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Grass in my wildflower meadow

PC

Grass in my wildflower meadow

by 4 years ago
7
Hi, I have a perennial wild flower meadow that has been brilliant for a couple of years but this year seems to have been overtaken by grasses.  I have yellow rattle, probably not enough, which is strong in certain parts of the field.  I would love to hear from anyone if they have any ideas or tips on how to control the grass?
WT
4 years ago
Hi Pip, this year has provided weather conditions that have been perfect for healthy grass growth, a mild winter followed by cool temperatures and lots of rain! Yellow rattle helps parasitise some grasses but can be patchy in its own development and needs a cold period for successful germination initially so its not a panacea solution for controlling grasses. Your best method is cutting the meadow and removing the cuttings. Typically we would advise a 'high cut' (leaving 6-8 inches of growth) in either early or late June to top the grasses off (and you will take some wildflowers with it then too) before they seed again and allow light and air circulation down the the lower swards to encourage the wildflower growth. You need to remove all cuttings so they don't rot down and add further nutrients to the site and encourage yet more grasses. If you haven't done any cutting so far this year, it might be a bit late now but it depends on what else is growing and due to flower in your meadow now, if you have further species due to come through we would simply suggest to leave it now and wait until you do the end of season Autumn cut in late August, and then do a full cut right down to 1-2 inches and remove everything. Next year if you feel grasses are dominating again then plan to do an early June high cut and remove. Hope this helps, Helen from Wildflower Turf Ltd.
GA
4 years ago
Hi Pip and Helen, Thank you for joining the MyGardenSchool community. Lovely to have you with us! Best wishes, Amy
PC
4 years ago
Thanks Helen very much for your kind advice, I will definitely give this a go next year. Al the best, Pip
DN
4 years ago
Hi Pip. Good advice above I think, Successful wildflower meadows are hugely dependent on reducing fertility. Yellow rattle is very successful but in early years needs to be helped, so collect seed (easy) especially if you are cutting nad removing hay. In any case cut hay should be left and ideally disturbed to alow the heavy seed to fall out. Sowing the YR seed should be done in sept or Oct , ideally over ground that has been almost scapled with a strimmer to allow for the seed to have max chance of contact with ground. It needs to chill over witner . This is a very successful method but does need some work every year and then hopefully it will take off! Best Noel
EB
4 years ago
Wow Dr Noel Kingsbury - world expert, writer & lecturer has answered your question!
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PC
4 years ago
Thank you to everyone for taking the time to respond to my query. I will take on board all your advice and here's to a more successful meadow in future years. All the best, Pip
DM
4 years ago
Glad everyone was helpful Pip! Please do share on twitter/facebook etc and help us spread the power of the MyGardenSchool community across the internet

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