I am about to throw down a lot of seed in patches around the yard to create a "wild flower meadow" intermingled with newly planted fruit trees/bushes. My goal is to get the soil life thriving, increase fertility, increase tilth and water absorption rate, get the good bug population popping, maybe get some bees going in a hive, grow just a little food in there, let some chickens run through every now and again, .... and not have to mow the lawn there but once in the dead of every winter.
I have made a mix of clover species(nitrogen), lupines(nitrogen), purple cone flower, yarrow, marigold, daikon radish(clay buster), cherry radish(clay buster), black-eyed susan, cilantro, garlic chives, chives, and bachelor button/corn flower along with a few known good forage perennial rye grass that have high sugar content for the gazillion rabbits that live out there. The sugar will help them absorb proteins from the clover and such. I already happily have a lot of dandelions and such.
Anyways, to the point.... I know that in the UK they use Yellow Rattle flower as a magic bullet for their wild flower meadows. It is literally a grass parasite that latches onto grass roots and zaps the energy out of the energy hogs. Suppressing the grass and giving the flowers a better chance to thrive. Is there anything like it that I can buy here in Virginia, USA I have a nearly flat yard with hardpan clay and get about 45inches of rain here a year. Almost anything will grow here in zone 7B. I just can't find the yellow rattle since I am sure it would thrive/"invade" here.
Matt Darkstar wrote:If you have clumps of grass, you could always "burn" them by laying down plastic sheeting on top on a sunny day. 4 or 5 hours of good sun will nuke almost any unwanted plants underneath as long as most air flow is blocked. I couldn't think of any plants that parasitize, or kill grass that wouldn't also harm your wildflowers.
Thanks for the reply!
I may have to try that some time. My yard is pretty solid with at least 7 types of grasses coming and going throughout the year. I have been trying to copy grasslands with varying types of warm and cool season grasses. The lawn went from crappy to decent in just two years with those new grasses... and cutting on the hightest setting IAW Paul's article. Only lightly overseeded every Fall.
The only prepping I did for the lawn/meadow was... stop cutting the grass. :s Perhaps I should have at least cut the grass on the lowest setting before throwing down the seed. I figured I would just do it the permaculture way and imulate nature by throwing down waaaay more seed then what was needed. Then only the strongest will survive/compete. If tonns of the plants come up then I will have good genetic diversity and can harvest seed for more land if I buy it some time. Or just give some to the neighbors if they want. If none come up then they did not belong and I will try something else to make my life easier when I go larger scale.