EG8 – Meadow grass mixture for wetlands
EG8 contains species suitable for seasonally wet soils and is based on the grassland of traditional water meadows.
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Ideally select ground that is not highly fertile and does not have a problem with perennial weeds (especially grass weeds like couch). 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
Growth and establishment of wild grasses may be slow initially, especially at low sowing rates (2-5g/m2). 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.
Mow regularly until the sown grasses are well established.
Management once established
In the second and subsequent years grass sowings can be managed in a number of ways which, in association with soil fertility, will determine the character of the grassland.
Regular mowing or continuous grazing will produce a short turf or lawn.
The sowing can be managed as a meadow allowing the grasses to grow tall, flower and seed from May through to July/August. The grass meadow should be cut back and mowing resumed in late summer.
Grassland which is not cut or grazed each year will eventually become coarse and tussocky in character.
Wild flower seed can be added after the grasses have established and weed problems have been dealt with. The sward will need preparation for sowing into existing grass. Flower establishment will not be as good as compared with sowing the grasses and flowers together on to bare soil, as the grasses have a 'head start'.
Generally when sowing EG8 grasses without wild flowers the sowing rate may be increased to 10-15g/m2 without compromising the development of diversity.