visual Maintain usable lawn areas convenient for use. screens and windbreaks. Reduce the amount of lawn to mow by sizing for the amount that will be used. Place tree and shrub groupings in commonmulch beds to reduce the amount of mowing. Screen objectionable views with carefully selected and placed trees and shrubs. Flower and foliage color can vary greatly depending on the selected plant species/varieties. The color Place utility obstructions out of lawn and into common mulch beds. chart can be used as a general guide Collect runoff from downspouts into rain gardens. Utilize Place plants in areas that would normally be plants that tolerate occasional standing water. Locate away when selecting plants with colors unusable “dead space.” Select plants for from house so water cannot seep into basement. amount of sunlight and moisture. Place foundation plantings with mulch to help improve consistent that contrast or complement. moisture conditions surrounding the house foundation. Designs are a personal preference by Extend planting beds around air conditioners and other utilities to remove them from mowable areas. the designing landscaper. Locate trees away from overhead power lines. Know the ultimate size of the tree. Extend planting bed edge around trees where possible so trees will have to compete less with lawn. Create pockets of interesting landscaping using plants with varying shades of seasonal color and contrast. Preliminary Designs Plant material is assigned to a space by specific characteristics or function. Important and large-sized plants or PLAN VIEW Considerations for a typical residential landscape plan groups of plants are located first. Trees, mass plantings, and stand-alone gardensI are examples. Actual dimensions of nformation gathered in the site inventory is used to diagram existing conditions and identify functions of various patios, sidewalks and other hard surfaces spaces. To better visualize how things appear, drawings and/or design plans are developed to assure that each may be represented. space gets specific attention and to determine relationships between spaces. The number of steps, or preliminarydrawings, necessary to complete a landscape design is dependent on the size and scale of the project and the amount stay back from fenceof detail incorporated at each stage of the process. Concept Plan juneberry Landscape Design Sequence Individual shapes begin to take on a 3 to 6 ft y cherr Green Ash chokteo 6 ft 18to 35 ft parking area greater level of detail, and relationships 3 Bubble Diagram between spaces evolve. Large areas such as prairies, parking lots, lawns, and Completed PlanIt is important to identify areas with scenic water features should be considered The completed plan specifies the identity, residencedifferent maintenance requirements. water view first. Smaller areas and shapes, such location, and proper spacing of all plants.Use simple shapes to represent features as planting beds, decks, and walkways It contains all the information necessaryor conditions such as a dog kennel, RV should be integrated in and around the to implement and install the landscape.parking, turf area, perennial garden, sun patio larger areas. The diagram at the top of Construction drawings may be necessaryexposure, or views. this page is an example of a concept for building or installing other elements in plan. the design.Living Landscapes in North Dakota: A GUIDE TO NATIVE PLANTSCAPING 5
  7. 7. Rules of Thumb BOTTINEAUTo the casual observer, the prairie grass and wildflower landscape may beperceived as an unkempt lawn. Steps can be taken to promote the introduction of a RUGBYprairie landscape into the traditional neighborhood. WILLISTON MINOT DEVILS LAKE• Provide one or two strips mowed lawn between the desired prairie landscape GRAND FORKS and sidewalks and your neighbor’s lawn. This will lessen the abruptness of the taller grasses that observers may not be accustomed to seeing.• Talk to your neighbors before installing the prairie landscape. Discuss the beauty, uniqueness, reduced maintenance and water needs, and other benefits JAMESTOWN of the prairie landscape. VALLEY CITY BISMARCK FARGO• Provide naturalistic curves to the outside edge of the prairie landscape through DICKINSON the use of mowed strips or visible edging.