Pocket Prairie

Small spaces can lead to BIG impacts!

 

You don’t need a lot of space to create a big buzz with pollinators and other wildlife. Whether you have a small yard, or just want to convert a portion of a larger space, a Pocket Prairie is the answer. These relatively small plantings have the ability to recreate the Maritime Grassland plant communities that once dominated large portions of Long Island, providing you with an attractive, biodiverse garden filled with color and life. 

 

Size Limit: 100-500 Square Feet

Cost: (Includes Site Visit, Creation of Custom Plant List, Ground Prep Work, Plants, and Planting)

100 square feet: $1,500    200 square feet: $2,500    300 square feet: $3,500    400 square feet: $4,500    500 square feet: $5,500 

 

* There will be an additional cost if site prep requires invasive shrub removal or significant root removal. This can be discussed during your initial site visit.

What is the process?

Following the initial site visit, I will compile a natural community of native species suited to your location and growing conditions based on your local ecoregion and botanical surveys from the past.

 

Using the proper ecological spacing per variety ensures that your new planting establishes quickly and functions like a natural plant community. This will lead to less maintenance as the plants support each other as one community while preventing weeds from volunteering. Maintenance in the form of biannual weeding (to remove non-native, invasive species) and an annual cutback is all that is required on your part to keep your new prairie in perfect condition. The ideal planting for the laid-back gardener!

 

How many plants will I receive?

Two-Hundred plug-sized plants will be planted per 100 square feet of soil. The term “plug” is used within the horticultural industry to refer to a small, but landscape-ready, young plant with a strong and fully developed root system. These plants will generally reach maturity within their first season. Besides the rooted plugs, approximately one quarter pound of seed will also be planted per 100 square feet to help preserve soil, conserve moisture, and deter weed growth. The variety and numbers of each plant species included will vary depending on your local ecoregion as I strive to mimic the natural plant communities throughout Long Island. For example: Little Bluestem is common throughout much of the Maritime Grasslands meaning it may be the dominant grass species used within your planting. Short-toothed Mountain Mint, on the other hand, is relatively rare and, if used, may only be done so sparingly. After a short time, you will begin to notice additional native species volunteering within your new planting. 

More Information

 

What’s with the name? Pocket Prairie refers to the planting being a relatively small patch of habitat. While prairies are often thought of as immense stretches of grass as far as the eye can see even small pockets can prove that no space is too small to make a difference. 

 

What is a prairie? A prairie is an upland plant community that lacks any sort of tree canopy. Consisting of an array of a highly diverse mix of grasses, sedges, flowering perennials and annuals, as well as a few shrub species. While many think of Prairies as a community of the Midwest, these Grasslands, and many other similar communities, once existed in vast numbers in the East. In fact, much of Nassau County was once the only Tall Grass Prairie east of the Allegheny Mountains before it was quickly swallowed buy Suburbia. Similarly, much of the coastal areas of Long Island, from Long Beach to Montauk and around again to Port Washington, were once expansive meadows of Maritime Grasslands. As both wild and man-made fire were suppressed and wild and domestic grazing habits disrupted by human development, the Grasslands quickly turned to Brush and Woodland. By creating and maintaining your own prairie, you are ensuring this iconic American ecosystem survives into the future.

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Hempstead Plains
Source: NYNHP