Once you have sown and established your wildflower seeds and are beginning to see results, it is important to regularly maintain and manage your wildflower meadow to keep it growing and in a healthy condition.
Maintenance in the first year
First year maintenance is important in general, but even more so if grasses are present either as existing vegetation, or if they have been sown in as part of an 80/20 mix. If care is not taken to control grasses, your wildflowers may struggle to establish.
We recommend doing regular cuts every 4 weeks or so down to a height of around 60-70mm. This is the most important step of first year maintenance as grasses are more dominant and harder to control, so they will inhibit the growth of your wildflowers in order to boost their own growth. With this regular cutting of the whole sward, your wildflowers will be given the chance for stronger root development, and whilst they may not be ready to bloom yet, they will be in a much stronger position for year 2 and will be ready to flourish then.
Removing all clippings after every cut is an important step that should not be skipped, as if they are left on the site they will eventually rot down and enrich the soil, which could be detrimental to your wildflowers health as it will give grasses more nutrients to grow and overpower the wildflowers. Removing clippings generally reduces fertility in the site area, which is actually beneficial for wildflowers as the grass is being starved of the nutrients and minerals it needs to grow. If it is not possible to remove all clippings completely from your site, you can collect them to create a “Habitat Pile” which can be placed in areas around the edges of the site as a habitat for small mammals or other forms of wildlife.
Your final cut should be carried out when flowering season has ended, which is usually late Summer, once again remove the clippings after this cut and wait until next Spring for the next cut, no maintenance is required over Winter.
Maintenance in the second year
The first cut of the second year can be carried out in early Spring, just before the growing season starts. This cut is normally required just to clean up growth from the Winter that has just passed. Be sure to remove the cuttings as usual and create “Habitat Piles” if you can’t clear the clippings from the site completely. After this another cut won’t be needed until the flowering season has ended around late summer, once the wildflowers have developed seed heads and bloomed. You will then not need to do another cut until the following Spring. As time goes by more wildflower species will establish and bolster your meadow, and the sward will find a natural balance between grasses and wildflowers.
We recommend regular checks and spot treating for invasive weeds that may find their way onto your wildflower meadow, and could derail all progress if they are not caught and treated early enough.
If you require any further assistance or have any queries regarding establishing a wildflower meadow, be sure to contact our team on email at email@example.com and we will be happy to help.