Semi-improved grasslands still retain a good number of grasses and valuable wildflowers such as Red Clover, Bird's-foot Trefoil, Ox-eye Daisy and Knapweed which are important for Bumblebees and many other insects. Under traditional management these also have the potential for supporting more species, and new sites created from scratch also fall into this category.
Do you think you own a species-poor grassland? Would you like to diversify it?
If so we recommend following the the steps below. Our information sheets provide more detail on each step and please do not hesitate to contact the Weald Meadows Officer if you would like some free advice.
1. Consider managing appropriately for a couple of years to encourage natural regeneration first.
2. If you have a high weed content - greater than 50% ground cover - then reject wildflower introduction and carry out weed control.
3. If weed level is low, test the soil to establish whether the pH is acidic/neutral/low and if it is low in nutrients (essential for wild flower species introduction).
4. Decide if your grassland is suitable for enhancement; either the introduction of mixed wildflower and grass seed or single species wildflowers.
You will need infertile, weed free, open and fine grassland. If your grassland is not open and fine you can introduce an annual wildflower called Yellow Rattle - that can cope with Perennial Rye Grass and can help encourage natural diversity in the sward.
5. If your grassland is suitable for enhancement, consider sourcing your seed from a nearby wildflower grassland or supplier of native origin seed (ideally Weald Native Origin Seed).
6. Manage your grassland - this is essential to the successful establishment of any newly introduced wildflower or grass species sward.