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Saturday - August 18, 2012

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Meadow Gardens, Seasonal Tasks, Grasses or Grass-like, Wildflowers
Title: Mowing frequency of native lawn from Georgetown TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have a native grass and wildflower lawn. At what frequency and when should the lawn be mowed?


What you have is a Meadow Garden. Please follow our the link to our How-To article on that subject.

This answer would vary if you lived in, say, Minnesota, there would be a different time frame with respect to climate. But in Central Texas, we can give you a better idea. You didn't say what native grass you have. If you have lots of sun, it is probably either Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss) or a mix of that with Bouteloua gracilis (Blue grama) and Hilaria belangeri (Curly mesquite grass).

Please read our How-To Article on Native Lawns: Buffalograss. Note this paragraph in that article:

"Established buffalograss lawns should be mowed occasionally, but never shorter than three inches. Mowing at least once a year will ensure a healthier lawn, the best time being late winter before new growth begins. If not mowed periodically, an established lawn will become choked and decline after several years. If you like a clean, uniform look, you may want to mow more often."

You might also have a fairly newly developed Habiturf in your lawn. Here is extensive information on that grass: Habiturf: The Ecological Lawn.

 Information about mowing from those articles:

We suggest a 3 to 4 inch cut for a great-looking, dense turf, resistant to weeds and light to moderate foot traffic. However, a 6- inch cut will produce a beautiful deeper lawn with a few seed heads if watered. Mow once every 3 to 5 weeks when growing and not at all when drought or cold dormant. Mowing shorter —2 inches or less— will damage your lawn's health. Conversely, not mowing at all through the growing season will produce a longer turf (8 inches or so high) with a lower density. This may be acceptable depending on how you use your lawn. However, allowing the grass to seed-out once a year, perhaps when you go on vacation, guarantees a good seed bank - insurance against drought, heavy foot traffic and weeds. It also provides high habitat value.

Make sure that the lawn overwinters as a think lush turf greater than 4 inches high. Observations have clearly shown that this dramatically reduces weeds the following spring – such as clover, dandelions and thistles. This mean that the last mow should be a high (> 4 inches) mow and no later than Mid-October."

It would appear to us that mowing schedules for these grasses is pretty flexible, which means you could choose the mowing time based on what the wildflowers need. Best practice, mow them after they have dropped their seeds, usually in the Fall.


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