We recommend assigning the seeding project a name so it can be identified and filed electronically or by hardcopy. The project name will be listed in the text at the top of the first seed mix page.

The following table will help you determine the appropriate soil moisture choice for your location (also, see Species Selection):

Dry (Xeric) - Water drains very rapidly resulting in dry soil for most of the year.

Dry-Mesic - Water drains rapidly resulting in dry soil for periods during the year.

Mesic (Medium) - Water drains readily from the soil but soil remainsmoist for most of the year.

Wet-Mesic - Water drains slowly resulting in wet soil for periods during the year.

Wet (Hydric) - Water drains very slowly resulting in standing water at or near the surface for most of the year.

The seeding method will have an effect on the rate of native plant establishment and the calculator adjusts for this.

Select Drilling if you are using a tractor mounted implement that plants seed into bare soil or intact sod.

Select Broadcast if you are slinging the seed over the soil surface by hand or using a hand-held seeder, tractor, or ATV mounted implement.

Select Hydroseed if your seed is mixed with water, mulch, or tackifier to form a slury that is sprayed directly on the ground.

Drilling is the most efficient, saving 23% in seed cost versus the other methods.

If YES, the calculator will automatically recommend a nurse crop to be sowed along with the prairie seed to reduce soil erosion (also see Nurse Crops).

If NO, it is assumed that prairie seed will be sowed into intact sod (either living or killed) and soil erosion is not a concern.

Select the time of year that the seeding will be done.

Spring planting occurs from March through mid-June or when soil temperatures are 50 degrees fahrenheit and above.

Fall planting (also called dormant planting) is typically from late-October through February or when soil temperatures are 38 degrees fahrenheit and lower.

The calculator gives you the option to enter planting site area in acres or by length and width measured in feet. Length and width is typically used for smaller planting sites.

For acre areas, the calculator accepts whole numbers (eg 5, 5.5, 5.25) or a partial acre (0.5, .5, 0.1, 0.15).

For length and width areas, the calculator accepts measurements by linear foot, in whole and partial numbers (6, 6.0, 6.6, 6.25).

1 acre = 43,560 square feet = 208.7 feet long by 208.7 feet wide.

Enter the county where the planting site is located. The calculator automatically chooses the suite of species that historically occurred in the region of the planting site.

For additional information see "Geographic Distribution" in Species Selection.

"Premium" mixes cost more per acre than the economy mixes, but they include many more species than "economy" mixes.

All base seed mixes meet and exceed Iowa NRCS specifications for seeding natives.

Selecting Yes gives you a list of species not included in the base mix but that can be included in the seed mix if you choose.

Selecting No provides only the species that are included in the base mix.

Optional species historically occur in the region of your planting site and are appropriate for your selected soil moisture.

Every species has at least one common name and only one scientific name. Listing both names in the table is important because some common names vary among nurseries but scientific names are universal.

Every species has at least one common name and only one scientific name. Listing both names in the table is important because some common names vary among nurseries but scientific names are universal.

This is the recommended seeding rate for each species below, calculated by seeds per square foot. See the important noates above when making adjustments to ensure you receive adequate seed for your planting project.

PLS stands for "pure live seed." PLS is the actual amount of live seed, measured here in ounces, needed for your planting project at the desired seeding rate. A change in the seeding rate box will change the ounces PLS needed for the planting project.

This is the current retail price range for each species. Retail prices come from four of the prairie seed nurseries that are listed on the last page of the seed mix sheet. There is a wide range for every species that can result in a seed mix costing a few hundred dollars per acre to over a thousand dollars per acre.

To help you receive the very best price for your custom seed mix, we built a seed bid-letting feature into the calculator. Simply click the 'Submit to vendors' button at the bottom of your custom seed mix to initiate the process of emailing your requet to participating native seed vendors. When they return your bid, you can compare costs to get the best price for your custom seed mix.



Project Name: (optional) Note:
The Iowa Prairie Seed Calculator provides seeding recommendations for prairie habitats (0-20% shade).
Soil Moisture:
Seeding Method:
Is the planting in bare soil?
Planting time:
acres length (ft) width (ft)
Iowa County:
Cost Factor:
Include optional species?