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 - July 25, 2012

From: austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seasonal Tasks, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Using a brush hog on acreage on Bear Creek in Austin, TX.
Answered by: Joe Marcus and Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

We have 8 acres off 1826 situated on Bear Creek. It has open areas with scattered large trees (cedar elm, live oak, white oak). Cedars or junipers only along the the lot lines. We've been told we need to brush hog so as to not mow to closely. How often and when should we mow if we want to maintain the "park like" tree meadow look? How tall or high should we mow?

ANSWER:

Mowing is a good suggestion since,  in central Texas, if you're not grazing your pastures and meadows with livestock, they will soon become juniper/mesquite woodlands.  Research done at the Wildflower Center has shown that periodic mowing or controlled burning is an effective management technique for controlling unwanted shrubs and some grasses and forbs.

Since you live nearby, we would highly recommend that you visit the Wildflower Center's Restoration Research Trail and see for yourselves how different management regimens produce different results.  Since many of our mowed areas are studded with exposed boulders, most of our mowing is done with a slightly different type of mower – a flail mower – but the net result is the same.

If your meadow is not rocky and does not have other hard obstructions to deal with, a regular lawnmower may be used to mow if so desired.  If wildflowers are desirable, a mowing just after most of the spring wildflower seeds have ripened in June or July and another mowing in late fall or early winter works well.  Four to six inches is a good mowing height for most meadows.

You might take a look at our How To Article ”Meadow Gardening” for some ideas about how you can enhance your acreage.

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Cold stratification of Rudbeckcia maxima from Birdeye AR
August 08, 2013 - How long do I cold stratify Rudbeckia maxima seeds that I wild harvested? Can I put them in the freezer instead of fridge? Do I need to make sure they are completely dry before cold strat?
view the full question and answer

A Bounty of Edibles for New Braunfels Texas
October 25, 2013 - I was hoping you could suggest a few plants that would serve several purposes. I live in New Braunfels, TX and would like to incorporate as many drought tolerant plants which would support birds, but...
view the full question and answer

Salvia, geum transplant shock symptoms
July 21, 2006 - I need some help. I transplanted 2 xeriscape plants and they are not doing well. 1 is Pitcher Sage-sorry I don't know botanical name; the other is White Avens. The've grown a lot but all the leave...
view the full question and answer

When to Collect Rudbeckia triloba Seed?
September 13, 2014 - How soon after flowering may I cut Rudbeckia triloba flower heads to save seeds? Do cones need to be attached to the plant in or out of the ground to continue to mature?
view the full question and answer

Shriveling and dying of non-native impatiens
July 14, 2008 - Several years now many of my impatiens after a month or so seem to shrivel up and eventually die. They are planted in a row and not all are affected. I am not noticing any slug evidence which I would...
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