Wildflower seedling safari

How to maintain the balance of wildflower seedlings and grass and control weeds in a new meadow

Grasses regrowing ahead of the tiny seedlings grazing will start very soon

Arable reversion with sown seedlings present. Needs grazing to keep sward open and knock back the annual weeds

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

Yellow Rattle seedlings

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

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.