Making those decisions is Dennis Markwardt, who has been director of Vegetation Management for the department for the past 20 years. Do not mow until the plants are in this stage. The rest is up to Mother Nature. The best wildflower months in Central Texas are March, April, and May, though, in some areas, blooms can be found all summer long. These stretches become habitat for a number of species, including ground-nesting birds, small mammals, and pollinators — particularly monarch butterflies, which migrate through the state. You’ll know they are mature because they will turn brown and begin to dry. Do this immediately after they flower in late winter or early spring so you do not risk damaging your grass. Bluebonnets do not like saturated soil, so water them lightly. Seed Storage Over his 30 years of experience with TxDOT, Markwardt has learned to set aside areas that should not be mowed until after seeding, usually in early summer. Snip the bottom of the flower stalk with a pair of hand clippers to cut bluebonnets as cut flowers. Rake and discard the trimmings, if desired, to clean up the lawn. As a rule of thumb, when the dead brown foliage offsets the floral color display, the area can be mowed. In the same way, cut these annuals or perennials back after they are finished blooming to make way for the bluebonnets. After the Bluebonnets flower the following spring, their seeds will mature about six to eight weeks later. Mow bluebonnets at the lowest height setting if you used them as a winter cover crop for Bermuda or zoysia grass. Big fields have a continuous cycle of … This practice cleans up the garden and makes room for your summer-to-fall bloomers, if they are in the same garden. TxDOT also promotes growth by seeding, especially in areas of road construction and repairs that have left right-of-ways bare. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. The first step, according to Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center horticulturist Leslie Uppinghouse, begins in early summer, around May or early June. Is the First Name on a Property Deed the Owner? If most of the pods have opened and curled up, it is time to mow. Heavy summer rains, a dry fall and a cool winter are all good signs for bluebonnet watchers in Central Texas. Flowering beauties, bluebonnets (Lupinus spp.) Markwardt anticipates a fairly good bluebonnet crop in 2020, though not nearly as strong as it was in 2012. “I bet we’re going to have a beautiful yellow crop of flowers,” he predicted. While wildflowers such as the bluebonnet are beautiful in bloom, once their color fades and the plants die back, they aren’t as attractive. Place the cut ends in a bucket of water. If it is a large area, it should be mowed to a height of 4-6 inches. She has also written for various online publications. “The blue crop should be good, but I think it’s the yellow flowers, with the later rains we’ve had, that will have a really good year.”. It cuts back old, dead plants that might otherwise suppress wildflower growth, stealing water and nutrients from the soil. Late January and early February rainfalls this year, along with late autumn rains last year, should give spring flowers a boost. All Rights Reserved. If you are picking bluebonnets from areas outside your own property, get permission from the landowner first. Mowing and planting seeds to encourage wildflower growth along state highways, such as Texas 16, have been part of Texas Department of Transportation policy since the 1930s. At … Markwardt anticipates a fairly good bluebonnet crop in 2020, though not nearly as strong as it was in 2012. Wildflower roadsides get a second cutting in late fall after the monarchs have moved on. “I bet we’re going to have a … Texas Department of Public Safety: Information for the News Media, Texas A&M University: Texas Bluebonnets - Texas Pride, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Ask Mr. Smarty Plants, Texas A&M University: "Barbara Bush" Bluebonnet. “That’s one of the great things about Texas: You get great shows,” Markwardt said. Ideally, perform this task in the morning when the plant is most hydrated. 1. Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. The fall cutting greatly benefits the spring wildflowers, Markwardt said. Discard the plant trimmings for a cleaner look in the garden and to discourage pests. Take a virtual tour of Texas White House at LBJ national park, 'No Room in the Inn' nativity exhibit in Marble Falls helps those in need. You should cut them back when their growing season is over to clean up your landscape and make room for other plants. Rather, leave them in place and with the right weather conditions, they might grow and bloom again, advises the University of Texas as Austin. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 10. Even though they require no pruning to grow and bloom well, you can cut them to enjoy as cut flowers in floral arrangements. In fact, wildflowers often establish themselves more quickly and efficiently on a patch of disturbed land than in grasses. The tan, fuzzy pods turn brown, fall off and seeds pop out to spread. “It still depends on rainfall,” he said. Managing wildflower mowing takes great restraint, a practice TxDOT has been following since the 1930s when a memo circulated instructing crews not to cut the wildflowers. Markwardt and his crews keep 1.2 million acres — 900,000 acres of that mowable — of state road right-of-way awash in color. If you live somewhere other than Brenham, you can ldetermine when to mow them by looking at the seed pods of your bluebonnets. Late January and early February rainfalls this year, along with late autumn rains last year, should give spring flowers a boost. We respect your privacy.Your information is safe and will never be shared.