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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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Monday - January 02, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Meadow Gardens, Wildflowers
Title: Preparing for planting wildflower meadow in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We are in the midst of prepping beds for wildflower plantings in the spring. We spent the last month pulling up our existing lawn and invasive grasses so we are now wondering how to secure the beds for the next few months until we can plant wildflower seeds. Do we put a weed barrier down and then plant wildflower seeds above? If so, how much soil would we need on top of the weed barrier? Or, should we place some plastic down for now until we can plant in the spring? I am concerned about the invasive grasses returning and then needing to spend additional time removing them again. Thank you for your time, Shannon Wise

ANSWER:

We are a little puzzled about the best way to answer your question because, ordinarily, wildflowers are planted in the Fall in Central Texas. For example, bluebonnets are already producing rosettes from the seeds they dropped in late Summer, and will be blooming before February 1. It is always advisable to plant seeds at approximately the same time as the parent plant would have been dropping those seeds.

So, since some very good material has already been written by people smarter than we are about this kind of gardening, we are going to refer you to some information from the Wildflower Center and other sources on Meadow Gardening, which is what we believe you want to do. You may have to revise your timing or change your plant selection in order to fit in with the needs of native wildflowers, but once you get everything going, it should work out. This is a lot of reading with some repetition, but we hope you will take advantage of it. Here are some of the references we would like you to look at:

How-To Articles:

A guide to native plant gardening

Caring for your new native plants

Gardening Timeline

How to grow bluebonnets

Large scale wildflower planting - getting started

Meadow gardening

Seed collecting and storage

Previous Mr. Smarty Plants Answers:

Getting rid of invasive grasses

Eliminating grasses for native plants

Replacing grass with native grasses and wildflowers

 

 

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