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Wildflower FAQ

Many people have specific questions regarding wildflowers, native grasses and wildflower meadows. The following is a selection of some the quesions we have received and our answers to them. In the interests of maintaining privacy, we will not post the name of the person asking the question. However, the questions and answers listed may provide you with the answer you need.

If you have a question not listed below, please feel free to e-mail us at info@wildflowerfarm.com we will be happy to answer you and perhaps post it!

 


Question: About 4 years ago, maybe five we had a shallow pond on our property dug out, clay lined the bottom and let it fill naturally with runoff as it has always been filled.  We bought a big bag of a wildflower seed mix and spread it around the pond early in the spring. We watered it and tended to it as the instructions told us to do.  The first year of course we had quite a few flowers as well as a some weeds, the second year was the best year and it really seemed like it was coming along.  I even made some bouquets which I thought were beautiful. The third year there just weren't many flowers but there were lots of weeds, and this past year it didn't produce any flowers at all and the weeds just seem to be smothering any of the few flowers that showed at all.  I have been very dissapointed and don't really know hat to do next.  My husband and I have burned it one fall, not this past one but the one before, as we were told that would help the wildflowers to take off again.  But the weeds just seemed to be more aggressive after the burn.  I feel very frustrated, my hopes were that the flowers would choke out the weeds eventually not the opposite.  I welcome any help you can give me as to what we can do to make our pond, which gets sun all day, to flourish with the beautiful easy to care for wildflowers that just get more beautiful every year.  Thank you.
 


Answer: Hi K. Thank you for your inquiry. Unfortunately, yours is a story we hear all the time. There are a few critical components required to create a true, long lived wildflower meadow. First, you must use a seed mix that contains true native, perennial wildflowers and grasses that are suited to your soil type. Being perennial, you cannot expect the flowers to bloom for the first three years. Any seed mix that produces a lot of blooms in the first two years probably consists of non-native annuals. In a true wildflower meadow installation, you actually need to keep the area mowed for the first year to promote strong root systems. Second, proper site preparation prior to seed installation is extremely important. Without knowing all the details, it seems to me that you probably seeded in the spring on soil dug out from your pond. In my experience, anytime that soil is disturbed, you are bringing weed seeds to the surface. This disturbance only encourages the weeds to grow. In an ideal situation, you would have spent the first summer systematically eradicating the weeds and installed a true native wildflower seed mix in the fall. To remedy the situation and create a true low maintenance wildflower meadow, I would recommend starting all over this spring. Beginning with a full season of intensive site preparation to eradicate the existing weeds and installing new seed in the fall.


 


Question: Is it a 'fall rye' seed that is seeded with the flower seed, and how many pounds of flower seed per acre do you sow?? Will the wild flowers push up through straw mulch? Thanks for any help you might be able to provide.


Answer: 1) The nurse crop sown with a wildflower meadow seeding is annual rye. It's purpose is to provide a sheltering environment for the seedlings in their first year - protecting them from the elements,  retaining soil moisture and stabilizing the site. Being annual, the rye will not reappear the following year as long as you have followed the regimen of mowing the site in the first year.

2) A wildflower meadow is a combination of native flowers and grasses and is sown at a rate of approximately 15 -16 lbs. per acre.

3) Installing a clean, weed-free straw mulch after seeding creates ideal germinating conditions for the seedlings especially on sites with heavy clay soil. The flowers and grasses have no problem pushing through the mulch. However, you don't want to mulch too heavily - about 1 inch thick will do you should be able to see some of the soil through the mulch after you
have it in place

 

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