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Johnson County

Research-based Information You Can Trust — Localized for your needs

Johnson County
11811 S. Sunset Drive
Suite 1500
Olathe, KS 66061

Office Hours:

Monday - Friday,
8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

(913) 715-7000
(913) 715-7005 fax

Map to our office

K-State Research and Extension is committed to making its services, activities and programs accessible to all participants. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting Johnson County Extension at (913)715-7000. Notify staff of accommodation needs as early as possible.

Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service

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Plant Native Grasses and Wildflowers in Spring

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It’s hard to beat warm season grasses and native wildflowers for wildlife benefit. They provide great cover for nesting birds, small mammals and even large mammals. The seeds of native grasses and wildflowers provide food for many species of birds and are a great source of nectar for pollinators like bees, wasps, hummingbirds and others. And with the increasing decline in bee populations for a number of reasons, providing more pollinator habitat is a good idea. They also are suited for our climate and require less fertilizer than cool season forage.

The planting window for warm season grasses and wildflowers can occur anytime from December through May, but an optimum time frame would be throughout April and the first half of May. It will be important for you to kill out existing and competing vegetation before you plant your seed and that can be done with tillage and/or herbicides. Native grasses and forbs will generally do well regardless of soil fertility levels, but a soil test will allow you to guage whether ammendments are needed and it's easier to apply them before planting. Unless the pH or some other major element is extremely deficient, we will not recommend additional fertilizer for native grasses. Fertilizers tend to only encourage cool season grasses, weeds, and brushy species to grow.

There is a cost-share opportunity with the Johnson County Stormwater Management that will pay for half the seed cost of a recommended native grass or pollinator seed mix. You can learn more about the program by clicking here. There's also a no-till drill available to rent through the county, after you get your soil test results fill out a No-Till Drill Application and return it to the extension office.