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2016 Plant Materials Publications Highlights

Graphic image of 2016 Plant Materials Program publications highlights banner.

What do irrigation pivot corners, native milkweeds and trees have in common?
Pollinator habitat

The NRCS Plant Materials Program selects conservation plants and develops innovative planting technology to address today's natural resource challenges and maintain healthy and productive farms and ranches.  The program includes 25 Plant Materials Centers (PMC) operated by NRCS Plant Materials Specialists, cooperating programs operated by others, and many federal, state, and local partners.

PMCs develop vegetative solutions for natural resource concerns such as soil stabilization, soil health and productivity, and water quality. They also focus on national priorities such as enhancement of pollinator habitat and directly support the NRCS mission by providing scientifically-sound plant information and tools used by NRCS conservation planners and partners. 

PMCs are working to select plants and provide recommendations on plants which will enhance pollinator populations throughout the growing season. These wildflowers, trees, shrubs, and grasses are an integral part of the conservation practices that landowners, farmers, and ranchers install as part of their conservation plan. This plant science technology is made available through a variety of technical resources.

Highlighted below are three technical publications, relating to pollinator habitat developed, in 2016. Similar publications can be found online at Pollinator Habitat ResourcesTechnical Publications by Topic and Publications by Plant Materials Center.

Cover image of the Pollinator Plants for the Desert Southwest, Native Milkweeds publication

Pollinator Plants for the Desert Southwest, Native Milkweeds

The Desert Southwest harbors at least 41 of the 76 milkweed (Asclepias spp.) species known to exist in the lower 48 states. The nectar of milkweed flowers is attractive to dozens of insects including bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds. The bees that milkweed flowers attract to agricultural landscapes are important for pollinating a wide variety of vegetable forage and fruit crops.

TN-PM-16-1-AZ, Pollinator Plants of the Desert Southwest, Native Milkweeds (PDF; 4.4 MB) Nabhan, G.P., University of Arizona; Buckley, S., National Park Service; Dial, H., USDA-NRCS Arizona 2015. USDA NRCS Tucson Plant Materials Center. Tucson, Arizona. November 2015. 36p. (ID# 12744). 

Cover image of the Beneficial Trees Publication

Beneficial Trees for Wildlife

The purpose of this technical note is to assist conservation planners and land managers by providing basic tree establishment information and a list of beneficial wildlife trees when they are planning wildlife and pollinator habitat in east Texas, western Louisiana, southwestern Arkansas, and southeastern Oklahoma.  A list of beneficial trees (by species) for wildlife and pollinators is included in this technical note. The purpose of the list is to provide tree species information for conservation planners and land managers when they develop a wildlife habitat plan.

Beneficial Trees for Wildlife (PDF; 1.1 MB) Melinda Brakie 2016. ETPMC. Nacogodches, Texas. August 5, 2016. 20p. (ID# 12910). 

Cover image of What to do With Irrigation Pivot Corners? publication

What to do With Irrigation Pivot Corners?

In 1948, center pivot irrigation was invented as a means to improve water distribution in crop fields. This was a great improvement in water distribution compared to flood irrigation, however, center pivots have created a new dilemma: the pivot corner. Pivot corners are troublesome. Square parcels with a circular system leave unused corners that can amount to 15 to 20% of the available area in a square parcel. The result is a large portion of unused ground that could be used to help bring in pollinators, insects, wind breaks or other beneficial practices. 

WNTSC Plant Materials Technical Note No. 1: What to do with Irrigation Pivot Corners (PDF; 493 KB) Tilley, D., Winger, M., Koziol, D. 2016. Idaho Plant Materials Program. Portland, OR. 3/29/16. 8p. (ID# 12822).