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first year autumn care. No clue.

Posted by lauriefree z4.5 NY (My Page) on
Sun, Sep 13, 09 at 11:46

It's been a very iffy first summer for our prairie garden. It seemed that the black-eyed susans and dotted mint are the only visible plants, and you can see nothing but orange from a distance. I was never able to get a handle on the crabgrass, which I'm sure is going to be even worse next year. The plants are beginning to die off already and I wonder what I should be doing to deal with the plants as they die off and what other things to prepare for next year. Should selectively I weed-whack, use the loppers on the dead plants one by one? Yank them out as they die? Attempt mowing? Wait until everything's dead? (it's starting to look awful. Again.) I'm pretty sure burning is illegal around here. Also, should we try to re-seed with more wildflower seeds now, in attempt to have a more varied garden next year?

Sorry so long, and thanks.

We used a mix from Prairie Nursery, by the way.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: first year autumn care. No clue.

Most of the prairie plants are perennials, and the old garden adage about perennials is that the first year they sleep, the second year they creep, the third year they leap. That you see as much yellow as you do is an excellent sign. You'll see less next year probably, and then the next year you can judge the success of the planting. I'd wait until year three to do anything like add seed, pull up plants, mow, burn. Now it is a waiting game. It does not look awful; it looks like a seed smorgasboard for migrating songbirds. Thanks to you, someone will have enough energy to make it all the way south this year.

If it is a very visible area, you can mow it in November, but you are going to chop some good plants that are sitting there waiting to grow next spring.

RE: first year autumn care. No clue.

Thanks for the advice. I'm so tempted to just mow the thing down now, but I keep repeating "patience...patience" knowing that they'll leap eventually.

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