You should mow your wildflower meadow in the first year after sowing. Cut the wildflowers to a height of around 2 inches in the first eight weeks of growth and do this after every two months through the first summer.
This is important in encouraging the growth of perennials and encouraging good root development Mow annuals after they have finished blooming and the seeds begin to fall.
Annuals will mature quicker and therefore, mowing is necessary when the blooming period ends. The number of cuts is dependent on how fast your wildflower grows. Some species will do with one cut a year, while others will need more frequent mowing.
You do not need to mow wildflowers in areas that are hard to reach. Use a weed trimmer, brush hog, or mower set on a high setting to cut your wildflower middle. After mowing, rake the clippings and debris away during spring to encourage new growth. Follow this guide on how to mow your meadow.
Once your wildflower is established you should mow several times through the year, depending on the varieties you want to encourage. This article discusses the best times to mow your wildflowers below.
When is the best time to mow a wildflower meadow?
It is best to mow your wildflower meadow after most of the flowers have bloomed and wilted, this will usually be in the summer from June to late August.
There are three ideal periods, depending on the blooming season of your wildflowers, to mow your wildflower garden for the best outcomes.
This is useful for a meadow where the grass growth is very lush. Ideally, cut back your flowers to a height of 3 inches. You should do the mowing before the end of spring, that is April in North America.
This is important to kick-start the early blooming of spring wildflowers. Further, some ground-nesting birds will build their nests around spring and this could destroy their habitats.
Schedule your mowing before they begin building their nest, to allow bushy wildflowers to spread and create room for nesting.
This is done between late June and late August. This will encourage the growth of later-season wildflowers. Cut back to around 3 inches and remove the majority of material that has bloomed throughout the summer.
This helps in the management of excess grass and weeds. It acts as a reset for new growth in your meadow for the remaining part of the year.
This is done after your wildflowers have produced seed. Most wildflower species spread and reseed themselves. Cut back 3 inches, and leave the clippings on your meadow to encourage self-seeding.
This is only applicable if you have many annuals in your meadow. For perennials, remove the clippings as they are self-replicating.
You can mow your meadow a few more times to keep the grass short through the winter. Any time you have substantial clippings, remove them from your meadow and add them to the compost mix.
Leave the initial clippings on the ground for a few days to allow seeds to drop to the ground. Collect them after a few days before they begin decomposing.
Mulching is detrimental to a wildflower meadow as it improves soil fertility. Wildflowers prefer soils low in nutrients for effective germination and also because it discourages the growth of grasses and competing weeds.
Additionally, collecting the clippings exposes the soil and encourages the warming of the soil.
Do you need to mow a meadow?
You don’t need to mow your meadow but mowing will reduce the aggressiveness of fast-growing varieties. Once a wildflower is established, it is generally low maintenance. It will require less mowing compared to a traditional lawn.
Cutting a meadow helps to create a diverse mix of wildflowers in your meadow. Wildflowers bloom at different times, so mowing will help some thrive, cut back aggressive growers and create space for slow growers to flourish. Follow these steps on how to cut your wildflower meadow.
Mow at the right time to keep your annuals blooming, especially when perennials have yet to begin flowering.
Mowing at different times will help wildflowers that bloom early to thrive during spring and late bloomers to thrive in the autumn. Doing this will encourage the development of new species while ensuring your wildflower is a haven for pollinators.
You can let nature take its course and avoid trimming your wildflowers. Mowing is however essential in keeping your meadow looking neat and tidy and also for controlling the spread of aggressive growing species.
Mowing your wildflower meadow is necessary to ensure proper growth and encourage diversity. You can mow during the summer, autumn or spring, depending on the type of growth you want to see in your wildflower meadow. Wildflowers are typically low maintenance, but regular mowing is important to determine the plants that will flourish.