Integrated Pest Management of Wildflower-Grass Mixes in the Eastern U.S.
This chapter addresses pest control in wildflower-grass mix plantings from an integrated pest management (IPM) perspective. Wildflower-grass mixes are equivalent to low maintenance turfgrass in sites where woody plants must be excluded and where vegetation up to 4 feet tall can be tolerated. When seasonal floral displays are valued, then wildflower-grass mixes may be preferable to turfgrass. The relative drought tolerance of naturally-occurring wildflower-grass mixtures has been a significant factor in their development as low-maintenance ground cover. Nevertheless, mowing techniques for wildflower-grass mix management will probably remain much more important than fire in the East. For wildflower-grass mixes, grasses are needed that are compatible with the growth and display of the principal plants in the mix: the wildflowers. Weed control is of overwhelming importance to the establishment and persistence of wildflower-grass mixes. The IPM of eastern wildflower-grass plantings depends on an understanding of environmental processes affecting natural grasslands, and of management strategies to modify plant population dynamics within wildflower-grass mixes.