2522.1 - Watershed Improvement Activities

 

Watershed Improvement Treatments.

 

            1.  Improved Ground Cover

 

            a.  Materials

 

            (1) Seed.  All seed shall be tested and labeled in accordance with U.S. Department of Agriculture Rules and Regulations under the Federal Seed Act.  Seed, which has become wet, moldy or otherwise, damaged in transit or in storage will not be acceptable.  Good quality seed generally will have a minimum purity of 85 percent, a minimum germination of 85 percent, and be relatively free of weed seed (2 percent maximum).

 

Type of plants to use will vary with purpose, soil conditions, and date of planting.  Perennial species are preferred, but short-lived species such as rye or rye grass may be used where a quick or temporary cover is needed.  Short-lived species shall not exceed 25 percent of a mixture.

 

Legumes, such as White Clover and Korean Lespedeza, may be added to a grass mixture to provide nitrogen and improve forage for wildlife.  Legumes should be left out of grass mixtures on critical erosion areas where grazing is not desired.  Legume seed shall be inoculated before planting.

 

Table I gives two rates of seeding--one for recreation sites, administrative sites and following fire - and one for roads and eroded areas where seedbed preparation is difficult and seedling mortality high.

 

Table II gives rates for seeding recommended mixtures.


Exhibit 01

Table I - Seeding Rates and Dates (Pure Stands)

 

Grass or Lugume

 

Planting Periold

Seeding

Normal

Rate/Acre

Roads Or Eroded

Optimum

pH Range

 

Remarks

GRASSES

 

 

 

 

 

Tall Fescue (KY 31)

“Endophyte Free”

Sept 1-Oct 31

Mar 1-Apr 15

 

15#

 

40#

 

5.0-6.0

Cool Season wide

range of sites

Orchard Grass

Sept 1-Oct 31

Mar1-Apr 15

 

18#

 

40#

 

6.0-8.0

Cool Season not

drought resistant

Bromegrass

(Southland)

Sept 1-Oct 1

Mar 1-Apr 1

 

18#

 

40#

 

6.0-7.0

Cool Season

north slopes

 

Bermuda

 

April 15-June 15

 

8#

 

20#

 

5.0-6.0

Cool Season wide

range of sites

Ryegrass

(Italian)

 

Sept 1-Nov 15

 

25#

 

40#

 

5.0-7.0

 

Short lived

Rye

Sept 1-Oct 31

100#

160#

5.0-7.0

Short lived

Winter Wheat

(Auther 71)

 

Oct 1-Nov 15

 

1-1˝ ou

 

 

6.0-7.0

 

Winter Annual

Weeping Love

Grass

 

Apr 1-June 30

 

3#

 

6#

 

5.5-6.5

Provide cover 3-4 years Warm Season-drought resistant

Sudan Grass

May 15-July 15

35#

50#

5.5-7.0

Annual

Millet

May 15-July 15

25#

40#

5.5-7.0

Annual

LEGUMES

 

 

 

 

 

Korean Lespedeza

Mar1-May 31

25#

35#

4.5-6.5

Annual

 

Hairy Vetch

 

Sept 1-Oct 31

 

12#

 

18#

 

6.0-7.0

Short lived, very winter hardy

 

White Clover

Sept 1-Oct 31

Feb 15-Apr 1

 

3#

 

5#

 

6.0-7.0

 

Perennial

 

Crimson Clover

 

Sept 1-Oct 31

 

10-15#

 

30#

 

5.5-7.0

Annual

Not shade tolerant

 


 

Exhibit 02

 

Table II - Seeding Rates and Dates (For Mixtures)

 

 

Seeding Rate/Acre

 

Mixture

Planting Period

for mixtures

 

Normal

Roads or

Eroded

Tall Fescue “Endophyte Free”

White Clover

Mar 1-Apr 30

Sept 1-Oct 31

12

2

40

5

Tall Fescue

Red Top

White Clover

 

Sept 1 - Oct 31

12

5

2

35

15

5

Weeping Love Grass

Bermuda

Korean Lespedeza

 

Apr 1 - June 30

2

4

20

5

10

30

Orchard Grass

or

Bromegrass

White Clover

 

Spet 1-Oct 31

15

 

15

2

35

 

35

5

Italian Rye Grass

Sept 1-Nov 15

35

40

Tall Fescue “Endophyte Free”

Orchard Grass

Rye Grass

(Italian or Gulf)

White Clover

 

 

Sept 1-Oct 31

Mar 1-Apr 15

 

 

10

10

5

 

2

 

16

16

7

 

5

 

            (2) Fertilizers.  Fertilizers should be applied according to soil tests.  In absence of soil tests, apply 600-800 pounds of 12-20-10 or its equivalent per acre.

