En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Overseeding native wildflower seeds as opposed to herbicides

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

Thursday - August 10, 2006

From: Phenix , AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Overseeding native wildflower seeds as opposed to herbicides
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Greetings from Alabama, We would like to "roundup" approx 2 A and plant some wildflower (s) that would TAKE OVER. We have 20 A and over half is in mixed woods. Pine, oak, sweetgum, and ???. Do you have any suggestions? Are there any wildflowers that will return if we use pre-emergence fertilizer?

ANSWER:

You may have a misperception about the way nature works. Plants fill niches that provide both the opportunity and the conditions for success. The large-scale use of herbicides typically result in successful growth of what we generally consider to be weedy, undesirable species and less succesful development of more desirable wildflowers.

You asked about two different types of herbicides. Roundup is the tradename of an herbicide containing the active ingredient glyphosate. It is a contact herbicide which works on green, growing plants. Pre-emergent herbicides prevent germinating seeds from growing. Whether you use either, both or none of these herbicides will largely depend on what you are trying to control and what stage of growth it's in. Often it is possible to obtain the desired results without using any herbicides at all. The application of herbicides often results in disturbed conditions similar to tilling which provide the perfect conditions for most of the noxious weeds you will encounter.

It is often better to overseed with desirable wildflower species to provide the best opportunity for them to become established. A wildflower seed mix designed for your area will contain some species that will successfully become established - sometimes spectacularly so - others that will be less successful and a few that will fail completely. However, by overseeding you are far less likely to create a two-acre haven for cocklebur, beggarticks or rattlepod.

The article Wildflower Meadows can be found in the NPIN Native Plant Library.

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Curling, Red Leaves on Gaura
July 18, 2013 - My gaura had most of its lower leaves turn red and then fall off. It is July now, I bought and planted it in May where it seemed to do really well growing several more inches tall and blooming nicely....
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnets in memorial garden in cemetery
April 11, 2008 - When is the peak time to scatter bluebonnet seeds? I have a loved one that recently died, and she requested that her body be cremated. She would like her ashes to be mixed with bluebonnet seeds and ...
view the full question and answer

Central Texas wildflowers
March 20, 2004 - How do I propagate specific central Texas wildflowers?
view the full question and answer

Landscaping in Bertram TX
September 25, 2009 - I have a landscaping job in Bertram, Texas and am looking for all my options as far as full and partial shade somewhat hardy plants. I'm mainly looking for small plants and pretty flowers I can do wi...
view the full question and answer

Franciscans and bluebonnets
October 05, 2007 - I always thought the bluebonnets were native to Texas. However, I'm reading a book on the Missions of Old Texas and the author states the Franciscan brought into Texas the horse, cow, honey bees ...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center