Wildflower Meadows - Plant Selection and Establishment


Why Wildflower Meadows?

They are beautiful and tie your landscape in to the surrounding environment. Adding even a small area of native wildflowers and meadow grasses to your property provides habitat for pollinators, birds, and other wildlife, serves as an infiltration area for storm water, and prevents soil erosion, making them valuable components of sustainable landscapes. Once properly planted and maintained over a season or two, they require almost no inputs of water, fertilizer, or energy. Compare this to a well-manicured lawn, which needs frequent watering, annual fertilization, and heavy use of pollution-producing mowers and lawn trimmers.

But, they are challenging to start successfully. Our research is identifying the most efficent and economical ways to start a meadow planting - which species work best, how to start from seed or plugs, how to prepare the site, how to address weed management, mowing, etc. Many farms, public and private land managers are very interested in planting wildflowers for bee habitat and we are monitoring bee activity in our research plots as well. 

The following resources provide more information on establishing wildflower meadows

This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch Multistate Project 1010449.