New Native Plant Garden. Part 1: Tarping For Wildflowers

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty ( Join us on Facebook.

Native Florida Wildflower Prep

Native Florida Wildflower Prep

The new St. Augustine Team Florida wildflower project is underway. It was a really hot day but it went really easy.

For this yard I am going to use the wildflowers as a border between a regular yard and a conservation area. It will help define where the yard ends and the forest begins. The area was previously covered with weeds–which didn’t look bad to be honest–but the wildflowers will add a splash of color with the green of the weeds backing them up.

In the last wildflower garden the weeds intermingled with the flowers. Because it was a front yard garden I had to do periodic weeding. This one is a back yard garden so I’m not sure how much weeding I’ll actually do. It depends on how well the wildflowers establish themselves, how well they reseed themselves over the next two summers, and what types of weeds pop up in between.

How I did it:

I went out and bought some survey stakes from Home Depot, and two rolls of 55 gallon contractor garbage bags (for the tarp). Home Depot actually sold 100′ rolls of black tarp for around $100 but the garbage bags only cost $9.97 a roll … quite a savings. I only ended up using one roll of the bags anyway.

Back home I mowed the area where I wanted the wildflower garden. I used the scissors to cut each side of the bags, creating long, 3′ x 8′ black tarps. Other bags I cut to fill in the gaps.

I used the survey flags to pin down the tarps. The bright orange flags will make it easy to see where the tarp is pinned down when I go to remove it.

Now I leave the tarp in place for a month. The local wildflower experts recommend doing this in August when the sun is the hottest. The heat will kill the weeds beneath the tarp. When I remove the tarp I will do some basic tilling and then sow the wildflowers.

The last time I did this I tarped one area in early August (planting in September) and one in September (planting in October). For whatever reason the October version failed even though conditions seemed identical. Since I’m doing this in late August I’m crossing my fingers and plan to double up a bit on the seeding just in case.

Let us get you planted in a new home so you too can become a Florida “native!” Hire St. Augustine Team Realty! Contact me at the email up top or email Kate Stevens, my partner and Broker Associate, or call (904) 377-2276.

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