• Keep the selection of grasses and wildflowers simple. A short-statured mix of cool- and warm-season prairie grasses and a few selective species of wildflowers WAHPETON will keep the design simple and pleasing to the eye.• Control weeds. The residential prairie landscape is not maintenance-free, but maintenance may be easier with fewer plant species. USDA HARDINESS ZONES• Consider other design elements such as a naturalistic stone outcropping, Average Annual Minimum Temperature ornamental woody plants, a dry creek bed, or sculptures. Degrees Fahrenheit• Along borders, place short-statured plants in front and taller plants in the back. Zone 3a (-35 to -40)• The width of a perennial border should be proportionally about one-third the height of the background. Zone 3b (-30 to -35) Map source: American Horticultural Society• In island planting beds, place taller plants near the middle and decrease height Zone 4a (-25 to -30) Coordinated by Dr. H. Marc Cathey, President Emeritus, and toward the edge. The most pleasing effect is achieved if the bed is twice as wide USDA-ARS, Washington, D.C. Zone 4b (-20 to -25) as the tallest plant.• Place plants according to their needs for sun, water, and soil condition. Eye Grabbers• Arrange plants so they are visible and colorful throughout the year. Do Don’t Group 3, 5, or 7 plants together Scatter single plants here and there• Space plants based on mature size. • unifying • spotty and confusing• Consider surroundings in design. Use plant Match plant size to available space Incorporate many big trees on a small lot screens or barriers as necessary for privacy. • proper scale • overpowering• Recognize maintenance issues. Accent with fall color and leaf color Plant large plants too close to house• Try different plant material as long as it is • cheery • structural damage recommended for the site. Water-loving aspens and dogwoods receive extra moisture because Vary size, spacing, and diversity Plant if unable to maintain• Don’t be afraid to experiment. of their placement in the graveled • interesting • time-consuming runoff area. 6 Design
  8. 8. S ITE P R EPAR ATIONS ite preparation methods, sequence, and timing are important considerations to achieving landscaping goals. Site preparation includes (1) retaining desirable trees and vegetation, (2) maintaining or improving soil quality, (3) removing unwanted vegetation, (4) preparing seedbed, (5) transplanting, and (6) seeding grass and forbs. 1 Retaining Desirable Trees and Vegetation Careful planning can prevent inadvertent loss of desirable vegetation. Stockpiled soil can suffocate vegetation within a few days. Stockpiled building materials may TIP: ee roots Remember, tr trap solar heat and destroy vegetation in a few hours. Herbicide drift, leaching, or translocation in soil can destroy existing trees and vegetation. Residual herbicides e tree in the soil could negatively impact, or kill trees and vegetation for days or years after application. extend from th tance trunk for a dis Additional practices that are detrimental to tree health and development include: eightReclamation of equal to the h • Trenching through tree roots to asabandoned railroad of the tree, up • Removing soil from over the root system of the tree times much as threeright-of-way along • Adding soil over the root system (As little as 1 inch of clay spread on top of theurban bike path. Topsoil e tree.and site preparation roots of a mature tree can cause it to decline.) the height of thare the most important • Physical injury to tree trunks or limbsparts of a successful • Traffic on root systems causing compactionXeriscape planting. • Tilling deeper than 1 to 2 inches over the root area Grasses and forbs can also be damaged through: • Disturbance of topsoil • Compaction Stockpiled soil or construction materials can kill sod – a very real loss if it is native. Tree roots cut during excavation cause a tree to decline and die.Living Landscapes in North Dakota: A GUIDE TO NATIVE PLANTSCAPING 7
