Planting suggestions for meadow

Asked April 30, 2020, 11:07 AM EDT

two years ago we had two acres of red pine harvested. We have since cleaned up all the debris and want to plant something to keep erosion in check. Not interested in trees as the reason the trees were harvested is they impeded the view of the lake and countryside from our home. It's an area that does not have irrigation nor do we want to go to the expense of putting irrigation in. So we'd like a nice looking meadow that is low maintenance, no mowing required (beyond perhaps once per year). Anything you can suggest is greatly appreciated.

Charlevoix County Michigan

3 Responses

You did not specify, but I will assume you are interested in establishing a wildflower meadow.

For How to Start a Wildflower Habitat and some wildflower suggestions, please see the information in these links:

There are many wildflower mixes available from reputable seed companies--you can simply google for something like "wild flower seed mixes for Norther Michigan" or native wildflower seed mixes for sunny field," etc. You can, of course, mix your own seed if you know which plants you want. Remember this is usually a 3-year project and may look pretty disappointing the first year or two Stick with it.

Thanks Sharon. To clarify we may add wildflowers over time but our initial thought was field grass. We’ve received a lot of layman’s advice like field rye + contractors mix (3 to 1). Any advice on grasses?

Regards, Dave

Hi Dave, I guess I'm still confused as to your purpose for this area. Do you intend to use it as forage for horses or cattle?

A stand of annual ryegrass can persist many years in orchards, vineyards, and other areas if allowed to reseed naturally and not subject to prolonged heat, cold or drought. That ’s rarely the case in Zone 5 and colder, however, where climate extremes take their toll. Perennial ryegrass may be a smarter choice if persistence is important.

But I think this may be more of a question for your county ag agent. You can reach him by contacting your local MSU Extension Office and asking how to reach the county agriculture agent. Wish I could be of more help, but my expertise is in flower and vegetable gardening. Good luck.