Suitable Sites for Wildflora Projects
Establishing Wild flora
The aim is to adopt management practices which satisfy several criteria:
It has been suggested that a wildflower meadow is cheaper to maintain than closely mown grassland, by virtue of the fact that it will often need cutting only once or twice each year. There are many controversial issues underlining the hypothesis, and careful consideration should always be given to the use of wildflower swards to achieve this aim. Acceptance of higher initial costs being one of them.
Modern farming methods have led to the virtual exclusion of many wildflora species and their accompanying fauna within grassland and hedgerows. By establishing managed conservation areas we can, at least on a small scale, help protect and hopefully encourage the creation of new wildlife habitats.
The establishment of wildflower areas leads to a more diverse and interesting spectacle for the general public. In particular, some motorway embankments and other roadside verges lend themselves as ideal areas for the establishment of species-rich swards.
Clearly not all areas can be treated identically and it is of the utmost importance that the proposed use of the site in question is identified at the planning stage. A football pitch will require different design, planning and management considerations than a country park.
Suitable Sites For Wild Flora Projects
Sites that have benefited from the use of wild flowers are increasing. New road development can be seen as the enemy to environmental campaigns, however the development of a new road provides the ideal opportunity to provide diverse wildlife corridors in urban and rural areas along the length of the construction.
Golf courses can also provide these corridors between different holes in rough areas on the course. Not only does this provide an attractive, low maintenance, wildlife-rich feature, but also defines the different holes well and provides a challenging aspect to a round of golf should one be unfortunate enough to have to play a shot from here!
Mineral extraction has been devastating to some areas of the country. However, with the natural resources spent these areas can be transformed into species-rich grassland in a few short years given the correct sowings and subsequent maintenance.
Even small areas of your garden can be transformed with woodland edge species for shaded areas under trees or lay meadow species with poppies and cornflowers in rough cut grass areas.
The list really is endless. However two issues hold the key to success:
- The correct seed mixture specification and sowing
- The subsequent maintenance (cutting regime)
It is also essential that we spend a little time looking at the type of soil that is on site. As a rule, wild flower mixtures generally prefer poor, low fertility soils, so the vast majority of soils are suitable. In very extreme cases of soil conditions, careful mixture selection is needed. Acid grassland communities can be established on a soil pH as low as 4 and limestone mixtures on a soil pH of up to 9-10.