Seeding Large Meadows

For larger areas, it's not practical to broadcast the seed by hand although this can be done if you have the time. Instead, it's best to use a mechanical planter. Specific models that can successfully plant native grasses and flowers include the Tye drill, Truax drill, John Deere Rangeland drill, and properly outfitted Brillion seeders.

Most wildflowers require a treatment that in horticultural terms is called "cold, moist stratification", in English this is called winter. Because of this we recommend sowing large meadows of an acre or more in the late fall.

Knowing Your Equipment

Seeding with a Brillion seeder

It is important to know the capabilities and limitations of your seeder in order to select the proper machine for your needs. The Tye, Truax, and John Deere seeders plant the seed in rows by opening slits in the soil into which the seed falls. Seed drills can open up the surface soil to seat the seed properly without working the soil just prior to planting. The Brillion seeder broadcasts seed rather than drilling it, creating a more natural effect (no rows). The Brillion seeder requires a well-prepared seedbed with loose surface soil in order to plant the seed properly.

Hydroseeding is a planting process that uses a slurry of water, seed and paper mulch which is sprayed on the surface of the soil. Because Hydroseeding does not ensure firm seed-to-soil contact it is not recommended for wildflower meadow installations.



TerraSeeding is a relatively new process that has been adopted by some landscaping companies across North America. Basically TerraSeeding is the calibrated incorporation of seed into composted soil during the application process. Simply put, it is seeding with soil. This method of sowing wildflower meadows has been quite successful, however as wildflower seed needs firm seed-to-soil contact it is important to roll sites sown by TerraSeeding.



After sowing the seeds, a light covering of clean, weed-free straw will help greatly to hold in moisture and increase germination. This is particularly helpful on dry, sandy soils and heavy, clay soils. The straw should just cover the soil surface, not bury it. We recommend chopping and blowing the straw over the area as straw laid using this method is less susceptible to wind; however, spreading the straw by hand can be quite effective as well. If you are seeding a steep slope, hold the straw in place using a jute or plastic mesh erosion control blankets.
Never use field hay as it contains innumerable weed seeds!

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