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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.

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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.

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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!

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Thursday - February 13, 2014

From: Chappell Hill, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seasonal Tasks, Seeds and Seeding, Wildflowers
Title: Latest time to mow bluebonnets from Chappell Hill TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

The past few years, my bluebonnets have been overwhelmed by tall grass. I could have solved this by mowing later, but I was always afraid of mowing new bluebonnet plants. When is the latest time I can safely mow without cutting young bluebonnet plants?

ANSWER:

Late Fall. The Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) are probably already up, preparing to bloom soon and then go to seed in the Summer. If you absolutely must mow now, you will sacrifice the seedlings for this Summer's growth, blooms and seeds for next year. There will be some residual seeds in the soil which will probably sprout next year, and they will likely do better without all the shade and competition from the grasses. However, if you mow now you will lose this spring's bloom and therefore this fall's seeds and should not expect much next year.  You might even have to reseed - you really need to let the plants do their own job of seeding.

 

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