by Ray Allen
If you haven't already, it's time to mow. The later you wait, the more ripened seeds your mowing will "plant" from the late wildflowers, such as wild sunflowers and the native asters. Of course, the later you mow, the more rotten the weather. But fall mowing is important, since it efficiently removes brush and flails flower seeds down into the soil. This once a year project is not much work, since we always leave the mowings on as a winter mulch. Mowing's important for other reasons, too. If you don't mow, your meadow will look ugly and scraggly next spring. If mowed in the fall, everything comes up nice and green and fresh after the winter. What to use? Most lawnmowers are fine, and if you can, set yours on a high setting (3 to 4" is good) since you don't want to scalp the crowns of your perennial wildflowers. My personal favorite machine for this project is the DR Trimmer from our Vermont neighbors, Country Home Products.
Their mower/trimmers are really weed whackers on big wheels, and they're not cheap. But they do a great job, and will work for you for years. Now get out there and put your wildflowers to sleep for the winter!