Southeast Iowa Agroforestry Demonstration

2002 Annual Report for LNC00-167

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2000: $9,650.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2004
Matching Federal Funds: $1,000.00
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $3,500.00
Region: North Central
State: Iowa
Project Coordinator:
Christa Perkins

Southeast Iowa Agroforestry Demonstration


The committee decided that modifications are needed to the existing and planned seedings at the landfill. The current seedings are heavily infested with weeds and rescue mowing will be completed this spring. The committee decided to enhance agro-forestry management by developing a plan to expand the diversity, viability, and income potential through a compatible native plant-based cropping system. The addition of a warm season/cool season seeding and management system will provide better establishment conditions, improve weed control, increase the diversity to support forbs establishment, and provide an alternative income opportunity. Rescue mowing, additional seedings, and installation of informational signs will be completed by June 1, 2003.

Objectives/Performance Targets

  1. Show landowners the environmental benefits of agroforestry to encourage them to convert marginal cropland to more environmentally beneficial land uses.

    Demonstrate to private entrepreneurs the economic potential of growing, harvesting, and selling local ecotype forbs and medicinals.

    Help local leaders preserve irreplaceable local ecotype forbs and medicinals through propagation.


Dry Upland Savannah

The committee decided that no additional species for the dry upland savannah will be planted. This site will need rescue mowing in the spring of 2003. Three mowings are planned.

In response to weed infestations and the need for better establishment conditions for native prairie vegetation specific to the site conditions of the landfill, a 3-acre modification to the demonstration is being proposed. This demonstration will show the use of double-cropping a cool-season legume (alfalfa) and a warm-season forage grass (big bluestem). This seeding will be completed between the rows of trees, and consistent with project objectives, demonstrate additional benefits of agroforestry.

Because of the nature of the two forages, it is hoped that we can demonstrate an effective means to produce harvestable livestock forage through the entire growing season. The two species will be seeded together, and the crops will be managed to facilitate optimum production. The alfalfa will be harvested for hay in late spring, and the big bluestem will be allowed to grow. In mid-summer, the big bluestem will be harvested for hay and used as winter-feed for livestock. Secondary benefits will be an increase in weed control due to seasonal growth patterns and harvest incentives. The potential to add forbs during and after grass establishment will take advantage of the warm season /cool season system as a medium for the production of higher value natives originally proposed for use on site.

Wet Lowland Savannah

Due to unexpected circumstances at the landfill, the wet site for this project had to be relocated to the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant. Based on the events of 9/11, access to this site is very limited. An evaluation of optional sites was completed. Based on heavy infestations of Reeds Canary grass at the landfill, a site of the Des Moines County Conservation Boards was selected.

This site was prepared with a treatment of plateau in May of 2002. The following species were planted there:

New England Aster
Swamp Milkweed
Prairie Blazingstar
Cardinal Flower
Great Blue Lobelia
Prairie Cord Grass

However, this planting failed. It is assumed this failure was due to lack of time between the herbicide application and planting. Because of this failure, a September planting was completed at the same site with the following species:

New England Aster
Swamp Milkweed
Prairie Blazingstar
Cardinal Flower
Great Blue Lobelia

Sign installation for the wetland site is planned for the spring of 2003. The informational brochure is complete. A schedule for field days has been developed, and a field day scheduled for this spring will highlight the planning and establishment components. A second field day will be held in mid-summer to highlight of the progress of the forb/warm season grass plantings. An overview of the project will be presented at the Iowa Prairie Conferences in July.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

At this time, it is difficult to determine the impact and contributions of this project. It will more than likely take several years to measure the success of this project. Upon plot evaluation and planned program outreach/education, some projections may be made as to the potential impacts that may be available economically and environmentally.


Hal Morton

Des Moines County Regional Landfill
1818 W. Burlington Ave.
Burlington, IA 52601
Office Phone: 3197538126
Jeff Bergman

Des Moines County Conservation Board
512 N. Main St.
Burlington, IA 52601
Office Phone: 3197538721
Jeff Chase

Des Moines County Roadside Management Program
Des Moines County Secondary Roads
13522 Washington Rd.
West Burlington, IA 52655
Office Phone: 3197538720
Tom Buckley
Geode Resource Conservation & Development, Inc.
3002A Winegard Dr.
Burlington, IA 52601
Office Phone: 3197526395
Joe Haffner

Natural Resource Manager
Iowa Army Ammunition Plant
17575 State Highway 79
Middletown, IA 52638
Office Phone: 3197537903