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Getting ready for a meadow lawn

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Bloomington Briefing Published August 4, 2021
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Do you want to have a meadow lawn but are not sure how to start? Getting a meadow lawn to grow takes proper site preparation prior to seeding or live planting. The best time to seed is late fall or early spring, but site preparation begins even earlier. August is a good time to start. 

You don’t have to be a landscaping expert to have a meadow lawn. Whether you have a turf lawn or an old garden bed, site preparation is the key to long-term success. The goal is to get rid of all turf grass and other plants you don’t want. This lessens competition from weeds when the young native plants are getting established and developing roots so they can thrive for years to come. 

Prepare your site using one of three methods. Solarizing and sheet mulching need to be left in place for two or three months to eliminate unwanted plants from the site.

  • Sheet mulching: Cover the site with cardboard or newspaper and top with three inches of mulch. Remove mulch before seeding to expose the soil.  The mulch can be used elsewhere in your yard.
  • Solarizing: Use thin plastic sheets to cover the site. Weigh down the plastic with rocks. The plastic limits light and gets hot, literally cooking the turf grass underneath.
  • Physical removal: Dig up the turf and remove it, leaving the soil behind. 

After unwanted plants are gone, rake the dead plants into the soil. Make sure to smooth out the site and make sure the soil is settled. Now you’re ready to seed. 

Pick the right seed mix for your location. Do not use a mix that only has wildflowers. Perennial native grasses are a foundation of a meadow and should be a part of the seed mix. There are several companies specializing in native plant products and they will have native seed mixes designed for local conditions. Speak to one of their representatives to be sure.  

For more information visit, blm.mn/nativelawn or call 952-563-8748.

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