EN1F – Special pollen & nectar wild flowers
This wild flower mixture contains species which are known to be important as sources of pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies, hoverflies and other insects.
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100% wild flower mixtures are best sown into existing grass or combined with a suitable grass seed mix. If sown alone, without grass, onto bare soil the spaces left between the sown flowers will be filled by grasses and other weeds.
The varied species in EN1F have diverse requirements: some like wet soils, others 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.
When sowing wild flower seed directly into existing grass the site must be carefully chosen and the ground preparation must be good. Select grassland on poor to moderately fertile soil with a fine sward structure and few perennial weeds or vigorous grasses. Unless yellow rattle is already established in the sward, results can often be improved by adding yellow rattle seed at up to 1g/m2 to this mix.
Control any perennial weeds such as docks or thistles.
Prepare the ground for sowing in late summer by cutting and/or grazing very hard and create gaps either with harrows or by raking (aiming to create around 50% bare soil). Alternatively spray patches or strips with a herbicide like glyphosate to create gaps in the vegetation. (more on preparation)
Sow in the autumn using a 100% wild flower mixture. Bulk up the seed with an inert carrier such as sand to make distribution easier. The seed must be surface sown and can be applied by machine or broadcast by hand. Rolling is not usually necessary. (more on sowing)
First year management
After sowing continue mowing or grazing, aiming to keep the grass short (30-50mm). Continue mowing/grazing through winter and early spring as needed. Stop mowing/grazing in April and leave until July/August at which time it can be managed as established grassland, described below.
With the exception of yellow rattle, most of the sown meadow species are perennial and will be slow to germinate, grow and flower, particularly against the competition from established grasses.
Management once established
Established grassland can be managed in a number of ways which, in association with soil fertility, will determine its character. 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 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 legimes 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.
EN1F is a mixture containing 100% native wild flowers for sowing into existing grass or combining with a suitable grass seed mix. EG5 is the grass mix we recommend for sowing with these flowers. EN1F and EG5 are available premixed as a complete meadow mixture EN1.