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Mr. Smarty Plants - Timing for mowing wildflower meadow

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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.

 

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