Getting Started

seamommy(7bTX)October 25, 2006

Well, I already have a natural meadow of sorts, but I wanted to introduce a few new native flowers to the area. The instructions I got from Wildflower Farms recommends killing all the existing vegetation in order to eliminate the weeds, but I don't want to wipe out the verbena, Indian paintbrush and the little white flowers(I don't know what they are) because they are very nice, just very sparse. I mostly have buffalo grass, agave and bluestem.

The advice I got seems very wrong to me. In fact, looking at the area yesterday I can see seedlings of wildflowers already starting and most are about 1/2 to 3/4" tall already. Since I'm looking at an area of a little over an acre on a gentle east-facing slope, I'm not thinking about hand weeding either.

So my question is, would raking the area lightly to remove grass thatch be enough to provide wildflower seeds a toe-hold? One book I have been reading recommends adding amendments to the soil, but I also thought that the wildflowers did better in the natural soil. So what works best? I'm in zone 7b, about 20 miles west of Fort Worth, Texas, rocky soil and light rainfall in summer and sometimes heavy rains in winter.


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ahughes798(z5 IL)

This link will be an excellent resource to help get you started.

Do not amend your soil, native plants don't need it. The best way to get rid of thatch is to do a burn, if possible. I think raking would probably work, but that's a lot of raking! April

Here is a link that might be useful: The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 3:19PM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

I wouldn't kill all the existing vegetation if there are desirable species growing there either.

Over an acre is alot of raking..., though it would work. You could also do a burn (carefully) ... or you could mow it short and do a slit seeding and keep it mowed for a couple years to give the seedlings a chance to grow.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 5:16PM
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ladyslppr(z6 PA)

If you have a decent cover of mostly native plants, then you can add new flowers by adding plants or seeds of the new things you want. For each new species pick an area and either sneak your new plants in among the existing ones or clear an area (preferably an area that has plants you want to get rid of) and plant a small patch of the new ones.

If the new plants are well suited to your site they will either survive where you placed them or spread around the area. If they aren't well suited they will die out after a year or two.

I agree, I wouldn't kill all the existing plants unless you have mainly undesirable plants. You seem to have mostly desirable ones.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 9:47PM
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