Five Steps to Your Own Backyard Meadow

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about the resurgence of meadows as a landscape feature instead of lawns. There are many reasons they cite for the value of having a meadow including lower water consumption, more natural look and easier on the environment (no chemical fertilizers).
Experts say meadows take up to three years to become fully established and here’s how to do it.
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.
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.
photo: Ferncreek Design

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