We have purchased approximately 7 acres of land in North Carolina. A neighbor has been using the land for grazing his cows, but I hope to plant it with wildflowers once we've built a small house. Which plants should I consider and what will be my best plant to convert from the grasses the cows have been eating to a flowering field? I hope to plant at least 5.5 of the acres in native plants and grasses.
To begin, i suggest you visit the Native Plant Library to find an article called "Wildflower Meadow Gardening". This is a 3-page PDF-formatted article that you can download. It has lots of information about preparing and planting your wildflower meadow. Another article in the Native Plant Library that is relevant to your project is "Large Scale Wildflower Planting." On the Regional Fastpacks page, you can select the "Recommended Native Plant Species List" for the Southeast to download as a PDF-formatted file. The list has a column that gives the specific states for each plant. It also is divided into plant groups: Ferns, Grasses, Shrubs, Trees, Vines, and Herbaceous (wildflowers). There is a column for both the scientific and the common name, and a column with comments on the average height of the plant, the bloom color and period, and the ideal light and moisture requirements. Since the "Wildflower Meadow Gardening" article recommends that the makeup of your meadow be 50-80% grasses, you can start by looking at the 14 grasses on the list for North Carolina. You can narrow the list by choosing grasses with growing conditions that best suit your land. You can also see pictures and get more information about each plant by doing a search by scientific or common name on the Native Plants Database. This list also contains herbaceous wildflowers that are suitable for North Carolina. To find sources for native seeds and native plants for the region, visit the National Suppliers Directory.
The North Carolina Native Plant Society also has a list of recommended plants to use for landscaping, as well as a list of invasive plants to avoid and a list of sources for purchasing native plants and seeds.
More Grasses or Grass-like Questions
Weeds in Buffalograss from Edmond OK September 20, 2012 - We have a patch of buffalograss surrounded by patio/flower garden/vegetable garden. We like B-grass, but are getting a lot of weeds despite preemergents, and some bermuda had appeared.
Are there h... view the full question and answer
Native grasses for horse and cattle forage in Hockley, Texas April 03, 2011 - I would like to know the best type of native hay to seed on 10 acres in Hockley, Tx. The hay will be used for forage for horses and a milk cow. We would like to go completely organic and not use any ... view the full question and answer
Native grass mix suitable for Houston December 10, 2009 - Do you have a native grass mix that is appropriate to the Houston area- or will the one you have developed to this point work as well here as it does in Central Texas? If not, when will you begin to ... view the full question and answer
Plants for 60 degree slope in Mobile, AL February 09, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants,I live on an eroding 60 foot bluff in USDA Zone 8A, along Mobile Bay (AL). To address erosion problems we are using a gabion-style product called "Green Terramesh," which is ... view the full question and answer
Winter groundcover for shaded backyard in Austin January 10, 2013 - I live in south Austin and have a shaded backyard. During the summer, the lawn died and the ground is now bare. I'd like to plant some kind of winter grass or ground cover that will hold the soil i... view the full question and answer