Pheasants Forever Nebraska


Planting Questions

When should I plant my mixture for a dormant seeding?

After November 1st after the first hard freeze, as long as the ground is not frozen, so that nothing germinates until the spring. Hard Freeze = Below 27 degrees for at least three hours

When should I plant my mixture for a spring seeding?

After the ground thaws.  It is best to plant before April 15th, but definitely before May 15th.

Is it best to plant in the fall or the spring?

If your mixture has wildflowers/forbs in it, it is usually better to plant in the fall or early in the spring.

Do I need to disk before I seed?

Usually no, some projects may require a light disking.

Should I spray or shred before I seed?

Nine times out of ten the answer is no.

After I plant my mixture how long does it take to see growth?

It could take two to three growing seasons to see what you planted or potentially longer the farther west you get in the state.  It also depends on what you plant; you may see more wildflowers in the second growing season.

How can I upgrade my existing wildlife habitat?

Disking, prescribed burning, and chemical application are all possibilities, followed by interseeding.  You should have a Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist or a Resource Professional evaluate your land before doing any of these.

What mixture should I plant?

You should have a Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist evaluate your land.  They will look at the soil type, geographical location, and consider your ultimate habitat goal.  Seed Mixtures and Food Plot seed can be ordered right here on the website!

Food Plot Questions

When should I plant my food plot?

Between early May and June 1st. For those in the far western portions of the state, you may need to extend planting into June to accommodate the shorter growing seasons.

How often should I plant a food plot?

Every year in the same location

Grass Drill Questions

What type of drill should I use?

Use a no-till grass drill that can accurately meter seed from the seed box(s), provide seed flow without plugging, and plant seed at desired depth with good seed-to-soil contact.
Many Pheasants Forever chapters have a Great Plains or Truax no-till drill available to rent. Rent a drill near you!

Should I add anything to make the seed go through the drill?

You can add oats, corn or milo to assist the seed through the drill.  Ask for more information when you pick up the drill or contact a Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist.

How deep should I plant the seed?

Seed size, soil texture, moisture, and temperature affect planting depth. In most cases, native grass and forb seed mixes should be planted no deeper than 1/4 inch.

Seed Size
Ideally, very small seeds are planted at very shallow depths, around 0 to 1/8 inch; small seeds are planted at shallow depths, around 1/8 to 1/4 inch, and medium to large seed at depths of 1/4 to 1/2 inch.

Species Seeds/lb. Planting Depth
Plains Coreopsis 3,222,222 Surface to 1/16″
Prairie Junegrass 2,300,000 Surface to 1/8″
Red Clover 275,000 1/4″ to 1/2″
Little Bluestem 240,000 1/4″
Alfalfa 220,000 1/4″ to 1/2″
Big Bluestem 160,000 1/4″ to 1/2″
Proso Millet 80,000 1/2″ to 1″
Milo 15,000 1″ to 2 “
Corn 1,200 1/2″ to 2″

Soil Texture and Moisture
Finer soil textures are generally planted shallower than coarse textured, sand and gravel soils.

Wetland seeding
Since many wetland seeds need light to germinate,wetland restorationists prefer to broadcast seed followed by rolling or packing. Wetland grasses can be drill-seeded followed by broadcasting forbs and sedges. If a seed drill will be used for all seed, drills must be calibrated carefully to ensure that small seed is placed correctly, at the surface.

Storing Questions

How should I store my mixture?

Where the air temperature and relative humidity equals or is greater than 100 combined.  This will decrease germination.  A storm cellar or basement is good where it stays fairly cool and dry.

How long will my mixture last if stored properly?

If the seed is stored in a cool/dry place you may still lose some germination.  We recommend that you do not store your seed for more than a year before planting.

Ordering Questions

How long does it take to have my seed order delivered?

Orders typically ship within 5-10 days.

How will my mixture be bagged?

Pheasants Forever mixtures are bagged with the small/slick seeds separate from the fluffy seeds.   No-Till Grassland Drills have two compartments that each will go into.

Is seed from PF/QF certified?

The native grass seed is guaranteed to meet the mileage and variety restrictions that the State of Nebraska requires, but it is not Blue Tagged Certified.

Will my seed order contain any noxious weeds?

