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SMALL SCALE PLANTING
In Oklahoma, wildflowers should be planted in the fall. Late September throught mid November is ideal.
To Plant on Existing Grass:
NOTE: DO NOT plant wildflowers in grasses that grow during winter (example: annual rye grass or fescue) as the winter grasses will be too aggressive to allow the wildflowers to become established.
WHEN DO SEEDS GERMINATE?
Some of the seeds will germinate 10 - 20 days after planting if sufficient moisture is available. Other seeds will germinate in the early spring. Regardless of the planting location, most wildflowers will require at least six (6) hours of sunlight per day, minimum foot traffic and water during the germination period if rainfall is not substantial.
DO I HAVE TO WATER THE SEEDS?
If there is no rainfall after planting, watering will help in germination and seedling establishment. Once your wildflowers are beyond the critical seedling stage, they will survive long, dry periods, but probably will not flower as often. Occasional watering, if possible, will insure maximum bloom color.
WILL MY WILDFLOWERS COME BACK?
Usually, the perennials will return year after year once established. If the annuals are allowed to reseed before mowing, they also will return.
HOW DO I ALLOW MY WILDFLOWERS TO RESEED?
Allow about two (2) weeks after the full bloom period has passed for the annuals to reseed. As a rule of thumb, when the dense brown foliage offsets the floral color display, the area can be trimmed. You have now enabled your wildflowers to complete their life cycle and they will reward you with an array of beauty the following year.
SHALL I FERTILIZE?
If you feel that your soil lacks nutrients, fertilizing your wildflower area at the time of planting is acceptable, as long as you use the fertilizer moderately. Fertilizing wildflowers after the plants are established will result in larger amounts of foliage at the expense of blooms. It will also make many species too tall, and they will flop over without support.
HOW MUCH SUNLIGHT DO I NEED?
In general, most wildflowers need a considerable amount of sunshine. However, many species can tolerate light to partial shade. If your area receives at least six (6) hours of sunlight per day, your wildflowers will prosper.
LARGE SCALE PLANTING
A second method using a garden tractor has had good results. As when using a drill, the grass should first be mowed as short as possible. After mowing, drag a railroad tie spiked with nails to roughen and loosen up the soil. DO NOT USE A ROTOTILLER (Because it tills so deep, it will release dormant weeds.) Wildflowers should be planted less than 1/4 inch deep.
Following the railroad tie sequence, seed may be sown by hand from a bucket or by using a handheld broadcast seeder, if there is not too much variation in seed sizes. Sand may be used as a medium to extend coverage. Finally, drag a piece of chain link fence, weighted with concrete blocks, over the area. This will lightly cover the seed and achieve soil seed contact, which is vitally important. Make sure the seed gets through existing vegetation to the ground. A dense stand of Bermuda with thick thatch can prevent or reduce seed germination.
SOME WILDFLOWERS FOR ROADSIDE PLANTING
Listed in approximate order of bloom sequence. Not all are suitable for all parts of Oklahoma. Not all are available commercially.
For information concerning the ODOT’s Wildflower Program, contact the Beautification Office at: