Austin Parks and Recreation (PARD) has approved plans for a wildflower area in the northwest corner of Brentwood Park between the Yates fence line and gravel trail. The project is intended to provide ecological diversity, visual interest, support for wildlife, a platform for discussing the region’s history, and an opportunity for park users to become more familiar with plants native to the Austin area.
The project location was determined after completion of a smaller trial wildlife area in the northeast corner of the park. The details of this project’s boundaries and installation (see diagram below) were made in consultation with PARD’s program coordinators and park maintenance team.
Initial installation will involve removing bermuda grass, rye grass, and other weeds by hand to expose bare dirt, scattering wildflower seeds, and then tamping the seeds to ensure good contact with the soil. Depending on germination rates, we may introduce native grass plugs. Although we discussed options such as solarization, tilling, and deep removal of existing plants, the experience of FOBP members and of PARD staff indicates that a program of timed mowing and seed scattering will be as or more effective in this location.
We hope to see the native wildflowers become established over a three year period. During that period, we anticipate scattering new seeds each fall and mowing the area at intervals that discourage bermuda and rye grasses while enabling the wildflowers and native grasses to flourish. We anticipate removing invasive/nuisance weeds during regular spring and fall workdays. We also anticipate monitoring the planting for any encroachment onto the trail. If the wildflowers fail to become established over that period or if the area is beyond our anticipated ability to maintain, we will allow it to revert to its current condition.
The installation is scheduled for December 9, 2020, 9am-12pm. Anyone interested in volunteering to join us can sign up here: Give Pulse Signup Link
The below diagram is general but is intended to show:
- a setback from the trail of ~12″-18″ to allow trail maintenance equipment and mowing equipment space to work and maneuver around the area;
- a groundcloth buffer of ~12″ along the ground inside the fence line to limit the extent to which wildflowers/grasses protrude through the fence;
- the boundary lines, which run from the Texas Mountain Laurel in the water boxx to the end of the grassy area at the opening in the fence.