Using a diverse seed mix is the key to establishing a successful Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) project on your land.
CRP practices like grass and tree establishment, as well as permanent wildlife habitat, filter strips, and riparian buffers, can all have significant positive impacts on the environment. These practices, when utilized effectively, can reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, provide wildlife and pollinator habitat, and more.
A successful establishment starts with your seeds. But why, exactly, is it important to use a mix of CRP seeds, rather than growing a single species?
Establishes native species
A good CRP seed mix should include a mix of species native to your area. Native plants are ideal for growing on your land because they have evolved and adapted to your region over long periods of time.
As a result, they are already acclimated to your local weather and growing conditions. The nutrients they need are readily available to ensure a fast germination and growth period. Plus, native plants help enhance the local native wildlife habitat.
By using a seed mix including native species, you can take advantage of these significant benefits on your land.
Benefits pollinators and other wildlife
With a mix of seeds, you are providing benefits to important pollinators and other wildlife in your area. Some plants provide sustenance to wildlife, while others provide critical shelter and nesting materials.
Different pollinators require different plants for pollination and nutrition. For instance, some pollinators can only see certain colors, so they are only attracted to flowers with those colors. Your seed mix should contain multiple species with various colors to attract a diverse species of pollinators.
Additionally, there are three blooming periods: April-May, June-July, and August-October. For best results, your seed mix should include 3 or more different species for each bloom period. The more diverse a mix of seeds you grow, the greater number of pollinators you will attract during these different periods.
Since pollinators are critical for the growth of more than ¾ of the world’s flowering plants and 35% of its food, diverse seed mixes help safeguard the planet’s food supply.
Increases the chance of successful seeding
Using a seed mix, including a diverse array of native vegetation, increases the likelihood of a successful seeding. Since native species are already adapted to your region, they are more likely to germinate and grow on your land.
In addition, a seed mix optimized for successful germination through stratification, scarification, and seed cleaning can be especially helpful for a fruitful seeding. These techniques are used on seeds to speed up and improve the germination process.
Provides long-term stability
A diverse mix of seeds helps your CRP project remain stable over the long term. Annuals and biennials germinate, flower, and die within 1-2 growing seasons, while perennial species return year after year.
Since CRP contracts are typically 10- to 15- years long, most CRP seed mixes use perennials, along with some biennials. This allows farmers to spend less time on new growing cycles every single year. They are also low maintenance and self-seeding, which reduces the need to replant each year.
By including a combination of these types of seeds in your mix, you are strengthening the stability of your land, ensuring diverse vegetation for the future.
Need help selecting a quality seed mix?
Clearly, there are serious benefits to using a seed mix when planting your CRP project. But deciding on the right seed mix for your needs, region, and CRP requirements can be a challenge.
Especially if you’re new to the program, we recommend consulting with a professional to determine the ideal seed mix for your land and contract specifications.
At All Native Seed, we have been designing high-quality seed mixes to help farmers and CRP participants establish more than 370,000 acres of grasses and forbs since 2003. We have the knowledge and experience to provide you with the perfect seed mix for your project.
Contact us to learn more about how we can help you with your CRP seed mix today.