Prairie, Wetland, and Woodland Restoration

Heartland Restoration Services has installed and managed hundreds of ecological restoration projects, including prairies, wetlands, and woodlands, throughout Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. A successful ecological restoration project requires intensive site preparation, high quality native plant materials, proper installation, and an adaptive long-term management plan.

Assessment
Site inspections are essential to determine the current site conditions and identify potential site preparation requirements and management concerns. With the target habitat in mind, Heartland will examine existing vegetation on and near the property to ensure that the products and plantings can be tailored to your site.

Site Preparation
The extent of site preparation is based upon the existing conditions of the restoration site, however, preparation typically includes establishment of proposed grades, treatment of exotic and invasive plant species, and layout of the planting plans. It is critical that perennial weeds are controlled during this phase of the project.

High Quality Native Plant Materials
Heartland uses their 50-acre native seed and plant nursery to supply source-documented, local-genotype, native seed and seed mixes for ecological restoration projects. Heartland maintains a list of native seed mixes ideal for establishing native midwestern habitats; however, Heartland can customize any seed mix to meet project-specific requirements or design a seed mix based upon site conditions and long-term project goals.

Heartland’s greenhouse facilities also provide ample room to provide for contract grown native plants and plugs. Planting plugs in coordination with seeding ensures a rapid establishment of native plants, increases diversity, and reduces long-term management costs associated with exotic and invasive species control.

Installation
Depending on the size and proposed topography of the site, methods of seed application may include drilling with a rangeland-type grass seed drill or broadcast seeding. Live plantings such as herbaceous plugs and trees are typically installed by hand. Seed installation is best performed in the fall or spring.

Management
Short-term and long-term land management are absolutely necessary for any ecological restoration project. Following installation, restoration projects typically require aggressive management in the first 3-5 years, depending on the choice of plant materials and type of desired habitat. Heartland will develop an adaptive management plan based upon existing site conditions and desired habitat type. For more information on the management services provided by Heartland Restoration Services, see our exotic and invasive plant management and our prescribed burn management pages.