Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Wildflower meadows-Rolling and Harrowing  (Read 1764 times)

Rebecca and Mark

  • Joined Mar 2021
Wildflower meadows-Rolling and Harrowing
« on: March 15, 2023, 10:21:28 am »
Morning all 😊
We are coming up to our third year of haymaking from our wildflower meadows and so far have only harrowed but we know we need to roll as well, and to fertilise, problem is, we donít know which order to do it in 😬
Any ideas and suggestions would be greatly appreciated x


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Wildflower meadows-Rolling and Harrowing
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2023, 01:09:46 pm »
I shall be interested in this.
My first thought is 'do you fertilise wildflower meadows?'  I thought the idea was to keep fertility down so coarse grasses don't grow, while wildflowers don't need high fertility.

Can you share more about your meadow please?  Is it the type where you cleared off the grass and sowed wildflower seeds?  Or is it the kind where you cut the grass short then planted out plugs of local native wildflower plants?
I am trying to do the second type but with very little success  ;D  (in part I think because we have also planted trees so we can't keep the grass down and neither of us has the strength or energy any more to wield a mower between the trees  ::) )
Do you have any photos of the meadow as it's developed?
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

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  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Wildflower meadows-Rolling and Harrowing
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2023, 01:31:40 pm »
I would have thought harrow, fertilise and then roll. Having said that everything I have read says don't roll, because it compresses the ground and spoils the water retention. As said, adding fertiliser will encourage the grasses which will swamp the wild flowers. We have poppies here which only grow after the grass has been cut.


  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
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Re: Wildflower meadows-Rolling and Harrowing
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2023, 08:45:47 pm »
I have recently planted a wildflower area outside my fence along the roadside which was weed and scrubby bushes previously.  Friends got busy with heavy duty strimmers to take it down to ground level.

It's not for harvesting, just to make the area prettier.  I was told by plant and seed companies not to fertilise as wildflowers don't like extra nutrients.  I can see that if you need haylage you need to fertilise though

I've added a few perennials along the fence line to try to add interest and height, and there were daffodils underground which had never had a chance to grow through the weeds and I'm hoping they'll now come through.  I've added more bulbs but they'd been sitting a while so they may not all come through.  My son strimmed the whole area down to about 5/6 inches after the autumn - so I'm just crossing fingers and toes that there's some colour this year.

Good luck with yours :fc:
« Last Edit: March 15, 2023, 08:48:00 pm by doganjo »
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age


  • Joined Jul 2020
  • North Devon
Re: Wildflower meadows-Rolling and Harrowing
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2023, 09:53:11 pm »
Harrow, roll, but donít fertilise unless you wish grass species to dominate. By removing a hay crop youíre making the perfect habitat for wild species. Rolling is fine as long as the soil is drying out and not like plasticine. Itís a fine line between effective rolling and damaging the soil by going too early. On balance itís better to wait until the soil is really dry, harrow aggressively and roll several times. However, the plants will be growing all this time so your window of opportunity is small as harrowing will kill some.

Why do you think it needs harrowing or rolling? Donít underestimate the beneficial effect of stock in rolling (cf poaching !)particularly when soils are dry.

Whoever said farming was easy?


  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Wildflower meadows-Rolling and Harrowing
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2023, 03:06:50 pm »
Our old meadows are wildflower rich.  We will roll to flatten the molehills once the ground is dry but not hard.  After the hay is taken we spread our muck heap onto the field and harrow that a few weeks later to break up any lumps of muck that may be around.

The sheep will graze in the autumn so that the field is eaten down before winter.


Wildflower area maintenance

Started by doganjo (8.48)

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Last post November 17, 2022, 01:08:33 pm
by doganjo

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