How to Establish a Wildflower Meadow – Seed or Turf?

The first question to answer is why would you choose a wildflower environment in the first place? The Grasslands Trust state that “97% of our lowland meadows have disappeared since the Second World War” and the importance of this bio-diverse habitat should not be underestimated. Bees, butterflies and invertebrates, as well as mammals, reptiles and birds all thrive in a bio-diverse meadow and there is now a vital ground swell of good intention towards their reintroduction. If this is not reason enough, BREEAM and the Code for Sustainable Homes demand bio-diversity and Planning Policy Statement 9 insist “Planning Authorities have a duty to maintain and enhance bio-diversity”.
The benefits of a wildflower environment range from a naturally colourful area with fantastic design opportunities to a very low maintenance requirement that is drought tolerant and only requires an autumn cut.
But the difficulty is getting a wildflower meadow established, and the only sensible options are to use Wildflower Turf™ or wildflower seed. There are pros and cons to both methods but here are a few thoughts to consider when making the choice.

Site Preparation
“One year’s seeding is seven years weeding” is an old farming adage and it is very relevant when it comes to establishing a wildflower meadow. It is hard to clean up the ground prior to sowing and one application of Glyphosate will only deal with those plants that are green and growing. There are still six years’ worth of dormant seeds in the soil that are desperate to establish and will do at the same speed or quicker, than the sown wildflower seed. This can result in weed domination!
By using Wildflower Turf™ after one spray, the weed seeds left in the soil are suppressed by the blanket effect of the turf. So weeds cannot establish giving an instant weed free meadow!

When sowing seed the application rate MUST be accurate. Too much seed will severely hamper the variety of species that will develop, and it is hard to get the seed rate right with such small rates required. The turf already has the correct plant density and simply needs laying.
Once the meadow is there as either a turfed area or a seeded area maintenance is required. With seed, the area needs to be mown regularly (and the cutting’s removed) for the first three to four years. The regularity of mowing will depend on the site, but can be as much as once every three weeks. This is because mowing is the only tool to keep the weeds down while the perennial wildflower seeds establish. It is possible to spot spray weeds but this is time consuming and requires a skilled operator that can identify the weeds and has the necessary skills to handle herbicides.
Wildflower Turf™ requires no spot spraying as it is weed free and as the plants are established when it arrives, it only needs cutting in the autumn and the cuttings removed.

Tel 01256 771222


Wildflower Turf Ltd will supply a cost analysis but whilst the initial cost of turf is higher than the cost of seed, the overall costs for the establishment of the meadow are considerably less if using the turf. But using Wildflower Turf guarantees the establishment of a meadow and using seed does not. In addition, Wildflower Turf offers support and guidance to their customers based on many years of trials and experience in the best method for establishing a meadow. So included in the price of Wildflower Turf is a history and wealth of knowledge that may not be available with seed.

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