How to sow wild flowers
It is important that the correct mixture is selected to coincide with the soil type and drainage characteristics of each site.
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 end to promote the growth of more vigorous grasses and pernicious weeds. To remove docks, thistles, nettles and weed grasses; the site should be treated with a systemic herbicide (following the manufacturers instructions) prior to seed bed cultivation.
- Cultivate site and allow to remain fallow if practical
- Treat with herbicide or
- Remove topsoil
- Cultivate to 10cm
- Create a surface tilth
Sowing can take place throughout most of the year, providing a good tilth can be prepared, however he months of March/April and August/September are generally the most suitable.
- Mix seed - regularly mix to ensure even species distribution
- Drill/broadcast - calibrate sowing device
- Rate - 5 g/m2 mixtures with grass or 0.5 - 1.0 g/m² pure wild flower mixtures
- Sand - bulk up small seeding rates with 4 parts silica sand to one part seed by weight
- Raking/harrowing - mix seed into soil (depth approx 0.5 cm)
- Ring Roller - use Cambridge roller to firm seed bed
Wild Flower Maintenance First Year
The requirement in the first year is 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 with herbicide or dig-out.
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/September (the flowering period may alter slightly according to climatic conditions) Remove all cuttings or use as hay. The site may require further cuts in the autumn period to remove untidy growth in an extended growing season.
- First cut 5 cm March/April (spring seeding 1st cut in May)
- Cut every 2 months or when sward reaches 15cm
- Final cut September/October
- Remove all cuttings
- First cut 7.5cm March/April (if necessary)
- Second cut 7.5cm August/October
- Remove all cuttings
- Make the first cut in early March and a second cut once the flowering period is over - September/October
- Harrow autumn or spring to regenerate annuals
How To Sow Your Lawn - Overseeding
Every year approximately up to a quarter of the average lawn may die. By sowing new lawn seed into an existing lawn, a technique used by professional groudnskeepers and known as overseeding, it is possible to rejuvenate your lawn.
- Dramatically improve the appearance of your lwan. New grass will retain its green colour longer in periods of drought.
- Reduce weed invasion thus help to minimise the use of chemicals. This is both cost effective and environmentally friendly.
The first stage is to closely mow the lawn. Choose a time when the lawn is dry. Remove any rubbish from the surface of the lawn before mowing.
In Spring or Autumn rake the lawn using a spring tine rake to remove and break up layers of dead matted grass or thatch.
This process is known as scarifying and can be made easier using a powered scarifying machine if the thatch is thick, however, although it may be gard work using a conventional rake, it will probably do the job just as well and keep you fit in the meantime!!
If scrifying is done in Autumn it will have the additional benefit of stimulating the side shoots and runners, which are developing at this time of year.
Spike the ground with a fork or a hollowtine aerator up to a depth of 15cm(6in) to eliminate compaction.
Top dress the lawn in Spring with a mixtire of sand, compost or loam, proportions will be dependent on soil type. This will result in denser grass growth and level out minor hollows.
Thsi will help to improve drainage by getting water and aire to the roots as well as nutrients, so improving the health of your lawn.
Feed your lawn in spring and Autumn with Johnsons Bio-Active Lawn Feed, (high nitrogen in Spring, low nitrogen in Autumn).
Fertiliser should be applied the same day as sowing grass seed or up to a few days after.
Scatter fertiliser evenly over lawn surface using the recommended rate on the pack. Rake in fertiliser to ensure even distribution.
Water lawn surface is dry weather follows.
Use gloves when applying fertiliser and avoid contact with your eyes. Wash hands after use. If swallowed contact a doctor immediately.
Select a suitable mixture of lawn seed.
Sow approximately 25g per m²
Ideally, sow the seed after the ground has been moistened by a good fall of rain. This will give your seed adequate moisture to start with.
Mix the seed in a bucket with general purpose compost and sand for even seed distribution.
Scatter the mixture liberally over the existing lawn area to ensure a good blend with existing grass.
Rake area so that seed comes into contact with soil. This will improve germination. Lightly roll if possible.
Keep off the newly overseeded area if possible to allow tender young shoots to gain strength and help with establishment.
If dry weather follows overseeding, water copiously with a fine spray keeping the seedbed constantly moist.
When grass is 5-8cms (2-3in) high cut for the first time. Trim lightly and very gradually lower blades to an ideal cutting height of 25mm (1in) for mixtures containing ryegrass and 13mm (½in) for non ryegrass mixtures.
Mow regularly but try not to remove more than a third of the growth at any one time.