Many cool season flowering species are expensive and difficult to propagate by seed. One reason is many of these species rely on asexual reproduction through rhizomes, an adaptation very well suited to intense but infrequent grazing. In fact, these plants are often a dominate vegetation in the grazing lawn community. These plants can be recruited through high density plantings and proper long term management. The proper managemen haying.
Forb seed mixes should be designed and packaged separately in functional groups or guilds. Depending upon your site, the forb mix packaging should include season, shade intensity, soils moisture, and area. For example I might have the following forb packaging labels: 1) cool season, shade tolerant, dry mesic, two acres, and 2) warm season, full sun wet mesic, one acre. These mixes are then planted in their predetermined locations where management strategies can be focused in order to facilitate the desired community. The cool season shade tolerant mix will receive a biomass harvest treatment in midsummer either through haying, grazing, or fired, and the warm season mix should receive a biomass harvest outside the warm season growing period, spring or fall. This focused seed mix design coupled to a focused management regime should facilitate hard to establish forb species. Once these patches achieve a certain density, and through proper management, the flower colonies obtain a momentum and begin to spread out logistically. Likewise, humans can collect seed or root stock and actively aid in plant dispersion.
High density plantings also encourage pollinator memory, where the pollinator returns to the same patch over the entire bloom period. In this case the pollinator is assured nectar and the flowering plant is more likely pollinated. Pollinator memory is best expressed in the more advanced flower species, such as the asters, and the more advanced pollinators, such as the bees.
In This Series
A Plan For A Better Future: Creating a Unified Pollinator Ecology
Premise 1: Pollinators are grazers
Narrative 2: The most powerful terrestrial ecosystem on earth, the Grazing Lawn
Premise 3: Cool season species are cool too
Premise 4: Decrease grass seeding rates, but increase graminoid diversity
Premise 5: Functional groups, niche theory, and seed mix design
Premise 6: Relax the current punitive genotype restrictions
Premise 7: High density patch planting
Premise 8: Nitrogen pollution is a serious threat to pollinators
Premise 9: Make hay, not war
Premise 9: More pollinator habitat through more frequent fire.
Premise 10: Afforestation, an unknown but significant threat to pollinator survival