May 20, 2022


By Marco Hernandez

Follow the instructions below for planting reclamation and wildlife habitat seed mixtures. 

What you’ll need:

  • Bag of Swell Seed Co seed
  • Seed Spreader (drill, broadcast or by hand)
  • Soil tiller, rake or harrow
  • Roller or feet for stomping
  • Sprinkler (if supplemental water is needed)

When to plant: Planting in the correct season ensures proper germination and strong establishment. Ideally, seeds should germinate at the beginning of the rainiest season to limit supplemental moisture.

  • Spring: In the northern ½ of the U.S. (cool-season states), plant in the spring as soon as you can work the ground. In the southern ½ of the U.S. (warm-season states), plant in the late winter through early spring.
  • Fall: Planting in the late summer through late fall before the ground freezes is an option for colder states that have a true winter. The seeds will go dormant and establish earlier in the spring.

Clear the area: Reclamation and habitat seeds perform best in a clear seedbed. Regardless of your decision to till the soil or not, clear the area of rocks, roots, stumps, and anything in the soil that will compete with the seeds for sunlight, water, and nutrients. Do so by using a rake, harrow, or other method, depending on the size of the area and your preference. Be sure to start this process a few weeks ahead of time - clearing the area may require more than one attempt.

Reclamation Seed Planting (No-Till-Drill Method):

  1. No-Till Method: Leave the area undisturbed by not tilling prior to seeding. This helps with erosion control and weed management.
  2. Drill seeding: Following seeder instructions, spread the seed evenly at a depth of 1/8 - 1/4 inch and make adjustments as needed.
    1. Ensure the soil is firmed for proper seed to soil contact. If needed, go over the area with a roller or firm the soil by stepping on it for smaller plots.

Wildlife Plot Planting (Till-Broadcast Method):

  1. Till/Conventional Method: Till or rake to smooth out and level the area. Cultivate until soil particles are between the size of a marble and a pea. Till to a depth of 3-6 inches. It is important to cultivate the ground right before seeding so the soil is easy to work with and not crusty.
  2. Broadcast seeding: Divide the seed into 2 equal parts. Spread the first ½ of the seed in a north-south pattern and the second ½ in an east-west pattern for uniform coverage. Make adjustments as needed. For small areas, broadcast seed by hand.
  3. Incorporate the seed into the soil to ensure proper seed to soil contact by lightly raking or harrowing the seeded area no deeper than ¼ inch. You should be able to see about 10% of the seed after raking. * If you rake or firm the soil too much, the seed will be too deep in the soil to receive any sunlight or moisture and may not germinate properly.

Applies to either method:

4. Water! Keep the soil moist by relying on rain water or by using a sprinkler until seeds begin to germinate (or in this case, Swell). If supplemental moisture is needed, water daily until the seeds have germinated and the seedlings are 4-6 inches tall, about 4-6 weeks. After this, the seedlings can rely on rain water or supplemental water as needed.

5. Germination times vary, but seedlings should emerge after 1-4 weeks with proper care.

6. While seedlings establish, keep traffic to a minimum to ensure a strong root system develops. Establishment time varies as well and native species may take up to 1-3 years to fully establish.