Virgin Media News Video 17.09.21
01:35
Top Tips for Creating a Wildflower Meadow
07:52

Top Tips for Creating a Wildflower Meadow

Meadows that bloom are really fantastic sources of food for pollinators, probably the most cost-effective way that you can help. That’s the beauty of reducing mowing – we can move really easily from an area of shortly mown grass into a naturally regenerated meadow really easily – you just need to be patient, you need to manage it properly and you need to let those flowers grow again. There are two types of meadows you can create: Meadow Type 1: SHORT-flowering Meadow - where you just reduce your mowing, so you’re mowing every 4 or 6 weeks, instead of really regularly, and that allows flowers like Clover and Dandelion to grow and provide food for pollinators. Meadow Type 2: LONG-flowering Meadow, when you just cut once a year, in September and you remove the cut away again. With long-flowering meadows, there are three things you have to remember in terms of management: 1: Always remove grass cuttings to reduce soil fertility 2: Remove fast-growing/noxious plants 3: Please be patient! 4. Choose the correct location 5. Cut paths through meadows 6. Put up signage 7. Plan your annual cut and removal of cuttings 8. Again try to be patient, it will be worth it! Production of this video has been funded by Kildare County Council, Kilkenny County Council, Wicklow County Council and the Department of Housing, Local Government through the National Biodiversity Action Plan Fund. Many thanks to Bridget Loughlin, Heritage Officer, Kildare County Council; Dearbhala Ledwidge, Heritage Officer, Kilkenny County Council; and Deirdre Burns, Heritage Officer, Wicklow County Council, for supporting this project. Produced by Peter Cutler, https://crowcragproductions.com & Juanita Browne, National Biodiversity Data Centre
Creating Meadows for Biodiversity
19:43

Creating Meadows for Biodiversity

One of the main actions promoted by the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is to cut grass less often, in order to encourage our native wildflowers. Our common wildflowers, such as dandelions, clover, birds'-foot-trefoil and knapweed supply really important food sources for pollinating insects. When you reduce mowing, you can decide to have a LONG-FLOWERING MEADOW (cut annually) or a SHORT-FLOWERING one (cut every 4 to 6 weeks). Either approach can be taken in any area - from the smallest patch to the largest field. Some of the best areas include a mix of long and short-flowering meadows as well as regularly mown grass – all in the one location. Long-flowering meadows are cut once a year in September and the cut grass is taken away. They provide both food and shelter for insects. Short-flowering meadows are cut throughout the year, but less frequently than you’re normally used to, so that more flowers get a chance to grow and provide food amongst the grass. The grass is removed each time rather than mulching back in so as to reduce soil fertility and encourage wildflowers, which do better in less fertile soil. Advice: - In long-flowering areas, cut around the outside and if it’s large, cut paths through the centre of the meadow so that people know it’s deliberate, they can walk through the meadow, and it still looks managed. - Put up a sign so that visitors understand what you’re doing. - Long-flowering meadows can’t just be left and ignored. You will still need to remove things like Thistles, Nettles, Docks, Hogweed and Ragwort in the first few years. Once it establishes this should no longer be necessary. If you leave these pernicious weeds – they’ll be back next year, probably in greater numbers. - If the grass growth is very strong and the vegetation is falling over under its own weight, cut sooner, e.g. July and again in September. After a few years as soil fertility is lowered, this earlier cut will no longer be necessary and one cut at the end of the summer will be enough. - Don’t have long-flowering meadows in unsuitable areas. We would never advocate taking out areas where children play, or people walk – it’s about managing landscapes that work for people and wildlife. - If it’s on public land, choose carefully where to let grass grow to develop a meadow area. Very fertile areas will take a while to become flower-rich and may be a hard sell to the public. Also try to avoid planning a long-flowering meadow in areas where it might become a litter trap. Many public meadows do have to be walked for litter before the autumn cut so that machinery isn’t damaged. - When you cut your long-flowering meadow in September, if you can, let the grass lie for a few days to allow more seeds to drop. Don’t worry if this isn’t possible though, as it may be easier to cut and bale in one action. - If you’re opting for reduced mowing – it’s fine to play it by ear on your cutting regime – if your meadow contains flowers and bees are using them, leave it for as long as you are comfortable with or for as long as your mower can still manage to cut and lift. If there are no flowers – it’s fine to cut. - There is no evidence that meadows attract rodents. - Think in advance about how you are going to manage long-flowering meadows – the hay cut needs to be removed in autumn. This does involve work! To find out more about reducing grass cutting to help pollinators, and other ways to help pollinators, see pollinators.ie Production of this video has been funded by Kildare County Council, Kilkenny County Council, Wicklow County Council and the Department of Housing, Local Government through the National Biodiversity Action Plan Fund. Many thanks to Bridget Loughlin, Heritage Officer, Kildare County Council; Dearbhala Ledwidge, Heritage Officer, Kilkenny County Council; and Deirdre Burns, Heritage Officer, Wicklow County Council, for supporting this project. Produced by Peter Cutler, CrowCrag Productions (https://crowcragproductions.com) & Juanita Browne, www.NatureNerd.ie