  9. 9. 2 Maintaining or Improving Soil Quality 3 Removing Unwanted VegetationMaintaining soil quality is important for sustaining healthy plants, reducing erosion, Herbaceous vegetation can be effectively Spraying herbicideand improving nutrient and water use efficiencies. If topsoil is removed during controlled with herbicides or repeatedconstruction, it should not be mixed with subsoil, and should be carefully stockpiled tillage. Note that repeated tillage mayfor resurfacing landscape planting areas. A minimum of 6 inches of topsoil is trigger water and wind erosion on manypreferable for growing most plants. There may be a need for additional organic matter sites. Bare sites should be replanted orfor some soils. Utilize soil sampling/soil test kits and the professional services of your covered with mulch as soon as possiblelocal plant nursery, garden center, or NDSU Extension Service to assist with soil to control erosion and reduce weedquality needs. infestations. When using herbicide control, select herbicides that:Construction and landscaping activity and other factors may result in soil compaction, • Are labeled for use in North Dakota.and therefore, inhibit root growth and water absorption. To test for soil compaction,dig into the soil. A shovel should penetrate easily in undisturbed soil that has good • Effectively destroy the targetstructure and porosity. The soil should crumble and flake apart easily. Soil compaction vegetation, including the toughermay be alleviated by: invasive plants• Incorporating organic matter into the top 6 inches of the soil (well-rotted manure, • Have no carryover soil residual activity straw, compost, grass clippings, leaves, peat moss, processed bark, etc.) Consult the NDSU Extension Service• Reducing traffic impact on the soil by limiting the number of trips and using for site-specific herbicide application lighter equipment information.• Waiting for wet soils to dry before tillage 5 Transplanting 4 Preparing Seedbed A wide variety of native shrubs, trees, and forbs are available through commercial sources. For a variety of reasons, avoid harvesting plant materials found in the “wild.”Before seeding disturbed sites, allow settling to occur. Watering may help settle thesite, but too much or too fast will increase compaction or cause erosion. Transplanted roots should be kept moist at all times but not stored in water. TheGrass seeding requires a firm seedbed. Firming can be accomplished by an planting site should be moist but not wet. Place plants at the depth grown in theimplement such as a harrow, roller-packer, ATV or vehicle tires, or foot traffic. When nursery. Fine lateral roots should be in the top 1 to 2 inches. Water as needed the firstwalking across a firm seedbed, an adult footprint should not sink over ¼ to ³/8 inch. year to keep root zone moist to touch. 6 Seeding Grasses and Forbs Plant grass seed ¼ to ½ inch deep. Seeding can be accomplished by broadcasting or using a grass drill. Grass drills effectively control seeding depth and provide even seed distribution. However, they may leave visible drill rows. Broadcast seeding is an effective seeding method, and will not leave visible drill rows. When broadcasting seed, spread half of the seed in one direction and the rest in another, to avoid gaps. When seeding is completed, rake, drag, or harrow to cover the seed with soil. To promote even germination, cover the seeded site with sterile mulch (clean straw, mulch, grass clippings, etc.). The soil surface should be kept moist (not wet) until seeds germinate. Water as needed to keep root zone moist. A grass drill has depth bands to ensure thatRoller packing before seeding grass is a key to success. grass seed is placed at the correct depth. 8 Site Preparation
  10. 10. C HOOSING THE R IGHT G R ASSES AND W ILDFLOWERS Tag Ti ps: Scien tific L of on atin n e a for ex or two wo me ample rds, lewis , Linu ii. m “Zone i.e., 3 ” numbers , adap means be Purple tation tter temp eratu to colder coneflower, res th a native Sun, an 4. partia wildflower, Mature Mature shade l sun, purple coneflower purple coneflower sunlig tell you th or is grown e and sold and c ht requirem o ents at many place rrect ment nurseries. lands in the cape . Wate r in inc requireme h shou es per ye nts Plant Attributes and Features ld a local fit natura r When selecting plant species, consider contrast, harmony, and precip l, amou nts. itation boldness to provide variety throughout the year. Allow ample room for growth as the plant matures. Know the life-span of your plants. Perennial - lives three or more years, resuming growth each growing season from overwintering buds above or below ground. Plant AdaptationPlants naturally adapted to survive in local environmental conditions should be Biennial - requires two growing seasons to complete their lifeselected. cycles; germinating and remaining vegetative the first year, then flowering, fruiting, and dying in the second year.