At Blooming Prairie Nursery, we pride ourselves in setting the standard of excellence for maintaining prairies. Prairies aren’t your average gardens and they need special attention that varies depending on size, soil, wind and sun exposure. We specialize in helping large-scale prairies thrive in their first years of development. City governments, local businesses and conservationists have all come to rely on our expertise for installation and maintenance.
Blooming Prairie Nursery installs a full spectrum of prairies from short grass, to Iowa’s most common, the tall grass prairie. Our nursery houses more than 200 species of grasses and flowers that will create a stunning prairie-scape on any type of land. A prairie’s success relies heavily on proper preparation and installation. Blooming Prairie follows a thorough three-stage process to make sure the seed, grasses and flowers thrive.
- Land Evaluation
Measure the area, identify water sources and watershed
- Soil Profile
Look for clay and organic content
- Plant Consultation
Discuss preferred types of prairie flowers that will work with the sites sun exposure and environment.
Site Testing Results
Site-testing may result in any of the following service recommendations in addition to your prairie installation.
• Soil quality restoration
• Erosion control
• Black dirt or compost additions
• Woodchip mulching
• Bio-retention landscaping
Burning, spraying and mowing prairies are critical to a new prairie’s survival. Blooming Prairie Nursery maintains prairies around Iowa by providing controlled burning, spraying for weeds and mowing one to two year old prairie plots. Prairie maintenance is vital for the first five years of your prairie’s life. It’s very important to take care of your land in the beginning to ensure the long term stability of the prairie flowers and natural ecosystem. Our family noticed a gap in the market when it came to maintaining prairies and witnessed a number of plantings wither away. In 2011, we expanded our services to include professional prairie spraying, mowing and burning to support these beautiful habitats. Without the proper maintenance, weeds will takeover, early succession trees will invade and your prairie will soon become comprised. Contact Blooming Prairie to take care of your prairie maintenance needs.
Controlled burns are one of the best management practices since they remove dead vegetation allowing for new regrowth and destroy non-native species and their seeds that aren’t deep rooted or fire tolerant like our native varieties. We recommend burning your prairie once a year for the first five years. Burning varies location-to-location depending on each town’s regulations. After the permits have been secured, Blooming Prairie will assess the burn site and develop a burn plan. The burn plan details how trees will be protected and where fire breaks will be mowed to manage the fire.
Spraying Noxious Weeds
Ideally, weeds are sprayed after a burning, around May when the bi-annual plants are in the rosette stage. Perennial weeds, such as Canada Thistle, are sprayed during the summer months when they are in their pre-bud to bloom stage. Prairies are spot-sprayed, so chemicals don’t kill new flowers. Spot spraying eliminates noxious weeds (bull thistle, wild parsnip, and sour dock) and should be done in the Spring, Summer and Fall or at least three times a year.
Improper mowing, too frequently or infrequently can stunt the prairies growth, even when the weeds are being properly sprayed. A new prairie planting should be mowed in its first year when vegetation is 4 to 6 inches tall. Annual weeds will easily outgrow prairie flowers for the first two years. Mowing helps cut back noxious weeds and gives prairie flowers the opportunity to grow. Each year throughout the first growing season, you must mow whenever the vegetation reaches 4 to 6 inches. Mowing during the second and third years should be on a need basis if spraying is not an option.