To ensure wildflowers will appear again in the spring, it is important to maintain them correctly during the autumn. In order to avoid additional planting, perennial wildflowers need to be maintained annually to allow them to thrive and control unwanted, vigorous species.
When correctly managed, wildflowers can last between three to five years. However, if they are left unmanaged, the faster growing species such as grasses and weeds will take over the area. This will not only overpower the wildflowers, but it will also lead to unwanted varieties becoming the predominant species.
Strimming and Cutting Wildflowers
During the autumn, wildflowers should be strimmed or cut back to the correct height.
However, it is important to make sure that enough height is left on the stubble, the plants needing four to six inches to ensure that they survive through the winter.
When Should Wildflowers Be Cut?
Wildflowers should be cut between the end of August and early December. Cutting during this time of year helps to remove dead and surplus growth, preventing shading and grass species from dominating the area.
Post-cutting, it is beneficial to leave the cuttings from the surplus growth in place for a day or so to allow any seeds to fall into the soil. Removing the dead material is important for maintaining low nutrient soil. These should germinate the following spring, replenishing the meadow and ensuring a variety of species continue to thrive. The lack of material will ensure that light can reach the seedlings in time for the following spring.
Maintaining a Meadow
Hand shears or grass trimmers can be used when maintaining a wildflower garden. However, when using a grass strimmer, it is important to be careful as it can be easy to cut too low. Weeds, such as dock leaves, nettles, and thistles, should be removed by hand to prevent them from colonising the area and out competing the wildflowers.
There is no need to feed or water wildflowers over winter; their natural habitat is nutrient-poor soils and therefore they require no extra input.