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Native Terminology

Common Native Terminology

Pure live seed

PLS or pure live seed is an industry standard used to determine the percentage of seed that will germinate. Two factors are used to determine the percentage of pure live seed.
  • Purity which is the percentage of actual seed as compared to other inert crop material or other seed.
  • Germination which is the percentage of seed which is live and viable.
PLS percentage is calculated by multiplying purity and germination. For example if the purity is 98% and the germination is 90% then the PLS % is 98% x 90% = 88.2%. The bulk weight of the seed is calculated by dividing the PLS weight by the PLS %. For example one PLS pound will be 1/88.2% or 1.14 bulk pounds. That means if you buy one PLS pound of this seed, you will receive 1.14 bulk pounds.

Agrecol sells all seed on a pure live basis. All our seed is tested and certified for viability, germination. purity, seed count and seed density by the Wisconsin crop improvement association or other certified third party testing laboratories. We will provide seed labels for each species which list test date and test information like purity, germination, PLS weight and bulk weight.

Seed Conditioning

Many native seeds have awns, appendages and other bristle like structures that help the seed to spread in natural conditions. These awns and appendages can interfere in seeding uniformity and mechanical seeding. Seed conditioning is the process of removing awns, appendages as well as hulls and husk on seed. Agrecol has rigorous seed cleaning standards to ensure that the seed is clean and free of obstructive and foreign material, so that you get clean uniformly flowable seed.

Noxious Weeds

Weeds are non native plants that were brought over from Europe, Asia or other regions. They are now invasive growing nearly everywhere, spreading aggressively, competing with natives and causing many problems. Many of these invasive species are extremely harmful to agricultural/horticultural crops or natural habitats and ecosystems. Due to their aggressive and injurious many states and local municipalities designate certain weeds as noxious weeds. Agrecol has rigorous cleaning standards to ensure that all seed is clean and free of weeds and other material. The seed is then tested to ensure that there are no noxious weed seeds.

Bloom Time

The bloom time of a plant is the expected period of time flowering plants are expected to bloom. Most species flower during summer, but by including early spring blooms as well as late fall blooms in plantings, native prairies and gardens can provide season long color. Agrecol lists the expected bloom time for each species to help customers choose plants accordingly. Please note that bloom time may vary based on local conditions.

Plant Height:

The height is the expected height of the mature prairie plant under normal conditions. Please note that height can vary significantly depending on local conditions. In ideal conditions prairie plants can thrive and grow taller than expected, while poor conditions or competition can leave the species shorter and stunted.

Soil Moisture:

The soil moisture is an indication of the water content in the soil and lets us know how wet or dry the soil is. Use the soil moisture information to determine what soil conditions are ideal for a native species.

There three basic moisture levels:
  • Wet Soils

    Hydric or wet soils are characteristic of wetland or shoreline areas. The soils are usually saturated with water. There is periodic flooding or ponding and the moisture usually does not drain well. The roots of several dry plants cannot withstand the moisture levels of wet soil.
  • Mesic Soils

    The moisture content of mesic soils is moderate and well balanced. The is not saturated and drains well, but never completely dries out. It usually is slightly moist. Most prairies and savannas tend to have mesic soils.
  • Dry Soils

    Xeric or dry soils have very low moisture levels. They are usually far from water resources or receive very little precipitation. Most water drains or evaporates quickly leaving the soil dry. These soils tend to be sandy, rocky and low in organic material. The roots of wetland plants need moisture and cannot tolerate these dry soils.
Sometimes soils are in between these basic levels
  • Wet-Mesic Soils

    The soil moisture is between the hydric and mesic levels. These soils are not saturated or balanced, but very moist and retain more water than mesic soils.
  • Dry-Mesic Soils

    The soil mositure is between the xeric and mesic levels. These soils are not dry or balanced, but slightly dry and are more moist compared to dry soils.
Agrecol lists the range of soil moisture tolerated by all our individual species, seed mixes and plant kits. 

Soil Type:

The topmost layer of earth where plants grow is the soil. Soil is composed of organic materials like decomposed plants & animals, inorganic materials like rocks and minerals, air and moisture. The soil type can vary based on the composition and overall texture and size of the soil particles. Each soil type has its own unique characteristics. There are four basic soil types.
  • Clay Soils

    Clay soil is the most dense and heaviest of all soil types. The soil tends to be very saturated and sticky. Particles can clump and be tightly packed together. Clay soil can hold a lot of nutrients and moisture which can aid some species. But due to lack of aeration and poor drainage it can be challenging for some species to establish. in clay. Clay soil can be improved by adding soil amendments like gypsum to make it more permeable.
  • Sandy Soils

    Sandy soil is the lightest of all soils and is made up of sand particles. It tends to be very loose and can be dug up very easily. The particles are large and don't compact easily, allowing for a lot of aeration and drainage. Sandy soils tend to be dry and poor lacking nutrition. Sandy soil can be improved with added fertilizers and organic matter.
  • Loamy Soils

    Loam is the most ideal soil type for plant growing purposes. Loam tends to have 40% sand and 20% clay. It holds sufficient amounts of moisture and nutrients, without being too saturated or too dry. The balance of clay and sand also gives loam the right amount of aeration. It is the most fertile and well drained soils and a variety of plants will thrive in loam.
  • Peat

    Peat is a soil type that has a high concentration of decaying plant and animal matter making it the most richly organic soil, full of nutrients. It is usually found in wetter areas like marshes, bogs and swamps. However, the high concentration of organic matter also tends to make the soil organic. The soil tends to be very favorable to cultivation, but tends to support more of the swampy species.
Agrecol lists the type of soils ideal for all our individual species, seed mixes and plant kits. If necessary, for more detailed information on soil types, nutrient levels and recommendations on soil amendments contact a local soil lab or USDA/FSA office for soil testing information.

Sun Exposure:

The sun exposure is the amount of direct sunlight that is required for the native species to thrive,
  • Full Sun

    Full sun plants require that the area should receive 80% or more direct sunlight throughout the day. The plants can tolerate some amount of shade but need plenty of sunlight.
  • Part Sun

    Part sun plants require that the area should receive 30-80% of direct sunlight throughout the day. Usually woodland edges or urban areas with trees or tall structures filtering the sunlight.
  • Full Shade

    Full shade plants thrive in areas that receive 20% or less sunlight. These are dense wooded areas, areas with plenty of trees or shrubs, or urban areas where trees and structures block the sunlight.
Agrecol lists the range of sun exposure tolerated by all our individual species, seed mixes and plant kits.

Wetland Indicator:

The Wetland Indicator or Wetland Code are wetland classification categories set by the United States Department of Agriculture. They offer the following interpretations.

  • OBL - Obligate Wetland: Occurs almost always (estimated probability 99%) under natural conditions in wetlands.
  • FACW- Facultative Wetland: Usually occurs in wetlands (estimated probability 67%-99%), but occasionally found in non-wetlands.
  • FAC - Facultative:Equally likely to occur in wetlands or non-wetlands (estimated probability 34%-66%).
  • FACU - Facultative Upland:Usually occurs in non-wetlands (estimated probability 67%-99%), but occasionally found on wetlands (estimated probability 1%-33%).
  • UPL - Obligate Upland:Occurs in wetlands in another region, but occurs almost always (estimated probability 99%) under natural conditions in non-wetlands in the regions specified. If a species does not occur in wetlands in any region, it is not on the National List.
  • NA - No agreement:The regional panel was not able to reach a unanimous decision on this species.
  • NI - No indicator:Insufficient information was available to determine an indicator status.
  • NO - No occurrence:The species does not occur in that region.