En Español

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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - August 29, 2013

From: Spring Branch, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Meadow Gardens, Seeds and Seeding
Title: Timing for mowing wildflower meadow
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Last spring (2012) we planted a wildflower/shortgrass meadow on a caliche slope surrounding the back of our house. We terraced with rocks and spread some topsoil thinly before sowing the seed. It did very well this year (2013) and had a plethora of standing cypress and other wildflowers. The grasses (buffalo and blue grama are doing well. It is now (late August) looking pretty ratty, ragged and dry. Most things seem to have gone to seed. When can we mow it without damaging the future production of the meadow?

ANSWER:

Congratulations on your meadow!  Please read our How to Articles:   Meadow Gardening and Recreating a Prairie.  They both have information that I think you will find useful.  In particular (and in answer to your question), from the MEADOW GARDENING article under "Managing Your Site After Planting—The first year" you will find:

"Once your meadow wildflowers have bloomed, delay mowing the area until at least half of the late-blooming species has dropped seeds."

There are other articles under LARGE SCALE WILDFLOWER PLANTING that you might also find useful.

 

More Meadow Gardens Questions

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

Herbicide use in bluebonnet field in Blanco, TX
April 10, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have the best of both worlds and the worst of both worlds. Iíve been throwing bluebonnet seeds for 6 years on our property near Blanco, and when it rains, as it has this year...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers to complement Mexican hat in Texas
October 22, 2015 - We have 10 acres in Driftwood that has Mexican Hat pretty much everywhere that is not shaded. We are looking to add additional wildflowers to them in order to have color earlier and later in the seas...
view the full question and answer

Preparing for planting wildflower meadow in Austin
January 02, 2012 - We are in the midst of prepping beds for wildflower plantings in the spring. We spent the last month pulling up our existing lawn and invasive grasses so we are now wondering how to secure the beds f...
view the full question and answer

Prairie and wetland restoration in Nebraska
July 20, 2007 - We recently bought property south of Crawford,NE near the Pine Ridge area. It has been grazed by horses for years. We'd like to restore the native grasses and flowers. I have no idea where to begi...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center