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

Thursday - August 29, 2013

From: Spring Branch, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Meadow Gardens, Seeds and Seeding
Title: Timing for mowing wildflower meadow
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Last spring (2012) we planted a wildflower/shortgrass meadow on a caliche slope surrounding the back of our house. We terraced with rocks and spread some topsoil thinly before sowing the seed. It did very well this year (2013) and had a plethora of standing cypress and other wildflowers. The grasses (buffalo and blue grama are doing well. It is now (late August) looking pretty ratty, ragged and dry. Most things seem to have gone to seed. When can we mow it without damaging the future production of the meadow?

ANSWER:

Congratulations on your meadow!  Please read our How to Articles:   Meadow Gardening and Recreating a Prairie.  They both have information that I think you will find useful.  In particular (and in answer to your question), from the MEADOW GARDENING article under "Managing Your Site After Planting—The first year" you will find:

"Once your meadow wildflowers have bloomed, delay mowing the area until at least half of the late-blooming species has dropped seeds."

There are other articles under LARGE SCALE WILDFLOWER PLANTING that you might also find useful.

 

More Seeds and Seeding Questions

Does Chilopsis linearis, var.Bubba produce seed pods? No.
October 01, 2007 - We have a really beautiful 2-year old Bubba, Desert Willow. It is already about 12 feet tall. I really have two questions. One does the Bubba form the seed pods like the other types of Desert Willows?...
view the full question and answer

Agarita and Mexican Buckeye not flowering or fruiting.
December 11, 2012 - The Greenbelt behind our home has a ton of agarita and Mexican buckeye, but they never bloom or berry. The pigeon berry is very happily doing both all year. Any suggestions for helping the agerita a...
view the full question and answer

Starting Tecoma stans seedlings
February 25, 2013 - I planted and germinated several (about 40) seeds from my Tecoma stans plant and they all sprouted and grew very nicely. They are now about 6 weeks old and they don't seem to be making any more prog...
view the full question and answer

Controlling erosion in Leburn KY
July 21, 2009 - I would really appreciate advice on controlling a serious erosion problem in eastern Kentucky. The slope is north facing, shady and moist with rich soil. Would prefer to use native Kentucky plants. ...
view the full question and answer

Sharing Selfheal with Texas Friends
April 25, 2013 - I have discovered selfheal plants in my yard. When and how do I collect the seeds or do I just dig up plants to share with friends? I understand this is actually an herb. I love identifying wildflower...
view the full question and answer

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