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

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Tuesday - August 31, 2004

From: Ghent, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Wildlife Gardens
Title: From hay to meadow
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have just acquired a 90 acre farm in the Hudson River Valley and would like to turn some hay fields into natural meadows. One, for example is 20 acres, and has been let go to weed (goldenrod, thistle, milkweed in a dense thicket). Can you direct me to books, web references, etc, which would help me understand how to recover the field and make it a permanent, relatively weed free meadow?

ANSWER:

Allow me to refer you to one of the Wildflower Center's articles entitled "Wildflower Meadow Gardening", found through on-line through our Native Plant Library. Although this is written with the Central Texas gardener in mind, the general suggestions should apply to your meadow. Regarding your local resources: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has a program titled Hudson River Estuary Program Biodiversity Outreach and Technical Assistance Program. The program is developed for community organizations (towns, cities, and villages), & there are several publications listed & links to other organizations that could be useful for your individual project. You might also like to check out the New York Natural Heritage Program. If your property contains any rare plants or animals, it might qualify to be a part of this program. Another organization that supports native plants and landscapes is Wild Ones, Ltd.There is an affiliated New York chapter.
 

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