Trials but no tribulations in Surrey as our Meadowscape Pro™ product is put to the test.
Back in 2020, Godalming Town Council had great success trialling our Meadowscape Pro™ product and this is an excellent case study to consider when looking at the results that can be achieved using our enhanced growing medium.
This particular project has its inception with the Godalming Joint Burial Committee desiring to create a colourful and biodiverse UK native wildflower display around the burial grounds at Eashing Cemetery.
With large swathes of existing grassland present (currently mown down annually with large sections of bracken invasion), a trial area in the existing mown turf area was identified with the aim of establishing the most effective way of increasing the wildflower species mix in the existing grasslands.
The council earmarked 2 x 200m2 plots, dividing one into 6 equal sections and the other plot into 2 sections.
The trial was then conducted as follows:
The objective for Area 1 was to establish the best method of removing the existing grass sward to enable wildflowers to establish and ultimately thrive. Existing vegetation was to be removed without disturbing the dormant seed bank below.
Sections A and F were left as controls, with no removal of existing vegetation.
Sections B and E were sprayed with ‘New Way Weed Spray’ (acetic acid) natural herbicide.
Sections C and D were sprayed with Glyphosate chemical herbicide.
After one week, the areas were close mown, and arisings removed.
Sections A, B and C were then scarified, arisings removed and then the sections were over sown with Native Enriched wildflower mix.
Sections D, E, and F were top-dressed with Meadowscape Pro™ on the 8th of April 2020.
The sections in Area 2 were dug over using an excavator, levelled and left fallow for two months. Any emerging weeds and grasses were spot treated with Glyphosate one week prior to installation.
Section A was scarified to create a fine tilth and over seeded with a wildflower seed mix.
Section B was top dressed with Meadowscape Pro™ on the 8th of April 2020.
Both Areas 1 and 2 were watered as evenly as possible for five weeks following installation.
Of the sections in question, it was noted that the sections sown with Meadowscape Pro™ were the first to germinate and establish (19 May 2020).
Meadowscape Pro™ had by far the better establishment in both Areas 1 and 2. Area 2 appeared to have had slightly more growth than Area 1 which may be down to less compaction due to cultivation or more fertile ground. It was noted that there was some weed ingress and careful spot spraying would be required to maintain the integrity of the native meadow. (No spot spraying took place during the first trial.)
Area 1(D) appeared to have been the best method for establishment of a UK native wildflower meadow due to the speed of establishment and minimal weed and grass ingress.
Both areas will continue to be monitored and further conclusions drawn after the second flowering season.
During the trial it was noted that there was a remarkable increase in the number of bees, grasshoppers, butterflies and moths in the trial areas compared to the existing grasslands around the rest of the cemetery.
From a Wildflower Turf Ltd perspective, this trial has also been an excellent illustration as to the difference of establishment using the same wildflower seed mix but with different ground preparation and installation methods, and we have been delighted that Meadowscape Pro™ has provided the Council with such effective results.
Use of Glyphosate
“Whilst in an ideal situation an alternative to Glyphosate would be best, this trial has shown that when used correctly, at the right time of year, and with responsible and targeted use, it can be a useful tool for the removal of grass and weeds. Although differing sowing methods were used, the indications of this trial are that Area 1D, which was treated with Glyphosate, proved to the best method for establishing native wildflower areas and is expected to have the best longevity and least likely to succumb to being overcrowded by grasses and dominant weeds. Utilising this method of installation successfully ensured the quick establishment of a habitat suitable for varied and numerous invertebrates and pollinating insects where no such habitat previously existed. This is in stark contrast to areas treated with alternatives that failed to suppress the growth of grasses, which in turn prevented the wildflowers from establishing.” Quote taken from JBC Eashing Cemetery Rewilding Project Report
A final note about Meadowscape Pro™
Meadowscape Pro™ is Wildflower Turf Ltd’s enhanced growing medium that provides effective wildflower establishment. Enriched with Hydropor™, the specially developed formula supports good water percolation and retention, stabilising the growing medium for much better seed germination compared to more conventional direct seeding. Learn more about the Meadowscape Pro™ range and its many benefits here.
PHOTO CREDITS: Godalming Town Council
If you have an interesting project or a trial of your own that you would like to organise, please do get in touch. Email us at [email protected] or call us on 01256 771 222.