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Heat is on for wildflower establishment

Stewardship
03.04.2017
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Belinda Bailey with annual wildflowers
With soil temperatures warming up now is the time for spring sowing of annual wildflower margins, reports Belinda Bailey.

Soil temperatures are warming up quickly and now is the ideal time to get annual wildflower seed mixtures in the ground for this season, advises Syngenta Environmental Initiatives manager, Belinda Bailey.

She advocated that once some oilseed rape crops are seen well into flower, it’s a good indicator that soil temperatures are suitable for sowing wildflower annuals. “You need workable soil to create a fine seedbed, and the small seeds like to get up and away in good growing conditions,” she added

Belinda pointed out that the fast growing Syngenta Operation Pollinator Annual Wildflower mix has proven especially valuable for bees and other pollinators when planted near to oilseed rape fields, as it provided an important continuity of essential pollen and nectar when the OSR had finished.

“We have seen that it is possible to get two years out of the annual wildflowers from the natural regeneration of the mix,” suggested Simon, “but it does tend to grow back with more of the dominant species and you lose some of the diversity. We would prefer to re-sow each year with a more floristically enhanced mixture to get the colour and interest, and the full benefit for the insects.”

Belinda Bailey also highlighted that growers can start now with seedbed preparations for establishing a Bees ‘n’ Seeds mix, which would typically be sown in May or early June.