Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
1 rating

Tuesday - October 18, 2011

From: Brenham, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Meadow Gardens, Planting, Seeds and Seeding, Wildflowers
Title: When to reseed wildflowers in a drought year?
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

My acreage with extensive wildflowers was mowed in 2010 before annuals had seeded. Only a few returned this year. Considering the predicted lonterm drought should I postpone reseeding this fall?

ANSWER:

 

Seeds of Bluebonnets, Gallardia, and many other Texas spring-blooming wildflowers need to germinate in the fall to facilitate development of deep roots and a rosette of leaves over the winter months.  There would not be time enough to do this if the seeds were planted in the spring.  A "good year" for bloom requires some rain during the winter to support rosette formation.  Of course, during a drought there may not be sufficient fall and winter rain to achieve this, so reseeding in the fall does involve some risk.  However, it is a risk that must be taken.  In the event that no rain falls during the winter, many of the seeds will remain ungerminated and will have a second chance the following year.  And if only a few plants do bloom they will at least provide a new seed supply for next year.

I would encourage you to reseed right away and hope for rain in the near future.  Some seeds have already germinated as a result of rain falling in recent weeks. Try to bring the seeds into contact with the mineral soil as much as possible.  This will take full advantage of whatever moisture is available.

Check out this Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center web site for tips on distributing your seeds efficiently.  And pray for rain!

 

More Meadow Gardens Questions

Seeding rates for Florida.
April 09, 2008 - What formula do you recommend for seeding Florida Native Wildflower meadows? I recently read in a text on Western U.S. Wildflower Meadow seeding that: a) ratio would differ if sowing a monoculture ver...
view the full question and answer

Removing St. Augustine, replacing with native plants
October 06, 2007 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants, always excited to talk to the Green Guru himself. I've recently purchased a house in South Austin and am interested in establishing a small, 500+ sq ft, prairie grass and wi...
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

Revegetation of school site with meadow plants from Austin
December 23, 2013 - We are revegetating a hill country school site (typical calciferous soil stripped of vegetation & minimal topsoil) with a native seed mix equal to Native American Seed "Meadow Mix". We have an abund...
view the full question and answer

Use of cedar/juniper mulch in wildflower meadows
August 31, 2013 - What to do with freshly shredded cedar/juniper mulch? We have a pile of freshly ground cedar mulch that we can either keep in a large pile until it has composted(but the neighbors are complaining), or...
view the full question and answer

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