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CRP Acres To Benefit Bobwhite Quail and Other Upland Birds

This is a joint news release from the DNR and the USDA.

IOWA RECEIVES AN ADDITIONAL 10,500 CRP ACRES TO BENEFIT BOBWHITE QUAIL AND OTHER UPLAND BIRDS

MEDIA CONTACTS: For more information, contact Vickie Friedow, FSA, at (515) 254-1540 ext 440; Todd Bogenschutz, DNR, at (515) 432-2823; or Mark Lindflott , NRCS, at (515) 284-4370.

DES MOINES – Iowa producers can enroll up to 10,500 additional acres of cropland into the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to benefit upland game birds and other small birds.

“The program is designed to provide much needed habitat and brood rearing areas for quail, pheasant and songbirds in the state,” said Todd Bogenschutz, a wildlife biologist with the DNR. “At the same time, set aside programs protect the most vulnerable land from soil erosion and improve water quality for everyone.”

The additional acres were announced by the U.S.D.A. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack at the national Pheasant Fest in March. Producers can sign up at any time at their local U.S.D.A. Farm Service Agency. However, the sign up is “first-come, first-served,” according to Vickie Friedow, of the Farm Service Agency’s conservation and compliance department. “With a limited number of acres available, I would encourage anyone who is interested to contact their local U.S.D.A. office as soon as possible” she added.

Eligible areas include cropland and cropland around the edges of existing grain fields. The average width of the enrolled area must be between 30 and 120 feet wide. At least half of the field must be in crops. To be eligible, the land must have been cropped or considered cropped for four of the six years from 1996 to 2001.

Producers will not be able to enroll land that is used for turn rows, roads, or for storage of crops or equipment. In addition, cropland adjacent to a stream filter or buffer strip is not eligible.

Annual payments will be based on the average rental rates for the county. A combination of cost-share and incentive programs will pay up to 90 percent of the cost of establishing the field border. A sign-up bonus of $100 per acre is available. Contracts run for 10 years.  Enrolled areas must be seeded to a combination of native plants including at least four grass species and a combination of at least five wildflowers and legumes.

For technical assistance, landowners can contact their local U.S.D.A. Service Center (http://www.fsa.usda.gov/ia/) or their local DNR or Pheasants Forever private lands biologists (http://www.iowadnr.gov/wildlife/privatelands/index.html).

Producers can contact their local U.S.D.A. Office for more information

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Q&A On Establishing a No/Mow Low/Grow Lawn

No Mow Low Grow Grass

Mowing

How often can they mow it for a manicured lawn look and does this have any detrimental effects on the lawn?   Usually within 6 weeks.  How often can they mow it for optimum lawn performance?  Is once per month adequate?  Once per month should be adequate if mower is adjusted to 4” height.  It can, however, be mowed just like a normal lawn if desired.  If you prefer not to mow, the lawn will take on a beautiful low, soft meadow appearance.

Sowing rate and procedure
What is the recommended seeding rate and the best installation procedure?  Our site contractor said it will most likely be machine broadcast with straw mulch placed on top.   They have stripped the topsoil, stockpiled it and will be respreading it in all lawn seeded areas.

Seeding the Low/Grow No/Mow Lawn

Seedbed Preparation: Till the soil approximately 6 inches deep. Level with garden or landscaping rake. Surface may be firmed by rolling or soaking, then re-raking till level. Leave top ½ inch loose to allow seed to be worked into soil.

Fertilization: Prior to or right after seeding, apply a starter fertilizer to help proper root development. Continue using a systematic fertilizer program to maintain a healthy lawn.

Seeding: Sow seeds evenly at 7-10 lbs/1,000 square feet. Rake lightly into soil. No more than 1/8 inch of soil should cover seed. Roll with a water roller.

Covering: Use blankets, pelletized or paper mulch, or straw to hold soil moisture and hasten germination. Baled straw may bring in unwanted weeds; use with caution.

Watering: Do not allow soil to dry out. Keep soil moist with frequent light watering until seedlings are visible. After lawn is established, water as necessary.

Mowing: Maintain mower height between 2 to 3 inches, never remove more than 1/3 of the grass plant with each mowing.

Weed Control: It is very common to see new weeds when planting a new lawn or disturbing the soil. For new lawns, wait 6-8 weeks before using any herbicide. For existing lawns, the best weed control is to maintain a healthy lawn by regular fertilization, proper mowing, and watering as necessary.  If Aurora Gold Seed is used, Roundup herbicide may be applied the second year at the recommended rate for Aurora Gold as it is tolerant to Roundup if used with right application amount.

Recommended time to seed
We are anticipating a May seeding time.  If we run into June for seeding is that o.k.?
Cool season grasses such as the Low/Grow No/Mow germinate best when the soil temperatures are between 50° and 65° degrees F. These soil temperatures usually occur when the daytime air temperatures are between 60° and 75° degrees. Fall is the best time to plant  cool season grasses. Planting in the Fall presents the least risk of planting failure for cool season grass. Plant your cool season grass seed when the fall temperatures reach 75° and are dropping as winter approaches. Alternately the second choice is to plant in spring when spring temperatures have reached 60 and are rising in the spring. Planting in summer can occur, but irrigation becomes a critical factor in establishment. High temperatures of summer can cause the grass to go dormant so planting during summer is not recommended. Planting when night-time temperatures are above 70° should be avoided.

Specifications
Provide us with any specifications for installation.
Three Planting Issues
should be observed when creating good seed / soil contact and thus insuring proper germination of your seeds:

The primary one is that seeds mu
st be planted (covered by soil) at the correct depth.  With most grass seeds that depth is 1/8 to 1/4 of soil above the seed.  With other types of seeds, planting depth can be deeper, but with grass seeds, this depth is often a critical factor in obtaining good germination.

Second is that good seed/soil contact also means that the soil has good moisture and that the soil is in CLOSE contact with the seeds allowing moisture in the soil to enter the seeds.  Often slightly firming the soil after planting with a light roller presses the soil tighter around the seeds thus improving the germination of seeds.

Third and a key factor in getting seeds to germinate is that the temperatures (and season) must be right for the particular type of seeds (see when to plant) planted AND there must be adequate soil moisture for the seeds to germinate.  Depending on the soil type, watering may be required for multiple times daily in order to keep the top inch or two of soil moist (not wet) for the seeds and seedlings (germinated seed plant) to grow.

Get your No/Mow Low/Grow Lawn Seed

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Baptisia australis selected as 2010 Perennial Plant of the Year.

*Note from Earthyman Ion Exchange is the number one source for seeds and plants of this wonderful perennial. The picture below was taken at Ion Exchange.

Get ready for the buzz about Baptisia australis—the Perennial Plant Association’s (PPA) 2010 Perennial Plant of the Year. Garden writers across the nation will likely be extolling the virtues of this versatile perennial in coming months. B. australis is also known by the common names blue false indigo, wild indigo and baptisia. B. australis is an excellent plant to anchor the back of the border. It is also valuable for cottage gardens and native plant gardens, and native areas of prairies or meadows. It is best as a specimen or planted in small groups. Read more at GardenCenterMagazine.com.

Baptisia australis

Blue Wild Indigo - Baptisia australis

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