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Author Topic: Managing wildflower/ wildlife area of woodland  (Read 1973 times)


  • Joined Mar 2019
Managing wildflower/ wildlife area of woodland
« on: March 16, 2019, 08:48:44 pm »
Hi Guys,

We have an area of about 1 acre of woodland banks and after a long time trying to decide what to do with it I have decided to dedicate that area of the farm to a wild flower/ wildlife area.

It has in recent years been cleared of brambles and saplings so whilst we have a few large old trees (it was the old tree lined driveway) it has been seeded with a woodland grass mix and has plenty of light allowing this to grow well.

The cows have grazed this area for a couple of years but will now be kept of.

I'm after any advice at all as it is an area totally new to me!  I'm wanting flowers and anything that will benefit the wildlife, particularly the bees.  But I'm also scared that the weeds and brambles will take over again!

Any advice or hints and tips greatly welcomed.



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  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
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Re: Managing wildflower/ wildlife area of woodland
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2019, 03:24:20 pm »
Check out conservation grazing   ….. your cows grazing at certain times could be the key :)

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  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Managing wildflower/ wildlife area of woodland
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2019, 06:41:39 pm »
It sounds like an area which would love woodland edge plants such as primrose, bluebells (true English not Spanish), wood anemone, wild garlic and so on (maybe not foxglove as it's poisonous to livestock, but so pretty). Wild roses, and various shrubby native trees such as hawthorn, rowan, one or two elder, all carry flowers and berries the bees and birds love.   If you can afford it, using plants rather than seeds for the flowers tends to be more successful.  There are some good wildflower suppliers around and their websites often have good advice.  What you don't want is 'wildlife meadow' plants.
If you intend to use animals to keep the grass down, research a bit to find when they should go on and off.
Put up some bird boxes too - you just have time if you send off for them now, otherwise put them up in the autumn.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

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  • Joined Sep 2014
  • Norfolk
Re: Managing wildflower/ wildlife area of woodland
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2019, 07:43:51 pm »
The brambles and “scrub” often support a lot of wildlife, in particular nesting sites for birds and it may be worth allowing some space for this. We have turtle doves nest in our taller scrub, amongst other things, unlike our managed woodland wildflower area.


  • Joined Mar 2010
  • Just when I thought I'd settled down...!
Re: Managing wildflower/ wildlife area of woodland
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2019, 06:04:00 pm »
Check out conservation grazing   ….. your cows grazing at certain times could be the key :)


Without revealing my super mysterious Real Life identity, this is sort of my thing!

It sounds like you have fencing and means to control grazing access, so you can design your own grazing schedule. Essentially you want a nice native breed to send in and keep on top of any bramble and ivy before it can outcompete anything. Also, depending on your seed mixture you might need to keep on top of the grass itself. Traditional woodland grazing varies - some areas use the trees as shelter in the winter months. This approach would keep "strong" vegetation in check ready for more delicate wild flowers to come through in spring. On the other hand, fresh green growth of the strong vegetation is more appealing to be eaten (so spring, summer).

Have a play. See what feels right. See what your animals will turn their nose up at!

Oh - leave a couple of patches of scrub if you can. You'll want a few saplings growing up to become the veteran trees as yours die off (we're in the 100 - year realm here, don't worry!), and a clump of bramble can act as a natural tree guard.

Have fun!


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