Wildflower Aftercare: To Mow (Or Not To Mow) At The End Of The Season

mowing-meadow-sunflowers

If possible, leave your wildflowers up through the winter to help feed the birds. We think it's beautiful, too!

To mow or not to mow? This is a question we’re asked daily by wildflower gardeners throughout the country. And the answer really isn’t that straightforward; it depends on your preference and the wildflowers.

Personally, in my garden, I like to leave my wildflowers standing tall for the winter. I find that this not only gives the birds a tasty, easy-to-reach treat, but it also helps my annuals re-seed for the next season. It may not look pristine, but there is a certain beauty to the snow gathering on your once-green wildflowers. Come spring, I mow everything down and make sure it’s ready to sprout new growth.

mowing-wildflowers-meadow

When mowing down your wildflowers, use the highest setting of your brush mower or lawnmower. 

Another option is to mow most of your meadow down and leave a section standing for the birds. For those of you who prefer a cleaner look, this gives you most of the benefits of mowing the wildflowers down and also leaving some varieties for the birds to snack on. In the section that you did mow, remember to leave the cut foliage on the ground until spring.

Finally, if your wildflowers somehow become diseased or you live in an area that has strict cosmetic restrictions, you can absolutely mow down your meadow at the end of the season. If your wildflowers are diseased, make sure to rake up and dispose of them after you mow them down. If you’re just mowing for aesthetic reasons, leave the cut foliage on the ground – you’ll be surprised at how many birds will come and feast on the seeds! Also, leaving the cuttings increases the chances of reseeding the following spring.

sunflower-seeds-ground

Birds have already snacked on this large Sunflower bloom left on the ground after being cut down.

No matter what time you’re mowing down or cutting back your wildflowers, it’s important that you do so with plenty of time for new growth to be able to come up and flourish. So if you’re waiting until the spring, make sure it’s one of the first things you do in the garden.

If you have questions about which approach to take in your garden, don’t hesitate to call our helpful gardening team at (877) 309-7333, or use our live chat function on our website. Happy Gardening!

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