Lousiana Wildflowers Comments, Skip Cryer, LA Master Gardener


  Wildflowers generally thrive in disturbed soil and do not get happy with fertilizer.  So plowing an area and leaving it alone allows the native seed that lie dormant to germinate and grow.  It is true that most wildflowers are more tempermental than domestic seed.  You just about have to have a burn schedule for the plants to thrive.  That is their genetic history.  Mowing at the right time helps but the thatch can build up and smother the plants you want to thrive.  There is a strong tie between moisture content, shade, and variety.  All of this is also tied to quail survival.  The natural eco system is complex and does not lend itself to monoculture to mimic Mother Nature.  Wildflowers are generally prairie plants.


Wildflowers in Louisiana West Gulf Coast, image by The Nature Conservancy.

I had managed my fields into a thick blue stem grass and wildflower mass.  Then I planted pine trees and the burn liability changed dramatically.  Now I mow only and between the shade of the pine trees, straw, and the mowing my beautiful yellow fields now are dwindling away in areas.

When someone tells you that long leaf and wildflowers go together it is true but the natural pine/flower savannas did not have the shade problem of modern tree planting and the areas burned clean periodically.  Fire generates germination in both native flowers and long leaf pine and is paramount in releasing the plants.



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