Mixture Selection It is important that the correct mixture is selected to coincide with the soil type and drainage characteristics of each site. Site preparation The aim is to produce a firm weed-free tilth to promote healthy germination. Subsoils often provide weed-free areas with a low nutrient status and are therefore suitable for wild flora planting. It is occasionally necessary to remove the topsoil in areas of high fertility (this can be sold to raise revenue) as these soils tend to promote the growth of more vigorous grasses and pernicious weeds. To remove docks and thistles, nettles and weed grasses, the site should be treated with Glyphosate (following the manufacturer’s instructions) prior to seed bed cultivation. Summary a.C ultivate site and allow to remain fallow if practical b. Treat with herbicide or remove topsoil (always read the label and follow manufacturers instructions) c. Cultivate to 10cm d. Create a surface tilth Sowing Sowing can take place throughout most of the year, providing a good tilth can be prepared, however the months of March/April and August/September are generally the most suitable. a. Mix seed – regularly mix to ensure even species distribution b. Drill/broadcast – calibrate sowing device c. Rate – 5g/m2 mixtures with grass 0.5 – 1.0g/m2 pure wild flower mixtures d. Sand – bulk up small seeding rates with 4 parts silica sand to 1 part seed by weight e. Raking/harrowing – mix seed into soil (depth approx 0.5cm) f. Ring Roller – use Cambridge Roller to firm seed bed 33 Wild Flower Maintenance First year The requirements in the first year are to control weeds and reduce competition from grasses. Cut the sward to a height of 5cm every two months or when the sward reaches 15cm. Remove all cut material to avoid smothering the sward. Where persistent weeds are a problem, spot treat or dig out. Future maintenance The sward should be well established after the first 12 months and contain a diverse range of species. Cut to 7.5cm during March/April and remove cuttings. The second cut should take place at the end of the flowering season during August/October (the flowering period may alter slightly according to climatic conditions). Remove all cuttings. The site may require further cuts in the autumn period to remove untidy growth in an extended growing season. Maintenance summary First year First Cut 5cm March/April (Spring seeding 1st cut in May) Cut every 2 months or when sward reaches 15cm Final Cut September/October - Remove all cuttings Future years First Cut 7.5cm March/April Second Cut 7.5cm August/October - Remove all cuttings Cornfield annuals Cut once the flowering period is over - September/October. Harrow autumn or spring to regenerate annuals.
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