En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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

Bloom time for Opuntia engelmannii
February 18, 2007 - We are planing a trip to West Texas, El Paso area, in March and can't remember when the prickly pear cactus are in bloom. Can you help!
view the full question and answer

Shallow Rooted Wildflowers for MA
March 25, 2015 - Do you have any suggestions for wildflowers that would be safe to grow on a capped landfill site? They would need to have roots no deeper than 24 inches.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on wildflowers in Wisconsin
June 28, 2004 - May I have information on wildflowers in Wisconsin and how to grow them?
view the full question and answer

Flowering perennials beneath Ashe juniper.
March 25, 2009 - Dear Sir: What type of flowering perennial plants will grow underneath Mountain Cedar and its pine needles? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Is Rudbeckia hirta annual, biennial... or what?
January 20, 2010 - The desciption for Rudbeckia hirta says it is biennial and blooms the second year then further down the page it says it is an annual, which is it? Will I see blooms the first or second year?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center