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Wildflower meadow maintenance jobs for autumn

Autumn is the hush before winter. ~French Proverb

Autumn in the wildflower meadow is all about preparing for next year in line with the 5 principals of meadow management. Crucially, that means continuing to reduce soil fertility, suppress grasses, conserve the wild flowers, control unwanted species and encourage a wider range of species.

    • Growing:By the time autumn arrives, your wildflower meadow should have had the main cut of the year (unless it has been created using Meadowmat for Birds and Bees - see below). If your hay crop is still standing, cut it back now. 
      After the main cut in your wildflower meadow, allow the plants to recover and grow. Don't even think about adding fertiliser of any kind.

 

    • Mowing: A traditionally managed meadow would be grazed at this time of year. Assuming you don't have a herd of cattle in your garden, it's a good thing to mow once or twice in autumn. Keep the mower on its highest setting - aim for a cutting height of 10cm (4 inches) and be sure to remove all clippings. This is a good way to reduce soil fertility.

 

    • Autumn leaves that fall on to your meadow should be removed before they can rot down and add to soil nutrients: Hint: running over autumn leaves with a mower and grass box will pick them up, chop them up and prepare them for composting

 

If your wildflower meadow is especially grassy, now is the time to sow seeds of yellow rattle. Yellow rattle is an annual wildflower that suppresses grasses. It needs to be sown in autumn using fresh seed. The seed needs to feel the winter frost if it is to germinate in spring.
hay rattle (yellow rattle) flowers in grassland

Autumn maintenance for Meadowmat for Birds and Bees

Meadowmat for Birds and Bees is all about late summer seed heads that persist into autumn and winter. Autumn maintenance for this seed mix is simple. Don't do anything. Just enjoy watching the birds visiting your garden. If you like photography, the seedheads will make excellent subjects - especially on frosty mornings.

Making a wildflower meadow in autumn

Here is a short video to illustrate how easy it is to lay Meadowmat wild flower matting. For more information about making and maintaining a wildflower meadow, download our free guide

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