Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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 - July 02, 2013

From: Bastrop, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Meadow Gardens, Planting, Seasonal Tasks, Seeds and Seeding, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Wildflowers
Title: Recreating a wildflower meadow, central Texas
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

We have an acre on our property that has bluebonnets. Unfortunately, it also has other plants that we don't want -Johnson grass, nettles, burrs. We plan to do a controlled burn in the fall and re-seed. Can we wait to grass seed in the spring or will we see uninvited seeds take root?

ANSWER:

We commend you for your intention to create an improved wildflower meadow.  The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center web site has a number of useful tips for achieving your goal.

Recreating a meadow : 

Meadow gardening tips:

Soil preparation:

It would be good to remove as many of the undesirable plant seeds this summer before they mature.  Some are not destroyed by a controlled burn and will germinate in the spring.  Wildflower seeds that you might want to add should be distributed in the fall.  Many of them will germinate with the (hopeful) fall and winter rains and be well rooted by spring.  Native grasses can be planted in the winter also or in early spring.  It might be more convenient to plant grass seed in the fall along with the wildflowers.  It is important for the seeds to have direct contact with mineral soil.  This should be easily done on the burned field, especially if you drag a rake or chain over the area to help drop the seed down onto the soil.

You can purchase seeds from local nurseries.  Some, e.g., Native American Seed, have a number of mixtures of grasses and forbs well suited for your area.  Information on individual grass species is available on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center web site Native Plant Database by typing in the plant name.  On this web page you can also find the recommended plant species for your area.

I attach below images of some of the most common native grasses for central Texas.

 

 

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Little bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Curly mesquite grass
Hilaria belangeri

Indiangrass
Sorghastrum nutans

Texas grama
Bouteloua rigidiseta

Sideoats grama
Bouteloua curtipendula

Inland sea oats
Chasmanthium latifolium

Eastern gamagrass
Tripsacum dactyloides

Switchgrass
Panicum virgatum

More Wildflowers Questions

Wildflowers of April wedding in Liberty Hill TX
September 02, 2015 - We are planning a wedding for April 9 in Liberty Hill, TX (78642) and live on several acres. We would like to plant wildflowers on the land to use for bouquets and centerpieces. Could you please recom...
view the full question and answer

Shade and Drought Tolerant Plants for Idaho Shade
March 18, 2016 - I am looking for plants native to Idaho and/or the surrounding region (zone 6 or 7) that would do well in full shade conditions (adjacent to the north side of our house) and meet several criteria: Max...
view the full question and answer

The most common wildflower in the United States
July 29, 2014 - What is the most common wildflower in the United States?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on wildflower meadow gardening
December 08, 2004 - My local elementary school in Decatur, Texas (north central) has an open field of wonderful wildflowers in front of it. This year, they were mowed before the flowers went to seed. What is a good rul...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for a pond in MO
September 10, 2011 - I have a spring fed pond in Missouri and would like to plant perennial wildflowers in the area around it. Are there any that would do better or others that are not recommended? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

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