Want to be up-to-date on the latest in yard maintenance? Plant a meadow. The trend for a “soft” look, low maintenance, environmentally friendly green space around your house is sweeping the country. They are even planting meadows in New York City! A meadow lawn attracts butterflies and birds. It helps the aquifer as the rain water is absorbed into the ground instead of used entirely by the plant or lost as run-off. Meadows, planted with native wildflowers and grasses require no chemical fertilizers, which pollute our streams and are expensive. Best of all, once established, you only mow your yard once a year! That is low maintenance! Keep Blanco Beautiful and Rural!
Five steps to start your own meadow
Experts say meadows take up to three years to become fully established.
1. Get rid of your lawn. Apply herbicide, once in fall and once in spring, to get the job done fast. A nonchemical route involves 'smothering' the lawn with cardboard and mulch and waiting a year, says Neil Diboll, president of Prairie Nursery. Don't till or rake, which may bring up unwanted seeds.
2. Consider the soil, and ask a local nursery for advice about what grows best in your area. Wild Seed Farm and Native American Seed are two sources in the Hill Country.
3. Select grass as well as flowers. Aim for a 50-50 mix.
4. Start planting. Seeds take longer, but they are more cost-effective than 'plugs' or tiny plants. In general, use 10 to 20 pounds of seed per acre.
5. Maintain. In Year One, mow or whack to keep the meadow at 6 to 12 inches. Once established, it needs mowing just once a year.