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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - July 14, 2013

From: Grand Prairie, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Laws, Pollinators, Wildlife Gardens, Herbs/Forbs, Wildflowers
Title: Neighborhood association wanting wildflowers mowed from Grand Prairie TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

For at least 15 years, I have been fostering growth of wildflowers in 60% of my 90x400' yard which include 150' utility trunkline easement in which I can plant no trees. This year, we had volunteer bluebonnets, galliardia, yellow coneflowers, mexican hats, sunflowers, prairie primrose, cornflowers, rein orchids, Englemann's daisy, horsemint, one milkweed, and at least 5 flowers I have not yet identified. I did pull up and bag the few wild mustards that came up. I am working to pull up yellow thistle and wild carrot, too. Our neighborhood has one member who regularly contacts code enforcement to keep us all in line, so I have received my annual notice of violation with 7 days to mow, as have the owners of a delightful meadow of Texas dandelions. His complaints generally arrive about 5-15 days before the seeds are fully mature. I monitor my prairie meadow at least 2 times daily and am noticing honeybees and numerous varieties of butterflies and dragonflies. There is a low spot that collects water for prolonged periods of time as we are the 2nd lowest lot through which at least 4 acres drain. Native grasses abound where the wildflowers are - buffalo grass and others. Where I have already mowed, I have dallis grass emerging (ugh). As I monitor from year to year, it seems to me that as the weather warms and the flowers fade and go to seed (some of which I gather and donate to our landfill manager), the pollinators are prepared for seasonal changes. Is there any hope or assistance in protecting those creatures important to our survival until the meadow has fully faded and can be mowed without destroying their habitat? I appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.

ANSWER:

We are sorry. Much as we agree with you, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has no legislative nor enforcement power to help you in any way. We have been asked for help in this regard many times, and here is a recent Smarty Plants reply that will pretty well tell you all we know about this. As a matter of fact, as a non-member of your neighborhood, we would probably be told to "get lost" and not in quite so friendly terms. We are glad that there are people out there like you who have the understanding and foresight to understand what we should be doing. We hope you will keep plugging on.

 

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