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 Seasonal Tasks Questions

Germination of bluebonnet seeds in Hempstead, TX
April 01, 2008 - We scattered 20 lbs of bluebonnet seeds on our property near Hempstead. Only about 10 plants have come up even though on another part of the property we have thousands. It is well drained and in sun....
view the full question and answer

Leaves on 3 year old maple turning brown in Lebo, KS.
July 16, 2011 - Hello, one of our five Maple trees which is is 3 yrs. old now, we saw a week ago that the leaves started turning brown and dropping. My question is: Will the tree survive this and return healthy next ...
view the full question and answer

High mowing equipment for Llano TX
November 03, 2012 - We're trying to follow your wildflower meadow recommendation "if your meadow has tall, warm-season native grasses, wait until late summer or early fall to mow, allowing them to elongate, flower, and...
view the full question and answer

Winter pruning for yucca in Michigan
November 10, 2008 - I live in SE Michigan and have an outdoor yucca plant that has grown quite large. My father tells me that I can literally cut it down to the ground in the fall and that it will grow back the followin...
view the full question and answer

What is considered mid-winter in Austin, TX
April 03, 2007 - This question was submitted, but I am unsure of the dates the answer is indicating. When is mid-winter? Question: When should I cut back (and how far should I cut back) the following plants in ...
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