En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Wednesday - March 03, 2010

From: Burton, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Can you produce hay and bluebonnets on the same field?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Hi - We have a field that produces wild bluebonnets every spring. Is it possible to grow and bail hay in this field and not kill off our bluebonnets? Thank you.

ANSWER:

Yes. 

Bluebonnet seeds sprout in late summer and fall, grow as rosettes flat on the ground through the winter and bolt (grow tall and flower) in March and April.  They quickly form seeds which they scatter in May or early June.

It is a good idea to mow down the dead tops of your bluebonnets as soon as they have released their seeds.  They'll be brown and unsightly by then anyway.  Given some summer rains, you should be able to harvest a hay crop off of your field in the fall.  So long as you mow again before the bluebonnets begin to really spring up in March (you don't want bluebonnets in your hay), you can probably harvest a second, winter crop then.

Bluebonnets do not compete particularly well with grasses - that's why displays on heavily-grazed pastures are often spectacular - so they'll appreciate the hay harvests.  For the most part, they stand up well to being run over by farm equipment so long as they're not mowed down.

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Bluebonnet blooming in July in Leander TX
July 27, 2009 - I have a bluebonnet growing in my front yard in July! Early this year, my son planted the bluebonnet seeds. We did not expect them to grow since we planted them in February/March. One plant grew ...
view the full question and answer

Creating a bluebonnet patch between Brenham and Houston.
April 12, 2009 - I am creating a Bluebonnet patch in a well-drained section of my flowerbed. I just planted the plants (it is now early April and I'm between Houston and Brenham, TX). I plan to let them go to seed ...
view the full question and answer

Healthy native plants supporting local economy from Tacoma Park MD
February 17, 2012 - I am collecting information on how healthy native plant communities can support the local economy. Do you think the Texas bluebonnets are a good example of this in Texas? For example, do you know ma...
view the full question and answer

Red spider mites in native bluebonnets in Austin
April 02, 2008 - What would you do if the WFC bluebonnets developed a bad case of red spider mites? That is what has happened to many of mine here in Austin. I noticed them the other day and I must have been asleep be...
view the full question and answer

Rules for picking wildflowers
May 30, 2008 - I've always heard that, if not in a park or posted area, it is ok to pick one wildflower for every 13 and therefore leave a dozen. Is this at all true?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center