Looking to seed a meadow with native plants? Spadefoot Design and Construction has you covered with their practical tips, from using cover crops to choke out invasive plants, to adding a diversity of native perennials. Be patient, supplement with grass plugs if needed, and be prepared to do some selective editing of invasive species. Read on for expert advice on creating a beautiful and sustainable native meadow!
- Make sure your seed mix has some native (or near native) annuals that will quickly emerge to provide first year color and growth. Spring sown seeds should be cold stratified per species-specific guidelines if required.
- Consider using a cover crop such as annual oats to help choke out invasive plants common to seed banks. The cover crops germinate very quickly in the spring. Oats should be hit with a brush hog (set the blade to around 8 inches) mid-summer before they go to seed. Smaller areas can be hit by hand with a scythe or similar tool. This will allow relatively slower growing natives to flourish.
- Consider adding a diversity of native perennials to the mix even without cold stratification. In this way, the following year you will start to see more diversity as the annuals become less dense.
- Be patient! Some plants (e.g., grasses) are harder to establish via seeding. If a mixed grass/flower meadow is desired, consider supplementing with native grass plugs.
- Add a healthy dose of elbow grease. Humans plan and god laughs. 😀 Sometimes aggressive invasive species (e.g., mugwort) will take hold even despite your best efforts. Getting the meadow established sometimes requires detailed plant identification and selective editing of invasives.