How to maintain the balance of wildflower seedlings and grass and control weeds in a new meadow
Thanks to everyone who joined the safari on 9th October 2019 at Titley and Croft, especially to hosts Christopher Goode and Iain Carter and Matt Pitts from Plantlife.
We visited 2 very different meadow making pilot sites that had been sown with seed in August 2019
- Titley Mill was ordinary species poor grassland that had been mown for hay, grazed, spot sprayed, harrowed, seeded and rolled
- Lady Acre at Croft was an arable field that had been spot sprayed, cultivated, seeded and rolled
At both sites the main challenge now is to keep the sward open so that the sown seedlings aren’t out competed by existing grass / weeds.
Both sites have yellow rattle in the mix which means that grazing (or cut+collect/topping) are possible options over winter UNTIL the yellow rattle seedlings emerge in the spring. For details of how to get the best results see Matt Pitt’s summary of key points for management in years 1 and 2 after restoration Post Restoration Management
The same challenge occurs in all grassland being enhanced whether by introduced seed or seed from existing meadow plants shed during hay making.
The Resources page has links to really useful guidance and summaries of what we discussed on the safari
- Post Restoration Management = Matt Pitt’s summary of key points for management in years 1 and 2 after restoration
- How to manage a meadow for hay making and grazing pasture
- How do I know if my meadow restoration or recreation is succeeding?
- Restoring Wildflower Meadows – common reasons for not succeeding
- Arable reversion to species rich grassland – early management of new sward
Keep checking your meadow every few days, especially when you are grazing – to keep the balance between an open sward and too much poaching / nibbling the emerging seedlings.
Send us photos of your meadow over winter and any seedlings you’d like help with ID.