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Return to Index - Wildflower Growers Manual

Page 7eGaps to let seeds grow 

 

Gap creation

Most old style wild meadows were created by grazing animals. Farmers allowed livestock to  graze a meadow from October to Mid April mid May, and then removed the animals, to allow to grow to produce hay, the farmer cut the meadow before the grass flowered, we need to recreate these conditions. but allow the grass to flower, but not set seed. Farmers remove the hay every year.

We have to try, copy what animals do to meadows. Livestock open the soil with their hooves and eat the rosette species.  Copy this pattern.

Similar to scarifying a lawn, gap creation is required to scrape away the dead thatch that develops over the soil each autumn. The aim is to expose the soil to sunlight, open the meadow up!

Gap creation is used to allow new seedlings to replace plants that have died off. 

Remove the dead thatch of grass covering the soil, it kills seedlings and causes mould. 

Rake by hand for small areas

Use a 'Chain harrow', some models of harrow can be turned up side down to better pull away the dead grass stalks / hay that is left after cutting. 

A thorny branch was traditionally used. 

The aim of Gap creation is to rake over all the plants after they have been cut with a grass strimmer or ride-on cutting machinery.  
'Finger bar' or Sickle bar (5 HP) hand controlled or tractor mounted mowers do well, but the finger cutting blades break if they hit stones.

Cutting and raking wont harm the plants, As most plants have stopped growing above the soil no harm will be done to them.

Clump or rosette forming plants like an ox-eye daisy can spread over areas of soil that other plants could be germinating on. Gap creation, damages some of these rosettes and improves flowering. Before Gap creation, Spot weed killing of grasses and weeds may be done.

After gap creation spray off or root out any creeping White Clover or creeping Buttercup, they ruin most meadows. Do not kill the larger leafed non-creeping Red Clover as we include it in the mixtures. Red Clover has a single non-spreading taproot, White Clover spreads or creeps very fast on certain soils.