Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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 - 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 Seasonal Tasks Questions

Bermuda, not the only option in Memphis
November 04, 2014 - I'm building an energy efficient home in Memphis and want to extend that strategy to the landscaping. I'd like to plant native grasses, but this lot is surrounded by lots sodded with Bermuda grass....
view the full question and answer

Cutting Juncus effusus back from Bellevue WA
November 18, 2010 - I read your posts about Juncus effusus and just have one follow-up question. When is the best time to cut them back to the ground - before winter or early spring? I live in the Pacific NW. I recent...
view the full question and answer

When should I remove the stakes from Oak trees planted last november in Kyle, TX?
August 18, 2010 - I live in Kyle TX. I have new construction of oak trees that are about 10 feet tall and are staked. How long should they stay staked? They were put in the ground about Thanksgiving 2009. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Vinegar as a Herbicide
March 08, 2012 - When can you use vinegar on weeds to get rid of them.
view the full question and answer

Will a Norfolk pine survive winter in Houston
May 29, 2008 - If I transplant a Norfolk pine in the summer, or when is the best time, will it survive the winter growing in Houston Tx? Can you give me some suggestions for fast growing vines facing the front of my...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.