In order to help the more desirable species in a wildflower meadow to flourish, it is important that you have an annual routine when it comes to maintaining them. This will also help to reduce the presence of those plants that are less desirable in such a place, such as weeds and tough grasses. However, this type of routine may not come naturally to everyone, so this article could act as your guide to maintaining a wildflower meadow! It isn’t necessarily the easiest of jobs, but putting in a little effort will mean you reap a lot of benefits!
The ideal maintenance routine for wildflower meadows should take these things into consideration:
Watering and Feeding
Wildflower meadows do not require any further watering or feeding than what they get naturally. Interfering with the natural process of watering and feeding could actually cause harm and disrupt the balance of the plants there. In fact, further watering or feeding could work against you as it could encourage the growth of vigorous grasses and weeds in the area, and these could overpower the other plants that you actually want to be there.
Mowing is a great, and easy, way to manipulate the range of flowers that grow in the meadow. However, how much and how often you need to mow is dependant on the stage that the meadow is at:
The first year after sowing seeds is the most important time to mow regularly. Cutting to 5cm four times a year will help to encourage good root development of perennial flowers and grasses.
Established spring-flowering meadows
Cut for the remainder of the Summer after July in order to reduce the strength of vigorous grasses and to allow more delicate flowers the chance to bloom and prosper. You should leave these type of meadows uncut from February to July as this is when they will begin flowering, meaning any cutting could disrupt this natural process.
Established summer-flowering meadows
These should be left uncut until late August, or even early September after wildflowers have developed, to be sure that cutting doesn’t affect them.
With all types of meadows, you should ensure that the first cut is between 5 to 8 cm to avoid harming any seeds that may not have yet developed properly. After this, you can adjust the length of cut accordingly.
As with any garden project, the possibility of some minor problems does exist. It is important that you are prepared with solutions to lessen these problems.
Thistles and nettles can be a problem in a wildflower meadow, but they can easily be treated by pulling out by hand, or spot treated with a glyphosate based weedkiller. You should avoid using lawn weedkillers as these could actually kill some of the wildflowers you want in the area.
If vigorous grasses become more apparent than flowers in the area, try sowing yellow rattle, the annual wildflower, which is partially parasitic on grasses; it should help to tame them. Ideally, you should sow this in August and regularly mow the grass until March to ensure the problem is completely fixed.
Do you have any more tips on the maintenance of wildflower meadows? Share your ideas in the comments!