• Choose reputable nurseries and garden centers. Many choose and grow native and introduced plant material that is adapted to the area. Consider their replacement Annual - completes its life cycle within one growing season and policy. Guarantees usually vary from 6 months to 1 year from purchase. must reproduce from seed each year.• Select plants adapted to the correct USDA Plant Hardiness Zone. The “zone” will be listed on the tag or label. The lower the number, the more adapted it is to Nature’s Defenses colder temperatures. In North Dakota, depending on your location, the zones In nature’s low-water environments, look for attributes considered range from 3a to 4a. Species, as well as varieties within the species, need to be natural defense mechanisms for conserving water. adapted. Varieties or cultivars originating from milder southern climates often have different day length and length of growing season requirements, and lack of winter • Hairy, sticky, or wavy leaf surfaces deflect wind and channel water hardiness. droplets. • Short, narrow, incised leaves have smaller surface area and lose• Research a plant’s adaptation using the two-word scientific Latin name for the less water to evaporation. species. It is more universal than a common name. Common names vary in time, • White or silvery-colored leaves reflect the sun’s rays and modify leaf place, and culture. temperatures.• Though plants from the wild are adapted, digging for home landscaping use is • Spines, prickles, and aromatic foliage defend against loss of stem not recommended. Extensive root systems often make digging and transplanting tissue and moisture from hungry, thirsty predators. unsuccessful. It is also illegal in many areas. When gathering seed, consider • Small, less showy flowers with little or no fragrance attract less viability and propagation requirements. Seed quality is often poor in the wild. Many attention from predaceous insects and grazing animals. species require special conditions and treatments for germination. Knowing these needs is essential for successful establishment from seed.Living Landscapes in North Dakota: A GUIDE TO NATIVE PLANTSCAPING 9
  11. 11. Plant Types Wildflowers Wildflowers vary greatly in size, shape, color, bloom season, and duration of bloom. Grasses Knowledge of these characteristics will help to choose and coordinate plantings that provide interesting color throughout the entire growing season. Some wildflowers require direct sunlight for 6 to 8 hours per day. As sunlight decreases, plant height and bloom size decrease.Prairie dropseed is a bunchgrassPrairie dropseed is a bunchgrassBuffalograss spreads by stolonsBuffalograss spreads by stolons Little bluestem used as an accent plant Little bluestem used as an accent plantGrasses can be used in a landscape as an accent plant or a ground cover. Grasses Black-eyed susan Purple coneflowercan be compact and tufted, erect in bunches, creeping on the ground’s surface, orspreading as sod. Height varies from ground-hugging to several feet tall. Dependingon their time of growth, they are considered either warm- or cool-season species.• Cool-season species green up early and actively grow during the cool, moist periods of the year such as from spring until mid-summer.• Warm-season species begin growth in early summer and remain active until mid- autumn. In the fall, they often have attractive, colorful foliage.Sweetgrass for culturalSweetgrass for culturalgardeninggardening Native Plant Attractions • Fragrance Blue flax Blanketflower • Herbal and medicinal qualities • Color • Bloom schedule • Shape and texture • Natural habitats recreated • Winter landscape appealMonarch on blazing star bloomMonarch on blazing star bloom Yarrow Shell-leaf penstemon Purple prairieclover 10 Choosing the Right Grasses and Wildflowers
