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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - September 16, 2005

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Smarty Plants on Wildflower Meadow Gardening
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Good morning! I want to overseed a buffalo lawn that has been down for about a year with a wildflower mix, how would you recommend that we prepare the site.

ANSWER:

First, I recommend reading our article on Wildflower Meadow Gardening. You may also find useful information in other articles in the Native Plant Information Network Clearinghouse Native Plant Library.

The most important concept to apply when sowing seeds is the essential truth of good soil contact. Since your lawn has been in for a year, there is bound to be quite a bit of grass mulch covering the surface of the soil. Try to get as much of that up as is reasonable. Sow your seed by whatever method you find most effective and then go over the seeded area with a leaf rake -- two or three times is better. The idea here is to get those seeds down onto or slightly into the soil. If no rain occurs in the first few days after sowing, the seeds should be watered in well. Do not mow your buffalo grass in late summer or fall.

Wildflower seed germination is often sporadic and subject to influences outside our control -- weather, insects, disease, etc. Further, a newly sown wildflower meadow typically takes three to five years to become well-established. Sometimes it helps to know this to adjust expectations to reality.
 

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