Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Wildflower field for sewage leach field from Olga Washington
August 01, 2012 - I am interested in planting a large native wildflower field at a resort in the San Juan Islands in Washington State. It would be over a sewage leach field for many cabins and bathrooms. Are there any ...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for floodplain near Denton, TX
March 22, 2015 - Hello, I am a member of my HOA board and am researching the possibility of filling in our floodplains with wildflowers. Currently the floodplains are grass only and span a few acres. Our goal is to t...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower garden for a drain field in Olivet MI
June 27, 2010 - I have a large area that is currently lawn over a drain field. I would like to turn this area into a wild flower garden. Will the wild flower roots, etc. cause any concerns or damages to a drain fie...
view the full question and answer

Flowering plant for hillside in Brookings OR
April 16, 2009 - We live on the Chetco river and the bank in front of the house is on a hill. What would be a flowering plant that would maintain the integrity of the hill?
view the full question and answer

Improving Bluebonnet seed contact with soil
November 06, 2015 - I have a five acre field in Blanco County, much of which is covered by bluebonnets. There are several species of native grasses as well. Would it be beneficial to disk or otherwise disturb the soil ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.