  12. 12. G R ASSES Lawns Suggested Native Grassland The use of native grasses for a manicured Seeding Mixtures lawn involves the same site preparation PLS lbs/acre* and establishment techniques as with a Tallgrass Prairie (warm-season) Kentucky bluegrass lawn. The seeding big bluestem 25% ................. 1.9G rates are increased [250 Pure Live (Andropogon gerardii) rasses can bring texture and softness into a landscape design. A wide diversity of native grasses provides endless opportunities for adding color, Seeds (PLS) per square foot] to ensure Indiangrass 25% .................. 1.8 an assortment of sizes and shapes, and offers relatively low maintenance. a dense, solid stand. Depending on the (Sorghastrum nutans)Favorable characteristics of most native grasses include low water and fertility amount of water applied to a site (natural switchgrass 25%................... 1.1requirements. They reach their ultimate size quickly, have a high resistance to insects or supplemental), the plant density (Panicum virgatum)and diseases, and generally can fend for themselves. will eventually adjust to that which the sideoats grama 25% ............. 1.9Native grasses in landscaping can include a broad range of uses, i.e., ground cover, site can maintain. Mulching and early (Bouteloua curtipendula)monoculture manicured lawns, individual accent or specimen plants, and prairie or supplemental water will help ensure a Mixed Prairiemeadow restoration. good initial stand. Rhizomatous species western wheatgrass 10% ..... 1.0 will continue to fill in the open spaces, (Pascopyrum smithii) but bunchgrass stands may develop green needlegrass 20% ....... 1.5 gaps if the initial establishment is sparse. (Nassella viridula) Although the emphasis of this publication is on native species, there are some little bluestem 40% ............... 1.8 (Schizachyrium scoparium) introduced grasses that, because of their drought tolerance and low maintenance, sideoats grama 30%............. 2.3 (Bouteloua curtipendula) can be used for manicured lawns. Shortgrass Prairie (warm-season) Prairie/Meadow blue grama 40% .................. 1.0 (Bouteloua gracilis) In some suburban areas and particularly sideoats grama 40%.............3.0 in rural settings, a person may want toSheep fescue is a long-lived bunchgrass. Blue grama has “eyebrow” seed heads. (Bouteloua curtipendula) restore large areas to native prairie or meadows, blending a residence into buffalograss 20%..................5.2 (Buchloe dactyloides) a natural setting. To restore a natural plant community, there are several Wet Meadow Ground Cover establishment options: 1) seed general switchgrass 40%................... 1.8 (Panicum virgatum) Grasses that spread by rhizomes, mixtures of grasses and wildflowers, stolons (above-ground runners), or using most of the species you want Canada wildrye 30%.............2.3 in your end product; 2) seed simple (Elymus canadensis) tillers are prime candidates for ground cover and site stabilization. Steep slope mixtures and interplant to increase western wheatgrass 20% .....2.0 stabilization, however, may require diversity; or 3) transplant all plants to (Pascopyrum smithii) structural stabilization prior to plant spacing and composition desired. Once prairie cordgrass 10% .......... 0.7 establishment. Initial weed control established, native prairies or meadows (Spartina pectinata)Winter color of Buffalograss is critical until the cover plants are require minimal maintenance, spot * drilled rate, double if broadcastlittle bluestem in stolons cascade established well enough to shade out or weed control, and early spring residuenew snow. down a rock face. crowd out any unwanted plants. management.Living Landscapes in North Dakota: A GUIDE TO NATIVE PLANTSCAPING 11
  13. 13. Grasses for Ground Cover and Lawns Seeding Rates for Pure Stands Lawns1 Prairie Planting2 Life Soil Preference lbs. PLS lbs. PLS Drought3 Trampling3 Mowing3Species Varieties Form Sandy Loamy Clayey per 1000 sq ft per acre Tolerance Resistance Tolerance RemarksCOOL-SEASON (Native)western wheatgrass Rodan rhizomatous X X 2 10 Moderate Good Good forms open sod, bluish(Pascopyrum smithii) Rosana in colorthickspike wheatgrass Critana rhizomatous X X X 2 8.5 Good Fair Fair finer leaved than western(Elymus lanceolatus) Bannock wheatgrass, good seedling Schwendimar vigor, western half ND onlystreambank wheatgrass Sodar rhizomatous X X X 2 8.5 Good Fair Fair similar to thickspike, good(Elymus lanceolatus) seedling vigor, western half ND onlygreen needlegrass Lodorm bunchgrass X X 1.5 7.5 Moderate Fair Fair best in a mix with other(Nassella viridula) AC Mallard cool-season grassesCOOL-SEASON (Introduced)crested wheatgrass Hycrest bunchgrass X X X 1.5 7 Excellent Good Good good drought resistance(Agropyron cristatum)sheep fescue Covar bunchgrass X X .5 2 Good Fair Good fine-leaved, competitive(Festuca ovina) Bighorn with other plants and