MAINTENANCE AFTER A CRP PLANTING
A maintenance plan will be the key to the long-term success of your CRP planting. Patience along with thorough and consistent maintenance will be the difference between a weedy field planting and a showy CRP prairie.
A planting may have had the best seed, all the proper techniques may have been used to prepare the site, and installation may have gone flawlessly, but this still does not guarantee the eradication of all invasive weeds and undesirable species. Almost all CRP plantings will experience some sort of weed problem after planting. It usually takes 2-3 years to eradicate weed problems.
Helpful Tips in Maintaining your CRP Planting:
1. Mow, mow, mow, and mow some more. Mowing can often be an effective method of competition control. Ensure that your mowing height is above emerging native plants. Species such as Partridge Peas and Black-eyed Susan are annuals or short-lived biennials which are highly dependent on the first year of seed production to maintain their existence. Mowing too late in the season will allow the plants to get to large and produce seed which can destroy these plants from your planting.
2. Some of the species in your seed mixes may be resistant to Plateau®. This means Plateau application can be used to kill some of your problem weeds by spot spraying. This will not kill all of your weeds but it will help with some of the more competitive ones. Additional notes on Plateau: Never use prior to seedlings reaching 6-8" in height, DO NOT use a surfactant in post-emergent applications, and NEVER use post-emergent applications at a rate higher than 6 ounces per acre.
3. If possible, DO NOT use direct applications of broadleaf herbicides such as 2-4D. These applications have been known to kill the wildflowers in your mix, even if used only with a wick applicator.
4. Your CRP contract may require you to mow, strip, disk, or burn your site at some point. We highly recommend you mow when possible and burn after the third growing season as well as every 1-3 years after that. If you plan to use fire as a maintenance method then you should plan on installing fire lanes around your field at the time of planting. We recommend that you use a specific mix that would resist burning and would be green in the burning season. Wildlife food plots can also be utilized as very effective fire lanes if managed correctly.
Instructions for Mowing a Native Prairie (PDF)