Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

Tuesday - July 02, 2013

From: Bastrop, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Meadow Gardens, Planting, Seasonal Tasks, Seeds and Seeding, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Wildflowers
Title: Recreating a wildflower meadow, central Texas
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

We have an acre on our property that has bluebonnets. Unfortunately, it also has other plants that we don't want -Johnson grass, nettles, burrs. We plan to do a controlled burn in the fall and re-seed. Can we wait to grass seed in the spring or will we see uninvited seeds take root?

ANSWER:

We commend you for your intention to create an improved wildflower meadow.  The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center web site has a number of useful tips for achieving your goal.

Recreating a meadow : 

Meadow gardening tips:

Soil preparation:

It would be good to remove as many of the undesirable plant seeds this summer before they mature.  Some are not destroyed by a controlled burn and will germinate in the spring.  Wildflower seeds that you might want to add should be distributed in the fall.  Many of them will germinate with the (hopeful) fall and winter rains and be well rooted by spring.  Native grasses can be planted in the winter also or in early spring.  It might be more convenient to plant grass seed in the fall along with the wildflowers.  It is important for the seeds to have direct contact with mineral soil.  This should be easily done on the burned field, especially if you drag a rake or chain over the area to help drop the seed down onto the soil.

You can purchase seeds from local nurseries.  Some, e.g., Native American Seed, have a number of mixtures of grasses and forbs well suited for your area.  Information on individual grass species is available on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center web site Native Plant Database by typing in the plant name.  On this web page you can also find the recommended plant species for your area.

I attach below images of some of the most common native grasses for central Texas.

 

 

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Curly mesquite grass
Hilaria belangeri

Eastern gamagrass
Tripsacum dactyloides

Switchgrass
Panicum virgatum

More Seasonal Tasks Questions

Winter trimming and shaping of native perennials
November 08, 2006 - Granted, it's a bit early, but for planning purposes: What is the best care for shrub-like woody perennials, like Lantana, Copper Canyon Daisy, Salvia greggii, Chile Pequin, Eupatorium wrightii, Pav...
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

Pruning cherry laurel in January in Austin
January 07, 2011 - Do trust I checked Q&A first. Can Cherry Laurel shrubs be pruned earlier than late winter in Austin? I foolishly planted 12 native Cherry Laurel standards on our suburban property line 5 years ago. I ...
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnets planted in late spring bloom, will they bloom again?
February 06, 2008 - New to South Texas & we decided to plant bluebonnets around our house. The seeds were planted in late spring & we were delighted to watch them start their initial growth-cycle. They ultimately produc...
view the full question and answer

Time for seeding wildflower seeds in Castle Rock CO
October 03, 2011 - I live in Castle Rock, CO. When is the best time to plant wildflower seed?
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.