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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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Wednesday - July 28, 2010

From: Covington, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Maintenance of a wildflower garden in Covington, GA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a small wildflower meadow in my backyard in southern Newton County, Georgia. The area has a 17% slope and is surrounded by mixed a stand of hard and soft woods. This year the spring and early summer flowers looked great, but now that the black-eyed susan are going to seed, weeds and small trees are taking over. Can I do a late summer mowing to get rid of the weeds? Should I sow additional wildflower seeds if I do mow? Any help would be appreciated.

ANSWER:

First, read our How-To Article Meadow Gardening. It really answers all your questions. You will absolutely have to be vigilant about woody plants and weeds moving into a wildflower meadow, or they will take over, and you will have larger plants and trees shading out your wildflowers. When the plants you are trying to preserve have seeded, you can certainly mow. You can mow again in the late Winter when the seedlings are low, setting your mower at a higher cutting distance. Whether or not you sow more seeds is entirely up to you, perhaps doing so to add diversity to your selection of wildflowers or just to ensure having the ones you like best. It will become self-perpetuating if, and only if, you mow and remove (without using herbicides) those plants and trees that don't belong. 

 

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