ESG3 – Meadowland Mixture
This mixture contains both fine grasses and more robust species such as cocksfoot and meadow fescue. This is a very adaptable mixture which may be used to create buffer strips, margins and field corners. It is also useful for creating low-input grassland for grazing.
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ESG3 can be used to produce permanent dense grass cover which will stabilise the soil, and help prevent pollutants, such as sediment and nutrients, from being transported in surface water runoff. This may in turn also help to reduce the risk of local flooding.
ESG3 can be sown on the edges of cultivated fields to form a grass buffer between the productive part of the field and an existing landscape feature or habitat.
Good preparation is essential to success so aim to control weeds and produce a good quality seed bed before sowing. Roll fluffy or dry seedbeds with a ring roll to consolidate before sowing.
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.
Seed must be surface sown: broadcast by machine or broadcast by hand (do not drill). Do not incorporate or cover the seed, but roll to firm it in and get good soil/seed contact.
First year management
Top all plant growth (sown species and weeds) at least 3 times through the first season (removing cuttings if dense) to prevent weeds smothering the slower-growing grasses. More frequent and regular topping will minimise the amount of toppings produced each time so they can be left to disperse.
Management once established
Management once a grass sward is established will depend on site objectives. Follow stewardship guidelines where these apply.
If cutting, do not mow before 15th July each year, then manage the sward by grazing or cutting to achieve an average sward height of between 5cm and 15cm in November.
As ESG3 includes more productive grasses like cocksfoot and meadow fescue, it is also well suited to an extensive grazing regime of pasture management.
The environmental benefits of sowing ESG3 can be increased by adding wild flowers where soil fertility and weed pressure is not too high. Fairly robust flower species should be used, such as contained in ESF1.