Enhancing a grassy field using Yellow Rattle seed

Part of my work is to advise on wild flower meadow creation and management, sometimes I carry out the work too with my colleague. Here is a field we sowed with Yellow Rattle seed in 2011 to reduce the grass vigour and open up the sward and then we added wild flower seeds.

Field in its original grassy state
The results five years later.

Once Yellow Rattle was established in one part of the large field we collected its seed with our ‘flail collector mower’ and dropped and spread the cuttings in other parts which needed more Yellow Rattle and we did the same with seed from wild flowers which had established elsewhere within the field.

This is a longer process to reach the end result compared to creating a wild flower meadow anew from bare ground whereby full colour can be achieved within a year but on the right sites it is very achievable and benefits from no use of any chemicals which often need to be employed when creating a meadow from scratch where weeds are potentially a big issue when bare ground is created. I find this enhancement method is better where wild rabbits are a threat which would otherwise destroy a newly germinating meadow coming up from bare ground.

An area of the field still requiring Yellow Rattle colonisation in 2015
Preparing the area to receive the seed
That's how tight I like it cut before spreading on the cuttings containing the seeds
The Yellow Rattle seed rich cuttings being scattered on the required area
The results of adding the Yellow Rattle seed rich cuttings in late summer 2015, photo taken late July 2016 showing swathes of Yellow Rattle seed heads
Wild flowers more prolific thanks to the Yellow Rattle reducing the grass competition