 

Commercial fertilizers must conform to Arkansas fertilizer laws.  The fertilizer may be supplied in the following forms:

 

-- a dry, free-flowing fertilizer suitable for application with a common fertilizer spreader.

 

    -- where hydraulic application is planned, it shall be a finely ground water soluble fertilizer suitable for application by power sprayers.  Use only 500 pounds of fertilizer per acre if applied by a hydro seeder and use a second application of 300-400 pounds per acre after the grass is up and growing well.

 

-- a granular or pellet form.

 

Two tons per acre of average broiler litter is equivalent to the above recommendation and may be used where available and can be applied at an equivalent cost.  Not to be used where Wild Turkey is the featured species.

 

            (3) Lime.  Lime shall be agricultural grade ground limestone.  It shall have a minimum of 85 percent total carbonates.  It shall be of such fineness that 100 percent will pass a #8 sieve and at least 40 percent will pass a #100 mesh sieve.  Rates should be determined by soil tests.  In absence of soil tests, apply 1 ton of lime for each 0.5 pH increase desired.  Dolomite Limestone is preferred.

 

            (4) Mulch.  Hay or straw mulch shall be applied at the rate of 2 tons per acre, spread uniformly over the seeded area.  The mulch should be thin enough to allow sunlight and air to circulate, but thick enough to conserve soil moisture, reduce temperature, and to reduce soil erosion and crusting.

 

Mulch should be tacked down, especially on steep slopes.  Desirable materials to use would be emulsified asphalt (applied at the rate of 0.1 gallon per square yard) or fabric netting.

 

Hydro-mulching materials shall be applied according to manufacturer's recommendations.

 

            7.  Seeding

 

            a.  Seedbed preparation.  The soil shall be tilled to a depth of 4 to 8 inches, where possible.  The scarifying, disking, harrowing or raking shall follow the contour to minimize erosion.  The soil should be in a workable condition, not frozen or extremely wet or dry.  Clods shall be pulverized.  On steep slopes, only tractors with a low center of gravity or specialized equipment shall be used.

 

Abandoned road beds will be ripped to a minimum depth of 8 inches for seedbed preparation.

 

            b.  Application of fertilizer and lime.  Fertilizer and lime should be applied before seeding and incorporated into the soil.  Normally this shall be a part of the seedbed preparation.

 

If a hydro seeder is used, fertilizer may be applied either during the seedbed preparations or during the seeding operation.  Fertilizer and seed shall not be mixed in a grain drill.

 

            c.  Seeding.  Seed may be broadcast, drilled, or applied with a hydro seeder. The area seeded shall be lightly firmed with a cultipacker after broadcasting, where possible.

 

            d.  Vegetative.  Vegetative establishment is costly.  Crown Vetch crowns and Bermuda Grass stolons are suitable for areas where seeding is extremely difficult.

 

Crown Vetch crowns should be staggered on 3' centers.  Beds may be prepared by digging holes with a mattock, pickax, or tree planting tools.  Pour water in the hole unless the soil is already saturated.  Bury all but the top of the crown.  Firm the soil to exclude air.  Never plant crowns in hot, dry soils.  Keep crowns moist until planted.

 

Bermuda Grass sprigs should be planted 6 inches apart in rows on the contour 18 to 24 inches apart.  Water should be poured into the holes or trench unless the soil is already saturated.  Firm the soil around the sprigs.

 

            8.  Management

 

            a.  General Areas.  Fertilization is vital and must be done annually until the vegetation is firmly established.  After the stand is established, fertilization must be repeated at whatever interval is needed to maintain the stand.  Five hundred pounds of 12-6-6 or its equivalent per acre should be adequate.  Nitrogen will be the critical fertilizer element on established vegetation, except for inoculated legumes.

 

            b.  Areas of heavy use or impact areas such as beaches, play areas, picnic areas, administrative sites, grassed waterways, etc.

