Giving native plant species a healthy start so they can take root in ecosystem restoration projects
Invasive plant species often negatively impact ecosystems, and native plant species are critical for ecosystem restoration projects. The Stantec Native Plant Nursery was contracted by The Xerces Society—a nonprofit organization committed to protecting wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat—to grow two midwestern native plant species, Field Thistle (Cirsium discolor) and Wingstem (Verbesina alternifolia), for the benefit of native pollinators such as bees, other insects, and birds.
Our staff verified a local plant community where the seed could be harvested. Staff then collected, documented, dried, and cleaned the seed. Then, the seed was sent to the nursery’s plant production team for stratification before it was sown into 72-count plant plugs and grown out in our greenhouses.
The following spring, our team prepared the seed production beds and planted the plugs for seed production. Some of the Wingstem bloomed and produced viable seed the first season, the Field Thistle took two years to establish and produce seed. As we completed the contract, both species provided ample quantities of seed, which was made available for sale to various projects throughout the US Midwest.
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