How to Plant a Prairie

in your Backyard or your Back 40

Want to help our native pollinators?  Attract more birds? Support an endangered ecosystem?

Monarch butterfly on whorled milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)

This workshop for do-it-yourselvers will help you turn your garden, yard, or pasture into a field of native prairie grasses and flowers. Experts and landowners will provide guidance on planting and maintenance.

Native prairies are rare today, but prairie gardens, replantings, and restorations dot our landscape with greater frequency.  Whether you have a small urban or suburban yard, two acres in a subdivision, or 40 acress, a prairie can be a great alternative for those sunny areas of your property.  Why?

  • Prairie plantings are low maintenance (after established)
  • Native plants are drought tolerant — don’t need watering
  • Seeds and plants are available of any soil type (clay, sand, loam)
  • Beautiful flowers and dramatic grasses attract insects and birds

After planting natives you are contributing to the re-establishment of a  landscape that was once common in our region.  Our native prairie plants can thrive without fertilizer and watering.  The plants in turn invite a host of insects, birds, and other wildlife, establishing an ecological equilibrium that enhances your landscape.


November 9, 2024 (Saturday)

8:45 am – 3:00 pm

YMCA Camp St. Croix, Weyerhaeuser Lodge
532 County Rd F
Hudson WI (map)


8:45-9:00 Light breakfast (coffee/pastries)

9:30-9:35 Welcome 

9:35-9:55 What is a Prairie:  Why plant a prairie, types of prairies native to our area, typical plant species.

9:55-10:00 Questions

Wild Lupine! (Lupinus perennis)

10:00-10:45 How to plant a prairie 

  • Step 1 – Analyze site (soil, slope, amount of sun)
  • Step 2 – Determine approach (herbicide vs. burn and overseed vs. tillage; seeding vs. plugs)
  • Step 3 – Prepare site (what, why, how)
  • Step 4 – Seed and/or plant selection

10:45-11:00 Questions 

11:00-11:15 Break

11:15-12:00 Maintaining your prairie — early and long term

Expectations (this is a multi-year process): how will your prairie develop?

  • Weed Management (the typical kinds of weeds you will face short-term and long term and how to manage) 
  • Burning, mowing, grazing 
  • Is irrigation necessary (or hydroscopic root gels for plugs)?
  • How to reduce predation (birds, rabbits and deer)

12:00-12:15  Questions

12:15-1:00 Lunch (provided) 

1:00-1:45 Ordinances, contractors, and funding

  • DYI vs. hiring a contractor
  • Local Ordinances (burn permits, “weed” ordinances, etc.)
  • SCVC TPE’s burn program
  • Contractor example:  Prairie Restorations, Inc.
  • Funding programs  (Pierce Co NRCS and others)

1:45-2:00 Break

2:00-2:30 Plant plugs and prairie gardens

2:30-3:30 Panel discussion — homeowners’ experiences

  • Group 1 – Bare soil or herbicide whole site
  • Group 2 – Burn and overseed


Click here to register for the workshop

Cost: $40 per person or $60 for two people in the same household. Deadline is October 25.  No walk-ins.  Registration fee is non-refundable.

Light breakfast (coffee, pastries) and lunch provided.

Questions?  Contact Evanne at 715-381-1291 or

Presented by by the St. Croix Valley Chapter of the Prairie Enthusiasts