Migratory Bird Program Field Office
Conserving the Nature of America - Southeast Region

NRCS Recommended Seeding Mixtures Suitable for Soil Stabilization on Wildlife Habitat Development Areas

NRCS State Biologist provided this set of suitable planting specs containing what are, in our opinion, the simplest most practical perennial plantings to conserve soil AND wildlife for typical NC farm equipment.  Included are the larger smooth seed native grasses and a few virtually benign exotic plants.  The specs. are not for "prairie restoration" they are for general-use Conservation cover planting.  Good alternatives to sericea lesp., fescue, bermuda, and bahia grass.


These plantings can work well on field borders, filter strips, wildlife openings, dikes, ditch plugs, terraces and diversions, grassed waterways, forest harvest trails and log landings, land reclamation, CRP, and plain old upland wildlife mgt. areas. These are relatively inexpensive and practical, and can be done with "regular" farm equipment.


We hope this information will serve as a useful resource for your conservation planning work.  


Seeding Mixtures Suitable for Soil Stabilization

on Wildlife Habitat Development Areas

January - Date of Last Frost  

Partridge Pea (well-drained sites)-5lbs./accre, with
Wheat or Rye - 40lbs./acre, and
Switchgrass - 5 lbs. of pure live seed/acre drilled, or 7 lbs. or pure live seed/acre broadcast


April 15 - May 31 "Atlantic" Coastal panicgrass (well-drained sites) - 7lbs. of pure live seed/acre drilled


Date of Last Frost - May 31 Eastern gamagrass (purchase "stratified seed") - 15 lbs. of pure live seed/acre drilled


May - August* Browntop Millet (well-drained sites) - 20 lbs./acre, or Proso Millet (well-drained sites) - 20 lbs./acre,  or Japanese millet (wet sites) - 20 lbs./acre
*Only provides temporary cover using summer annuals. A subsequent perennial planting maybe be required during the autumn or winter following this planting.
September - October Orchardgrass - 10 lbs./acre, with
Ladino White Clover - 3 lbs./acre, plus
Crimson Clover - 5 lbs./acre, and
Wheat or Rye - 40 lbs./acre
Date of First Frost - December Wheat or Rye - 40 lbs./acre with
Switchgrass - 5lbs. of pure live seed/acre drilled, or 7lbs. of pure live seed/acre bradcast
Date of First Frost - December Eastern gamagrass (purchase "unstratified seed") - 15 lbs. of pure live seed/acre drilled

Switchgrass Orchardgrass
For well drained - moderately well drained sites: "Blackwell", "Carthage", "Alamo". For moderately well drained - poorly drained sites: "Kanlow", "Cave-In-Rock", "Shelter". For well-drained - moderately well drained sites: "Shiloh", Benchmark", Hallmark".

Eastern gamagrass
For well drained-somewhat poorly drained sites: "Pete", "Iuka".

1.     Purchase of native grass seed on a Pure Live Seed (PLS) basis is strongly recommended to ensure adequate amounts of quality seed are obtained.  Ask vendors to sell the "Lbs. of Pure Live Seed" needed for your job.  You will receive bags of bulk seed containing the needed amount of live grass seeds.  The planting equipment must be calibrated to apply the bulk-seed rate necessary to place the target PLS rate in the soil.  Determine the correct machine setting using the following formula:
                                                                                                           Set Machine to Plant
             Target PLS rate per acre (from spec.)                    
=    ____lbs. seed/acre    
From the seed tag:   0.___- Purity (as a decimal) x 0.___ Germination (as a decimal)

     2.     Bulk-weight purchase and planting of orchardgrass, small grain, millet, clover, and partridge pea normally provides sufficient amounts of quality seed for establishing these plants.


Correct soil pH as needed to reach the range of 5.5 - 7.5.  Apply fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 0-1-1, or 0-0-1 to correct phosphorus or potassium deficiency indicated by a soil test.  Broadcast seed onto firm level seedbed then roll it into contact with soil after planting. Drilled seed should be placed 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep.

For prompt stand establishment, weed control is essential prior to and during the establishment period.  During the first growing season, weeds should be controlled with mowing or herbicide to prevent heavy shading of desirable seedlings.  Caution must be taken to prevent heavy cutting or chemical injury to desirable seedlings.

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Raleigh, North Carolina
July 2001


Last Updated: September 10, 2008