EN1 – Special pollen and nectar meadow mixture
This meadow mixture is designed to create flower rich grassland with a particular emphasis on species which are known to be important as sources of pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies, hoverflies and other insects.
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Like our EM3 special general purpose mixture, EN1 contains a wide range of species making this mix suitable for sowing on a wide range of soil types. The varied species in EN1F have diverse requirements: some like wet soils, some like free draining or chalky soils. These requirements are unlikely to be met for all species in any one location. However it is reasonable to expect a good selection of species to establish on most sites, the balance of which will reflect local conditions.
Endeavour to select ground that is not highly fertile and does not have a problem with perennial weeds. Good preparation is essential to success so aim to control weeds and produce a good quality seed bed before sowing.
To prepare a seed bed, first remove weeds using repeated cultivation or a herbicide. Then plough or dig to bury the surface vegetation, harrow or rake to produce a medium tilth, and roll, or tread, to produce a firm surface. (more on preparation)
Seed is best sown in the autumn or spring but can be sown at other times of the year if there is sufficient warmth and moisture. The seed must be surface sown and can be applied by machine or broadcast by hand. To get an even distribution and avoid running out, divide the seed into two or more parts and sow in overlapping sections. Do not incorporate or cover the seed but firm in with a roll, or by treading, to give good soil/seed contact. (more on sowing)
First year management
Most of the sown meadow species are perennial, will be slow to germinate and grow and will not usually flower in the first growing season. There will often be a flush of annual weeds from the soil in the first growing season. This weed growth is easily controlled by topping or mowing.
Avoid cutting in the spring and early summer if the mixture is autumn sown and contains yellow rattle, or if the mixture has been sown with a nurse of cornfield annuals. These sown annuals should be allowed to flower, then in mid-summer the vegetation should be cut and removed. It is important to cut down the annuals before they die back, set seed and collapse: this cut will reveal the young meadow mixture and give it the space it needs to develop.
Management once established
In the second and subsequent years EN1 sowings can be managed in a number of ways which, in association with soil fertility, will determine the character of the grassland. The best results are usually obtained by traditional meadow management based around a main summer hay cut, in combination with autumn and possibly spring mowing or grazing.
Meadow grassland is not cut or grazed from spring through to late July/August to give the sown species an opportunity to flower. After flowering in July or August take a 'hay cut': cut back with a scythe, petrol strimmer or tractor mower to around 50mm. Leave the 'hay' to dry and shed seed for 1-7 days then remove from site.
Mow or graze the re-growth through to late autumn/winter to c 50mm and again in spring if needed.
Because of their importance to bees, EN1 contains a higher proportion of clover and legumes than other Emorsgate mixtures. As as result you may experience years in which legumes produce luxuriant dominant growth - particularly on soils low in Nitrogen but high in Phosphates. This 'boom' in legumes usually lasts only a year or two and can be managed by rigorous mowing.
EN1 is a complete mix composed of 20% native wild flowers and 80% slow growing grasses (by weight). The flower and grass components are also available to order separately as EN1F for the flower component and EG5 for the grass component.