If want to have a natural look to replace some of your lawn, consider learning how to grow a wildflower meadow. This type of landscaping requires much less water and fertilizer than lawns and rarely, if ever, needs mowing.
Proper preparation is essential to the success of your meadow. first remove grass and woods and cut existing vegetation close to the ground. Till soil, water thoroughly and cover with sheets of clear plastic for two to six weeks. This will solarize the soil and kill weed seeds. After removing the plastic, till the area, water and wait two weeks for any remaining weeds to germinate.
After the soil is free of weeds, spread up to two inches of compost over the selected area, moisten lightly and till into the top three to six inches of soil. Rake until smooth.
Selecting the correct seed mix is essential. Most natural landscape seed mixtures contain native grasses along with annual and perennial. Determine whether you would like such a mixture or something heavy on flowering plants. Also pay attention to sun, soil and climate conditions and choose mixtures that will thrive in your area. Be aware that mixes that contain only wildflowers will require reseeding within a couple of years.
For best results, sow seeds in mid to late summer as this will eliminate many of the weeds that often wreak havoc with spring plantings. Plant perennial and grass mixtures for best results. Annual wildflower mixtures are better sown in spring. No matter when you plant, use a broadcast spreader and sow seeds at a rate recommended for the mix. After the seeds are spread, rake them gently into the top inch of soil. Keep the soil moist for the first growing season and pull invasive weeds, tree and shrub seedlings as they appear. Add to the mix in subsequent years as bare spots appear, particularly when annuals begin to die out. Many mixtures contain annuals such as bachelor’s buttons and cosmos because they often self-sow.
Don’t get fancy. For best results for a low-maintenance and natural-looking meadow, don’t purchase mixes for areas other than your local habitat. Follow us at Pushing Daisies for the best advice in growing flowers and vegetables.