Some of you will have seen our R&D site at Ashe Warren Farm and we are investing more time and people into our R& D Programme with a view to producing new and improved products and continually improved guidance on wildflower maintenance and management.
We will be sharing the knowledge we gain from this R&D function over time, with a particular focus on our Accreditation Plus Day on Thursday, 11th July where we will share much more with you.
An example of the kind of work we are doing (and pictorially tracking) is a recent project focussing on different cutting and removal regimes for wildflower areas in order to understand the impact on growth habit, health and species diversity. This will allow us to better advise on the best techniques for different sites and circumstances.
On our R&D trial site we have a total of 7 different cutting regimes across 6 different species mixes at the moment.
On our standard Landscape 34 Wildflower Turf mix alone, we are trialling the following cutting regimes:
1- No cut and remove at all for 3 years.
2- A single tight cut and remove in Autumn.
3- 1 high summer cut (June) and 1 tight Autumn (both removal of cuttings).
4- 2 tight cuts in June and Autumn, leave the cuttings on site.
5- 6 tight cuts i.e. monthly and leave the cuttings (replicating typical maintenance in public areas).
6- 1 tight cut in late July/August and removal of cuttings.
7- 1 tight cut and remove in Autumn every other year.
You can see an example of the type of pictorial tracking we do for each of these seven different regimes; the photos below relate to Cutting Regime 3, trialled last summer.
The images show how well the meadow bounced back after a cut and remove, and how much longer the 2nd flush of flowering will go on for compared to a 1 cut and remove in a year.
We now have a new recruit within our R&D function (Dr. Janine Robinson) who will keep driving this programme forward and we will continue to share the results of our research with you.