The Q&A Archives: Planting A Wildflower Meadow

Question: I have a large grassy slope behind my house which gets full sun. I'm tired of mowing it. How do I plant a native wildflower meadow there?

Answer: Starting a wildflower meadow takes some effort, but the results can be spectacular. In general, first you need to control the existing vegetation, usually by using an herbicide containing glyphosate. Then the soil needs to be worked to loosen it and make a seedbed. Next, any weeds that germinate in the seed bed need to be controlled and the soil worked lightly again. This may have to be done several times to eliminate the majority of weed seeds within sprouting distance near the surface. Finally, the wild flower seeds can be planted, or you can plant small seedlings or even larger sized starter plants. The planting will need to be watered (and weeded) until it becomes established.

You may want to consult with a local native plant specialist as to the types of wildflowers that would be most likely to grow there naturally, or which ones could be planted there and become self sustaining successfully. Alternatively you could plant a mix for sunny locations and over time the planting will "self select" leaving only those that are well adapted to your particular site.

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