The seed will not contain any primary or prohibitive noxious weeds but may contain some restricted noxious weeds.  The State of Nebraska allows some restricted noxious weeds and your order will comply.

Hunting Questions

Where have all the pheasants gone?

Over the past several decades, grassland acres and quality have been severely reduced across Nebraska and the rest of the Midwest. These losses have coincided with steady declines in pheasant and quail populations. However, Pheasants Forever has been working hard to reverse this trend by 1) promoting wildlife friendly policy at the state and national level, 2) delivering innovative wildlife conservation programs and 3) providing accessibility to wildlife biologists throughout the state that are available to assist in designing quality wildlife habitat projects.

Where can I find a place to hunt in Nebraska?

Please check the Open Fields and Waters Program page for information on the Public Access Atlas and find places to hunt.  The Public Access sites are available for free on Google Earth and apps for smartphones.

Are there any youth specific hunting areas in Nebraska?

Yes. Please check out the Passing Along the Heritage Program which offers mentors and youth a place to hunt.

Improving Habitat Questions

What time of year is best to spray to kill out brome?

There are two times of the year that you can spray to kill brome, fall and spring.  If you have native warm season grass such as Big Bluestem, Little Bluestem or Indian grass present with the brome, the best time to spray is in the fall after the first hard freeze.  This method works well because the warm season grass has gone dormant and chemical such as Roundup will not affect these desirable species.  If the current stand is solid brome, then spraying in the fall or spring will work fine.  Generally you want to plan for two growing seasons of chemical application to kill brome as it can be fairly difficult to get rid of.  Fall chemical application of 2 qtrs. per acre of roundup has been most successful.  If spraying in the spring, spraying between April 15 and May 15 is generally the best time to spray.  Shredding, burning, or haying ahead of time to remove older grass growth will tremendously increase the success rate of the chemical.

What time of year is best to burn for brome control?

As late in the spring as possible is the best time to burn for brome control.  The trick is to burn late (around May 1st) when the brome is green, but will still burn.  It helps to have enough dead litter to help carry the fire.  You can also use the weather as a tool to get the brome to burn.  Meaning that you choose a day with lower relative humidity, higher temperature, and possibly higher wind speed as long as it is still safe to burn.  If burning this late is not an option, you can burn early (mid March) and then use a chemical application after 4-6 inches of regrowth to kill the brome.

What time of year is best to burn for cedar tree control?

November through March is the best time to burn to kill cedar trees.  This is when the needles are at their driest point.  You can also choose a lower relative humidity day to burn cedar trees in the spring, however this may mean you will have more extreme fire behavior.   Always follow burn plan guidelines.

Will burning kill locust, Chinese elms, or mulberry trees?

Generally not.  Sometimes if there is enough fuel and weather conditions create more extreme fire behavior, suckering trees will die.  However, most of the time, the trees will resprout and the problem is not taken care of.  Chemical seems to be the only sure way of killing these invasive plants.

Why are cedar trees so bad for wildlife?

While individual cedar trees are not necessarily bad for wildlife, they can reproduce rapidly and over a few years, turn grassland into cedar woodland that has little benefit to wildlife. Regular activities such as mechanically removing trees and preventative prescribed fires are great tools to keep cedar trees at bay. Pheasants Forever biologists throughout Nebraska can assist you in developing a plan to keep cedar trees from compromising the quality of your habitat projects.

How big of cedar trees can you kill in a fire?

Depends on the fire intensity.  Generally for smaller size burns (40 acres or less), it is difficult to get enough fire intensity to kill cedar trees over 5’ tall, unless you have a heavy fuel load consisting of tall, warm season grasses.  One thing to keep in mind is that even though the tree may not burn up during the fire, the heat itself may be enough to kill the tree.    Many times you cannot judge the success of your burn on cedar trees for a few weeks because some of the trees will continue to turn brown throughout the growing season.

Miscellaneous Questions

Why are Pheasants Forever and/or Game and Parks paying landowners for public access when the CRP was hayed or grazed?

If landowners’ actions result in significant habitat degradation, payment will be adjusted or withheld. Game and Parks staff will inspect these areas and adjust contract payments for acres that no longer provide acceptable wildlife cover. For information on haying or grazing activities in Nebraska, please visit the Drought Effects and Upland Bird Numbers FAQ page.

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