Wildflowers, if established and maintained properly, are both attractive and low maintenance. However, it is vital that the wildflowers are sown and managed correctly. Below is a general guide to the establishment and maintenance of wildflowers. Please contact us for advice about your own specific wildflower project.
This is vital for creating an attractive wildflower meadow. Ideally, the soil should be of low fertility and as sterile as possible – to reduce competition from undesirable weeds and grasses. No preseeding fertiliser should be applied for this reason. To sterilise the soil, the area should be sprayed to kill all plants. Then, after working and allowing time for any weed seeds in the soil to germinate, it should ideally be sprayed a second time. Though a fine tilth is not required, soil disturbance encourages a good soil-to-seed contact. Seeds should be sown on the surface and lightly worked in. If possible, the area should be rolled to give good contact and maintain soil moisture and reduce soil erosion.
By now you will have the beginning of an attractive wildflower area. It is important to manage this area correctly to fully establish and encourage the wildflowers. Annual wildflowers will last only one year, and will require reseeding every year until a seed bank of these specie builds up in the soil. Even then, you will need to disturb the soil to encourage germination of these seeds. Perennials take 2-3 years to fully establish and must be managed correctly in that time.
The purpose of cutting is threefold: to reduce competition from grass specie; to encourage re-growth of current plants; and to promote growth of new seedlings from the fallen seeds of the established plants. Meadows should be cut twice a year and it is important to remove all clippings after cutting.
A cut down to approx. 5 cm in the spring will control grass specie and permit wildflowers to thrive. The spring cut should be around March/April whenever sufficient growth has been achieved. Remove all clippings.
Cut down to approx. 5 cm around September/October – once all flowering is complete and seed has been set. Again, remove all clippings.
An additional cut in the first year may be required to suppress grass growth. Should grass growth appear to be stronger than that of the wildflower plants, it would be beneficial to cut down to 5-7 cm and remove any clippings.