The Gallatin Conservation District wants to attract more beneficial pollinators to our county, but we need your help. You can participate in our Pollinator Initiative program and receive FREE SEED to create pollinator plots from a small backyard plot all the way up to 2,500 square feet!
This program was started by the Lake County Conservation District located in Ronan, MT and has been making it’s way across the state. Montana’s Conservation Districts are motivated to protect pollinator species of all kinds by increasing the amount of pollinator habitat available via pollinator gardens. These gardens provide habitat and food sources for native pollinators and beneficial insects including bees, butterflies, and moths.
With the help of the NRCS Bridger Plant Materials Center, we have designed two pollinator-friendly seed mixes for landowners to use in creating their pollinator gardens, a Native mix and a Non-Native Mix. Both mixes include flowers with different colors, shapes, heights, and bloom times to attract a wide variety of pollinators and provide a food source all season long. A small percentage of grasses are included with both pollinator seed mixes to serve as pollinator nesting material and to help compete with weeds.
Our Native mix includes wildflowers that are native to southwestern Montana. We opted to keep the grass (Indian Rice Grass) separate from the Native Mix. The grass can be broadcast seeded with the mix or near the mix.
Our Non-Native mix includes wildflowers that are not native to Montana, BUT they do well in our climate and serve as beneficial pollinator habitat. These plants do not become noxious weeds. The Non-Native mix was created for locations that may need to compete with noxious weeds or for larger field plots. The grasses have been pre-mixed within the Non-Native mix to further help the mix compete with weeds.
Check out the Seed Mixes from the links below:
Native Pollinator Seed Mix
Non-Native Pollinator Seed Mix
To participate in the program and to receive free pollinator seed mix, landowners will need to sign an agreement committing to proper site prep (which we’ll advise you on), long-term maintenance, and allowing us to occasionally survey the site and take photos to help us improve our seed mixes in the future. Our seed mixes are packaged in 100 sq ft, 500 sq ft, and 1,500 sq ft increments, but landowners can receive any amount of seed up to 2,500 sq ft.
Gallatin Conservation District will work with landowners to:
- Select an appropriate site
- Provide guidance on site preparation
- Optimize timing of planting
- Determine maintenance needs
The success of any new seeding is largely dependent upon the condition of the seedbed into which it is seeded. A clean, weed-free seedbed is critical for optimizing success. To determine what site preparation will be needed, please see the Planting Guide for step-by-step instructions on preparing your site (linked below).
For additional information on creating and enhancing habitat for pollinator insects, check out the NRCS Biology Technical Note linked below.
Interested in participating in the Pollinator Initiative? Just fill out the interest form (below) and submit it to our office by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or mail: 120 S 5th St, Suite B104, PO Box 569, Manhattan, MT 59741. We’ll contact you with next steps!