How to do a `Cut and Collect`Download

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How to do a ‘Cut and Collect’
The End of Season Cut
The one task common to all meadow schemes is an end of season ‘cut and
collect’. This controls weed and woody growth and promotes a dense matt of
desirable plant species.
We’re often asked when this should take place and what machines are used.
There’s no one answer so we thought we’d show you a range of circumstances
and techniques.
Clip 1
It’s the 13th of November 2015 and we’ve enjoyed a really warm autumn. This
is a small strip of experimental prairie just in its 2nd year of establishment. A lot
of plants here are slow- emergers, many species have only started to appear in
this 2nd year and many haven’t built up strong enough root systems yet to
support the quite tall and bulky forms we need them to establish. The scheme
has only just finished its main late autumn flowering and whilst there’s still a
lot of colour close up its looking scruffy from the road side. This is quite a tricky
decision as normally we’d not cut an established Prairie Meadow until. Whilst
this scheme is establishing though we need to strike a balance between
allowing young plants as much time to bulk up so they will be much stronger
next year with wanting to remove the over floppy damp stems. We’ve decided
to go for a 2 phase chop. Here’s Osmani topping the display with a strimmer.
He’ll rake off the loose vegetation and this should still allow the lower canopy
with enough foliage to carry on photosynthesising. Later in February we will
come back and mow right down to about 100mm and burn off the surface
which is a particularly good management technique with prairie meadow.
Clip 2
Date.
Here we are looking at a meadow area sown this time last year with the Purple
Haze Mix. So its still in its first growing season. To help this young meadow
establish we’ve already cut it down twice already, once in mid June and once in
late July. You can see just how much flower is still here this late in the season
and instead of looking brown, dry and leggy its really fresh and pretty. Theres
a great mix of plants well established and we expect to see a 2nd flush of late
emergers also coming through in gaps next spring. Were going to give this a
light and high cut with hedge trimers now just to make sure that that spring
growth is hampered by excess canopy. At the same time we don’t want to cut
too hard because these plants are still young and will really benefit from as
long a period of light that they can get
Clip 3
Date
A lovely dense area of Streamside which has been colourful and well
structured all year but is now starting to look unattractive from the roadside.
Technically we could leave the cut until very late winter but apart from the
aesthetics we also want to introduce some plug planted iris throughout this
scheme so have decided to cut and rake off the entire area now. This will also
allow us to spot spray the odd dock that has managed to evade us up to now
Clip 4
Date
This is Woodland Edge which is one of the mixes that has a a wonderful spring
display. Theres lots of flower in early summer too but by August the best is
really over. We left this with lots of attractive seed heads through summer
then cut and raked it off in very early September. You can see that its thick and
green and the light shade has inhibited any exuberant regrowth. Some flashes
of colour from the Primulas which often put on a late autumn early winter
display if they are allowed to have some dappled light. We wont touch this
again now and just let it overwinter like this and then will expect to see very
rapid growth and lots of flowers emerging from early spring
Clip 5
We have 2 examples of Treasure Chest.
This first one looked stunning from spring right through till mid August when
almost overnight the prolonged dry spell suddenly turned it brown. We cut and
collect quite hard and within a few weeks it had already greened up. We then
enjoyed an amazing autumn flower display – lots of normally spring flowering
buttercups and hesperis but there hasn’t been quite enough time to get a very
full display. If wed cut probably just 3 weeks earlier the flowers would be much
more. This is too long to leave over winter as the canopy will supress other
species so this will receive a Feb cut and collect
For some reason this meadow didn’t suffer quite as much sensecssnec even
though its more exposed and in full sun. The silvery seed heads and flashes of
colour still look really attractive close up and the birds love the food source.
Clip 5
Biniths garden – turf
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