Mow the wildflowers each year in late fall. There’s a technique to using one that is easy on the back muscles and keeps your ankles safe from lacerations. Once the grass and flowers have been allowed to grow, the key to maintaining your mini-meadow is through your diary of mowing. In March / April of the first year of sowing your wildflower seed, make sure there is sufficient material to mow – your wildflowers / grasses should be at a height of 10cm. Wildflowers paint a pastoral picture in your garden, whether you plant a small bed of wildflowers or an entire field. I do need to empty the grass box quite frequently and I have to run over the area several times to get all the bits that have been squashed down – but it’s do-able. You can use a vacuum mower when cutting weeds, but never use a vacuum mower to cut the wildflowers after the flowers set seed. Unless you want to preserve seed heads for flower arranging and bird seed. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. Mow the wildflower area close to the ground. Depending on the type of mower, you might be able to adjust the mower deck or wheels to achieve the ... 2. Fall Mowing and Cleanup: If a neat appearance is desired after the wildflowers have gone to seed, mow them to a height of four to six inches. Mowing also weakens and ultimately kills scrub like plants – tree saplings and woody plants that have set seed and grown in the area. Unfortunately we can't follow this advice ourselves as I have to hire the mowing kit! In March / April of the first year of sowing your wildflower seed, make sure there is sufficient material to mow – your wildflowers / grasses should be at a height of 10cm. Mowing ground crew leaders or district managers consult Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center expert for advice about when to mow each year. Weeds should not be a problem by then. Failing to do it at the right time can lead to a loss of flowers or excess in competing grass growth. Some birds nest in larger meadows, so don’t mow until after the beginning of August. Set the mower height to 6 inches or higher. Remove the weeds by raking at … More and more people are letting the grass grow under their feet to help wildlife to thrive in our gardens. When the grasses have turned brown, the oxeye daisies have fallen over and most of the flowers disappeared, it’s time. New meadows. I’m writing this in late July. Following the last cut of the season, all meadows can be kept mown to keep the grass short and neat through the winter is desired. So – I’ve mown the rough bits into paths and clearings and left clumps of colour. Strimmers – the ones with the cords – bash the plants into little pieces and spread debris all over the place. What can I say about this picture? So you need an alternative tool to the strimmer. Loosen soil of bare areas and provide adequate weed control and supplemental irrigation as needed. Make sure the blades are sharp. Try to resist cutting until at least the middle of July – or even into early September if you can. In this short video clip from Gardeners’ World, Monty Don shows you his thriving one-year-old wildflower meadow, and demonstrates how to shear it and mow it, then compost the clippings. Nature’s way is to have dead vegetation recycled into more plant nutrients. Cutting a meadow helps maintain a diverse mix of flowers and grasses and depending on the timing of cut can allow a gardener to manipulate the range of wildflowers that thrive. That’s ideal if you want to return nutrients to the soil, but the whole ethos of meadow management is to stop that happening. Mow the wildflowers once monthly in the first year after planting seeds to control weeds while the seedlings establish themselves. Lawn mowers don’t let that happen. Most lawn mowers won’t tackle very long vegetation. When mowing down your wildflowers, use the highest setting of your brush mower or lawnmower. Mowing plays an important part in all of these things. If it's an abandoned field, brush hog the area first before mowing more closely with a lawn mower, if possible. Once you have cleaned up the wildflower meadow and pulled bothersome weeds, continue backyard meadow care by mowing the meadow to about 4 to 6 inches – usually about two weeks after the wildflowers wilt and turn brown. Failing to do it at the right time can lead to a loss of flowers or excess in competing grass growth. For a very small area, hand shears are ideal. Come spring, I mow everything down and make sure it’s ready to sprout new growth. As summer wildflowers fade and the grasses start to flop, we’re sharing out thoughts on when to cut a wildflower lawn. Begin rototilling 6 weeks before you want to plant, and then allow the weeds to grow. This (in theory) suppresses the grasses so that they do not outcompete our flowering plants. Several people have anecdotally reported that they have success saving nests by practicing the art of close observation of their fields. There are teasels, mullein, wild carrot and yarrow blooming their socks off. Cut 1: Early Spring / March. It’s difficult to describe in writing, but as a gardener, you “just know”. Remove plastic or other mulch materials and rake off any loose tree roots, leaves, cover crop residues, etc. A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. As gardeners, we know that our soil is probably already too rich to sustain many wildflower species, so we aim to break the cycle in order to continually create better growing conditions for our wild flowers. Knowing when to cut your meadow is key to a sucessful wildlife garden. This year, the species mix is a little different – Nature’s doing, not mine – and so I’ve changed my tactics. cut down) the wildflower stems, making sure not to disturb the greenery of any biennial … Use a lawn mower with the grass box on. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites. Long-term Management. Never mow the wildflowers before they set seeds or there won't be seeds for new flowers to grow next season. A wildflower meadow changes appearance almost weekly. This means that each time vegetation growth reaches 10-12 inches, it should be mowed to 4-6 inches. Be sure to remove every last clipping. While removing the clippings contributes to an even neater appearance, you risk removing the seeds from the ground in the process. When to cut a wildflower meadow. I hate to be a party-pooper but my number one rule for meadow maintenance is “Leave the strimmer in the shed”. Several people have anecdotally reported that they have success saving nests by practicing the art of close observation of their fields. Also, mowing too late in the season will remove vital nesting cover for earlyspring, as well as remove the aes… Leave the wildflower clippings on the ground to protect the seeds and provide organic matter to break down into the soil for added nutrients. At the moment, there are some spent flower heads but plenty more in bloom. Many people prefer the vibrant, long lasting colors that are provided by annuals. Mature establishment of perennial wildflowers will occur in three to five years. Carefully mow around such plants until they’ve shed seed and you could have an orchard meadow brimming with naturally occurring bee, spotted, pyramidal and butterfly orchids after 15–20 years. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. If you prefer a more polished look in the garden, or live in an area that won’t allow you to keep wildflowers up through the winter, you can definitely mow them down. Rake old growth up and remove to ensure new … Whether you use seeds or plants (marked with sticks or plant labels), the main task the first season after planting is mowing. Sow a mix of wild grass and wild flower seed. Definitely finish before the end of August. Never scalp wild flowers – the lowest you should allow the sward to get is 10cm (4 inches). Unfortunately we can't follow this advice ourselves as I have to hire the mowing kit! If you'd like it to look neat and tidy, then you may want to 'cut back' (i.e. In mid to late summer just one look will tell you when it’s time to mow your meadow. If you have time, pick them up, shake them and turn them over a couple of times during the drying period. If your wildflowers are at this height, mow to 7cm no later than mid-April, as this will delay their blooming process. Another idea I had is to try weed-eating around the Salvia and maybe take out some more of that grass than I can't get to with the mower. I just assumed mowing them would be bad. The vacuum mower sucks the plant material, including the seeds, into a bag instead of broadcasting them across the ground. The tool that is on my wish list though, is one of those long handled hedge trimmers. If you don't have an adjustable lawn mower, use hedge shears or a weed trimmer to trim the weeds in the first year of growth. After the initial cost of establishment, these plantings will save you money and time as you will not have to fertilize, mow, and rake that portion of your … When is the best time to mow so that my wildflowers return next year? It looks awesome. But, where there were mainly grasses and oxeye daisies, vetch and plantains – it looks a bit rough. If mowing of the area is necessary, wait until late fall after … Cut 1: Early Spring / March. 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