 

            (1) Liming.  Most grasses will benefit from the addition of lime if the pH is less than 6.0.  Two liming materials commonly used are ground limestone and hydrated lime.  Hydrated lime has 20-30 percent greater neutralizing power than commonly used ground limestone.  If the lime is to be applied as a top dressing, split applications to prevent actual burn to the grass.  Amount of lime needed will be determined by soil test.  In addition to neutralizing acid soils, lime also furnishes plant nutrients.  Dolomitic limestone furnishes calcium and magnesium.

 

            (2) Fertilization.  Turfed areas should receive an application of complete fertilizer (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) in the spring and early fall.  The spring application should be made about the time grass is beginning to grow and the fall application as soon after Labor Day as possible to enable turf to recover from use before frost.

 

Rates of fertilization should be based on soil tests.  In absence of soil tests, use 300-400 lbs. of 10-20-10 or its equivalent per acre per application.

 

Additional nitrogen should be applied between fall and spring applications of complete fertilizer.  Grasses should receive 40 lbs. of actual nitrogen every 30 to 40 days during the growing season.

 

            (3) Soil Tests.  Soil tests provide valuable information in determining fertilizer and liming recommendations.

 

County agents provide a soil testing service at little or no charge.  They provide mailing boxes and information sheets for obtaining soil samples.  Allow 2 to 3 weeks for results.

 

Unless a sample accurately represents the soil area under consideration, the test results will be of little value.  Different soils within an area should be sampled separately.  A six-inch vertical slice should be taken from several locations, mixed, and a composite sample taken.

 

            (4) Mowing.  Either mowing too close or too high can reduce depth of rooting.  Most grasses should be mowed at 1-1/2 to 3 inches high.  Fine leaf grasses can be mowed shorter than coarse bladed grasses.

 

Grasses growing in shady areas should be mowed less frequently and at greater height.  Higher and less frequent cutting of shady areas, as compared with sunny areas, will partially compensate for the lower light intensity.

 

Remember that the amount of green leaves exposed to sunlight determines the amount of food the plant manufactures.  Avoid heavy cuttings.

 

            (5) Soil Compaction.  Soil compaction or destruction of a good soil structure is a major turf problem in recreation areas.  Even a thin layer of compacted soil on or near the surface restricts movement of air, water, and roots.

 

Compaction can be broken up by scarification (with a disk or plow), aerification (making small holes in the top soil), and the addition of humus such as topsoil, chicken litter, decomposed wood chips, etc.

 

Compaction can be minimized by planned routing of foot traffic overgravel or blacktopped reinforced trails and paths.

 

            c.  Environmental and Management Considerations

 

            (1) The surface area of erodible soil material exposed at one time during construction shall not exceed 212,000 square yards per project.  Jobs should be planned so vegetative cover can be established within 90 days.  A construction erosion and sediment control section will be a part of every construction plan.

 

            (2) Seeding of temporary species for erosion control may be required between successive construction stages to correct conditions arising from normal construction operations.  Fast germinating and growing species, such as Italian Ryegrass, Cereal grasses (Rye, Wheat, etc.), Sudan Grass, or Millet should be used.

 

            (a) Fertility.  Apply 300 to 400 lbs. of 10-20-10 or its equivalent per acre or its equivalent annually 2 or 3 years after seeding perennials.  If adequate fertilization is maintained the first 3 years following establishment, the need for annual application will decrease.

 

After firm establishment, fertilizer should be applied when turf shows evidence of poor growth and vigor.  Heavy single applications should be avoided.  Grasses maintained at high fertility levels are costly because of excessive mowing expenses.  One hundred and fifty (150) lbs. or 33-0-0 per acre annually or its equivalent should be adequate.

 

            (b) Liming.  Apply Lime when pH levels fall below 5.5.

 

            (c) Mowing.  Mowing is needed to control weeds and undesirable plants, for safety, fire control and to enhance the beauty.  Some weeds and undesirable plants can be controlled by chemicals.

 

Mowing practices vary with the needs and with the various types of right-of-way.

 

Close mowing is not generally recommended.  Fall mowing is not recommended.  Plants should have the opportunity to mature and harden off before winter.  A vigorous turf is more resistant to traffic damage, erosion, and weed invasion.

 

            9.  Special Problems

 

            Contact the Forest Supervisor for specific problems not considered in this supplement or that do not respond to the suggested treatment.  Beware of watershed status as 305B (State impaired) or non-point source emphasis watershed.  If pollutant of concern in these watersheds is a nutrient, adjust fertilization schedule accordingly.