I have a meadow on a slight incline in my backyard. It is in its 3rd year of...

Asked September 24, 2014, 11:33 AM EDT

I have a meadow on a slight incline in my backyard. It is in its 3rd year of flowering of native plants of ohio. It is now about 6 ft tall and very thickly grown. How and when should this be cut down. Burning is not possible in my area. I was thinking of scything it. It covers aprox 500-600 sq ft. Note too big an area. If scythed, do I let it lay or collect it to compost? What time of year? What is the procedure to maintain a healthy meadow> Thanks.

Montgomery County Ohio

1 Response

I am not sure if you are trying to encourage the native plants or not, or if you have any livestock or not, which will influence my answer. First, if you are trying to keep the meadow in forages and not encourage the native plants (or weeds), I would encourage you to cut the undesirable plants before flowering when the plants are at their lowest level of root reserves. If you are encouraging the native plants (or what some may consider weeds), cut them when they are dying back and after they have produced seeds. If you have livestock grazing the area, I would consider cutting early when they have made their initial growth, then later on in the summer. You can let the plants you cut stay right where you cut them and decompose unless it is so thick that it could kill the underlying vegetation. To maintain a healthy meadow, I would obtain a soil sample and adjust p.H. and fertility as needed. If you have additional questions, you can e-mail me at penrose.1@osu.edu or call me at 740-962-1334.