weedshard fescue Durar bunchgrass X X .5 2 Good Fair Good fine-leaved, short stature,(Festuca trachyphylla) difficult to mowperennial ryegrass Adapted bunchgrass X X 1.5 7 Moderate Good Good better soils, medium longevity(Lolium perenne) varietiesCanada bluegrass Reubens rhizomatous X X X .5 1 Moderate Good Good will form sod, but not as(Poa compressa) Talon dense as Kentucky bluegrass FoothillsRussian wildrye Mankota bunchgrass X X X 1.5 7.5 Excellent Good Fair excellent drought resistance(Psathyrostachys juncea) Bozoisky-SelectWARM-SEASON (Native)blue grama Bad River bunchgrass X X X .5 2.5 Excellent Excellent Good short stature, infrequent mowing,(Bouteloua gracilis) late green-up, easy to establishbuffalograss Bowie stoloniferous X X 6 26 Good Excellent Good short stature, infrequent mowing,(Buchloe dactyloides) Cody late green-up, slow to germinatesideoats grama Pierre bunchgrass X X X 1.5 7.5 Moderate Fair Poor tallest of grama grasses,(Bouteloua curtipendula) Killdeer good seedling vigor1 Seeding rates for lawn are figured at approximately 250 PLS per square foot; 2 Seeding rates for a prairie grass stand are figured at approximately 40 PLS per square foot;3 Rating scale: Excellent - Good - Moderate - Fair - Poor 12 Grasses
  14. 14. Accent grasses in fall color G R ASSES Buying Seed Much of the grass utilized in native landscaping will be established from seed. The buyer must be aware of what he/she is buying, both in terms of quality and what undesirable material may be in the seed lot. All seed sold in North Dakota is required to meet certain standards; i.e., the seed lot can’t have more than 1 percent weed seed and must be totally free of certain noxious weeds. By buying certified seed you are guaranteed that it is indeed the species and variety/cultivar as labeled, meets minimum purity and germination standards, and specific limits on the amount of weeds and other crops allowed. Purchase seed on PLS basis. What Should A Seed Tag Tell You? Seed tags vary in layout and design from state to state, Number assigned to the but all have generally the same information. Accent/Specimen Grasses production field by the state certification agencyAccent or specimen grasses areindividual plants or clusters that arespace-planted, usually with weed barrier Common name of plant speciesand bark, gravel, or decorative rockmulching. These types of plants are best akota Germinationestablished using containerized plant Cultivar or variety name N orth D arck, determined bymaterial transplanted in desired spacing Bism 30 enter, : A13 a standard laband patterns. Many of the warm-season rials C n No. : 1 analysis Mate catio No.and tall statured grasses are used Plant Certi Lot .00 % e d By: n: 80because of their fall colors and attractive Percentage of Label inatio 0 % tem Germ ): 9.0 Seed that didn’tseedheads, with secondary advantages bulk material Blues d Seed 89.00 % germinate but : Big ancy ( Harof wildlife food and cover. Specimen that is actually Kind : Bison Dorm ation: was determined y .35 % erminplants may require some fall/winter or seed of tagged Variet : 97 otal G to be alive with Purity % Tearly spring maintenance to remove dead species 02.64 /05 Tetrazolium (TZ) ter: 02/09plant material and unwanted plant litter. t Mat 00.00 % : test Iner eed : Tested #The bunchgrass varieties of grasses are Percentage by weight S % Date 50 Crop .01 of stems, dirt, insect Other d : 00 #ideal for specimen plantings because We ed See er Net W t . parts, etc. Total : 0pthey do not spread, retaining their d Seedindividuality in a space-planted design. Res . Wee ota Total viability h Dak IN : Nort ‘Badlands’ little bluestem ‘Badlands’ little bluestem ORIG Date of the Pure Live Seed—PLS accents a butterfly garden accents a butterfly garden Percentage of other grass most current is determined by or agronomic crops germination test multiplying total State or foreign germination by purity country where and dividing by 100 grown. If the origin is unknown, Percentage of weed seed that fact must be ( 97.35 x 89 = 86.64 ) 100 stated. meaning that 86.64 Restricted weeds expressed as percent of this bulk number/pound (varies by state). material is actually If prohibited seeds are present, viable seed of the the seed can’t be sold. tagged species.Living Landscapes in North Dakota: A GUIDE TO NATIVE PLANTSCAPING 13
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