Weeds are plants in the wrong place,
unwanted and always vigorous. The best way to control weeds in wildflowers
is to start with a clean site, with soil free of weed roots.
However all soils (unless inert) contain weed seed in the soil bank.
To rid the soil of weeds there are many
methods, two tried and tested methods are to use
approved weed killers (herbicides) and or to turn the soil in dry weather
to bring the roots to the surface and dry them out, this method is
sometime called 'bastard fallowing'.
No need to plough or rotavate: If the soil
that you intend to sow wildflowers on has only got grass and no weeds it
is best not to turn or cultivate the soil.
Instead kill the grass and remove the dead
foliage, then rake or harrow the upper surface of the soil, do not turn
it, then sow the seed. This method stop weed seeds in the soil from being
turned up into the light into which they will germinate.
Read more on this
In technical folder: Soil Preparation, a new page on how to get the soil ready prior to sowing wildflower seed.
In Growers Manual: Full maintenance
instruction (Growers Manual Web)
EXISTING_VEGETATION (see web for full details)
Before sowing please clear the site of any weeds such as
Dock Dock page
< difficult to eradicate in early years, if infestation is controlled, by killing plants and
stopping flowering/seed set, dock will cease to be a problem, a grassy meadow will help control dock. Dock sets seed whilst in flower.
Creeping Buttercup < difficult to eradicate, if Creeping Buttercup this may
re-colonize the meadow, especially on your soils. A specific cut is required when Creeping Buttercup is in full flower. Do this in the early years even if it means sacrificing wildflowers.
Nettles < difficult to eradicate, regular cutting will remove nettles.
Couch Grass < very difficult to eradicate, remove as much root material before sowing, spot and weed wipe control after sowing, hand pull or
Thistle < depends on species> Can be attractive, will become a nuisance if uncontrolled.
Fern page < difficult to eradicate, regular cutting will remove
bracken, clearance of roots will be essential. Meadow management must
include cutting or burning to control.
Reeds < very difficult to eradicate, a mixture will be recommended that requires cutting to
control this weed.
Gorse < difficult to eradicate, a mixture will be recommended that requires cutting to
control this weed. Pull seeding as they emerge.
Briars, Bramble, Blackberry < Regular cutting once or twice a
year will eradicate this species. Briars are good for wildlife cover.
Site specific weeds < Species which are site specific and have a strong footfold will most likely be native to the site, we recommend working with them, in most cases, regular cutting will control and
favour grass and other species.
On very weedy sites I recommend delaying sowing for up to two years to ensure that you can 'bastard fallow' the ground.
While there is no need to plough, total control of the weeds described is recommended. Power harrow in summer 3 to 4 times per year across the surface. Or cut the meadow very often this year to weaken the weeds, rotavate in late summer when dry, keep we free over the winter and power harrow in
following summer. Weed killer can assist.
While there are nature friendly weed control/killer products available. Design By Nature does not recommend the use of weed killers/herbicides or similar products, or cultivation techniques which negatively effect the environment. While DBN uses weed killers in certain cases, we know from experience that in most cases 'ecological' growing methods are better to control weeds. Such methods may be more costly and time consuming. Our web site details some of these cultivation techniques.
However as many of our customers choose to use non natural weed control methods, we provide advise to assist.
At DBN we believe that the benefit of using non natural weed control to prepare, establish and maintain a meadow in the early years, far out-ways the negatives as the amount of wildlife attracted to our customers meadows is exponential.
Oh for some maintenance !!!!!!!