Ecology + Design

Native Wildflower Meadow Maintenance | Darien, CT

This Landscape Design Master Plan included re-vamping an existing native wildflower meadow that had not been maintained properly. The meadow is 3-5 years old and had been mowed in the fall of last year (not by GJL). This improper mowing schedule essentially removed many perennials before they went to seed, impacting the amount of diversity, flowers and color to be expected this season.

Meadow Disturbance Schedule

Don’t get us wrong – mowing is a critical part of organic meadow management! But when you mow is an essential detail. We follow this meadow disturbance schedule:

  • Mow 3x a year for the first year
  • 2x a year the second year
  • 1x a year, only in March for every year after

Mowing the native wildflower meadow in March helps control the overall height of the meadow and allows slower-to-develop plants in the seedbank to access enough sunshine to grow and thrive! Without some kind of disturbance, only the fastest growing species will survive, out competing others and limiting the overall diversity and ecological value of the meadow.

Reseeding with Native Wildflower Meadow Mixes

To remedy this meadow maintenance mishap in Darien, CT, we knew we need to reinvigorate the seed bank with new plant material. First, we mechanically disturbed the meadow. Burning is the best organic method of disturbance, but requires a permit and much oversight in Fairfield County, CT.  Mechanical disturbance via spiking is second best. Then, we planted several native wildflower meadow mixes from Ernst Seed. The new wildflower seeds will have a progression of blooms. Some species bloom in the first year, others take 2-3 years to mature to flowering.

By next year there will be much more color, diversity and ecological activity on this site! It is already performing eons better than a lawn, ecologically speaking, and will only get better as more wildflowers mature, provide habitat for pollinators and perform other ecosystem services like stormwater absorption and filtration.  In the fall, many songbirds will stop to feed on the seeds. Insects will overwinter in the hollow-stemmed perennials. And come spring, birds will find nesting materials in the grasses and stems of this beautiful meadow…that used to be lawn.

Do you have an area on your property that you’d like to convert to a meadow? Contact us for a free 15-minute discovery call or a professional on-site consultation.

Green Jay Landscape Design

Where Design Meets Ecology


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