1. Choose your mower
Use a strimmer or hand scythe to cut a small meadow. A scythe is very kind to nature but is labor intensive since it is done by hand. A powered garden strimmer is faster than a scythe, but you still need to pick up the clippings.
This method offers more control as you can mow around trees or shrubs in your meadow. Wear protective gear when using a strimmer, especially safety shoes.
If you have a very small meadow, use hand shears to cut the wildflowers.
A heavy-duty mower is best for large meadows. It is faster than a scythe and strimmer and offers precise cutting. The mower also collects cuttings and therefore you do not need to spend any additional time and labor for clean-up.
2. Identify the best time to mow
Begin mowing when the weeds reach around 8-12 inches tall in the first year of planting. Mow before the weeds begin dropping their seeds to ensure you do not spread them when mowing. Here’s a guide I wrote on the best time to mow your wildflower meadow.
Do not mow your wildflower after plant growth has reached around 1ft as this could damage your more favorable species.
3. Prepare your meadow and equipment
Before cutting, ensure your mower has sharp blades and that the meadow is free of debris. Set the mower to the ideal length you intend to cut the grass. You can check the manufacturer’s manual if you have any trouble doing this.
4. Adjust your cutting height
You can strim your meadow at different heights, with the lowest cuts during March and October and slightly higher cuts during August. When using a scythe, it is best to ensure that your feet and legs are well protected.
Set your mower to a height of 6 inches or higher to avoid damaging the wildflowers. Routine mowing of your lawn is intended to mimic the grazing of animals in wild gardens.
It encourages new wildflowers and increases the biodiversity in your meadow.
5. Rake your meadow
Leave the clippings on your meadow for a few days for the seeds to drop to the soil. After a few days, rake the clippings so they do not decompose. Decomposition will fertilize the soil which will encourage weeds to grow and will compete with your wildflowers. Wildflowers prefer low-nutrient soil.
Do wildflowers grow back after mowing?
Annual wildflowers will grow back if they are allowed to reseed before mowing. This is an important factor to consider if you are mowing during the fall. Your wildflowers should finish blooming and go to seed before you mow. This will allow them to grow back for the next season.
The timing for mowing wildflowers is vital in determining whether they will grow back. Trimming in late spring will allow stronger and more compact growth of your wildflowers. When the dense foliage is more than the flower display, you can mow your wildflowers. By doing this, you complete the life cycle of your wildflowers and they will come back in the following season.
To mow your wildflowers, pick the right equipment depending on the size of your meadow. Use a scythe or strimmer for a small meadow and a gas or electric mower for a large meadow. Mow your wildflowers once they are a foot tall and have seeded.
Make sure your equipment is sharp and your meadow is clear of debris before starting. Adjust your mower to about 3 to 6 inches above the ground and mow your meadow. After a few days, remove the clippings while shaking off the seeds.