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Meadow Mix Cultivation & Sowing

 

These instructions cover: -

  1. Ground preparation and weed elimination
  2. Sowing
  3. Cutting
  4. Problem solving

Please note: for large areas, i.e. greater than 1000sqm, we strongly recommend a consultancy report to detail site specific ground preparation sowing and management instructions.

  1. Ground preparation and weed elimination

It is vital to prepare a proper seed bed before sowing wildflowers.  This can be done using organic or non-organic methods.

Organic methods

There are two organic methods, De-turfing or ploughing

 

(a)    De-turfing (do not use this method if the site is generally waterlogged)

  • Cut existing vegetation to ground level
  • Remove turves either by hand or using a turf-striping machine
  • Rotovate to a depth of 5cm and then rake to achieve a fine tilth
  • Remove stones greater than 5cm.  Sow immediately afterwards as detailed below: -

 

(b)   Ploughing (for large sites a site-specific consultancy report is strongly recommended)

  • Cut glass to ground level
  • Plough to a depth of 25cm (ensuring all surface vegetation is buried)
  • Wait at least 4 weeks
  • In dry weather, rotovate to create a fine tilth
  • Level the soil using a land leveller
  • Remove stones greater than 10cm
  • Wait 3 weeks to allow weed germination
  • Lightly cultivate with ca chain harrow or similar.  Sow seed immediately afterwards as detailed below: -

Non-Organic Method

  • Spray the area using a suitable herbicide.  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on quantities and safety precautions.
  • Wait 3-4 weeks; rotovate to a depth of 5 cm remove stones greater than 5cm
  • Wait 3-4 weeks; re-spray all growth with suitable herbicide
  • Wait 3-4 weeks; prepare the seed bed by very lightly raking or harrowing to achieve a fine tilth.
  • Sow immediately afterwards as detailed below: -

 

  1. Sowing

v  If you make an ‘autumn sowing’ then the latest date for sowing is the end of October and the first year of flowering will be the spring after sowing.

v  If you make a spring sowing then the latest date for sowing is the end of May and the first year of flowering will be the same year as sowing.

 

Sowing Steps:

a)      Mix the seed thoroughly

b)      Divide the seed mix into smaller equal amounts  (e.g. 4, 6 or 8 parts)

c)       Divide the area into equivalent smaller sections (e.g. 4, 6 or  sections) to ensure even distribution

d)      Scatter the seed mix evenly and stir constantly to mix seed consistently (if unfamiliar with scattering seed, practise with some sand first).

e)      Roll the area again to ensure good contact between the seed and the soil.

 

  1. Cutting and management regime

First year

 

During the first year of growth, cutting should be carried out as follows.

When

Cutting Height

Vegetation

When the vegetation reaches 150mm

75mm

Remove all cut vegetation

 

After cutting, perennial weeds should be treated over the winter months.  Weeds can be removed by mechanical means or by careful spot spraying.

 

Second and Third Years

Cutting should be carried out as follows to encourage germination the following year.

 

When

Cutting Height

Vegetation

When seed has set (or no later than mid-November)

30mm

Leave cut vegetation for 3 days then remove

 

After cutting, perennial weeds should be removed over the winter months either by mechanical removal or spot spraying.

 

NB – It is difficult to be prescriptive of exact timings; ideally time should be given for seed to ripen and fall from the seed head before cutting.

Following cutting in years 2 and 3 yellow rattle can be over-sown.  Yellow Tattle is a semi- parasite that reduces grass dominance.

After cutting, perennial weeds should be treated over the winter months.  Weeds can be removed by mechanical means or by careful spot spraying.

Fourth Year

Cutting should be carried out as follows to encourage germination in following years.

When

Cutting Height

Vegetation

When seed has set (or no later than mid-November)

30mm

Leave cut vegetation for 3 days then remove

 

The above management regime should be adhered to in future years.

At the end of the fourth year there are several options:

Option 1 – The area can be left to settle into its own natural state and cutting and maintenance continued in the same fashion.  The addition of Yellow Rattle will help reduce grass dominance.

Option 2 – Alternatively the area can be enhanced with plug plants of other species, such as those that extend the flowering season of the mix – please contact us for details.

  1. Problem Solving

Slow Germination

Do not be too concerned if the seed does not germinate immediately.  Local weather conditions, including temperature and rainfall (especially lack of) can cause germination to be slow and/or uneven initially.  If the weather has been very dry then germination will improve greatly when the rain eventually falls.  Slow germination may also result in gaps but these usually fill up by the end of the summer.

Weed Proliferation

It is best if this can be avoided by thoroughly carrying out the ground preparation instructions detailed above.  However, if there are weeds present they should be dealt with as follows:

  1. Large perennial weeds such as dock or nettles - Individual weed plants must be totally removed (especially the root system) by mechanical means or by careful spot spraying with a suitable herbicide.
  2. Frequency – we would advise that you carry out a monthly check on the area and carry the above action if necessary.  You will gain the benefits over the life of the seed mixture if you are vigilant.
  3. Grass dominance – This is usually an indication of higher fertility.  Over-sowing areas with yellow rattle after cutting in the autumn will help reduce the dominance of grass species.