Sarah Browning: Conservation planting takes work | Home & Garden

Conservation plantings of wildflowers and grasses may range in size from a few plants in a home garden, to extensive plantings on a farm or acreage. Usually these plantings are intended to create habitat for butterflies, pollinators, birds or other wildlife. But if the planting isn’t well-maintained, it’s benefits and beauty may decrease over time.

If the planting is small, hand weeding or spot spraying with herbicides can be used to control plant diversity and eliminate weeds. But maintenance is more difficult with large plantings, and it can be difficult for landowners to find accurate information on management of large-scale wildflower and grass plantings. For example, how can grasses be controlled when they take over the planting? Can herbicides be used for weed control without also killing off the native grasses or wildflowers? What herbicides work best and when should they be applied? Can controlled burning be used for weed control? If so, when is the best time to burn?

A great resource I found recently is Conservation Blueprint, a company that helps landowners plan, create and maintain wildlife and pollinator habitats. The company is headed by wildlife conservationist Pete Berthelsen who, before starting Conservation Blueprint, had a 27-year career creating wildlife habitat for Pheasants Forever.

Habitat tip videos

Pete has created a collection of videos discussing many important aspects of habitat plantings and demonstrating good maintenance techniques. Check out the videos below to learn more about maintaining your wildflower and grass habitat. Several of Pete’s videos were made possible through support from the Nebraska Environmental Trust.