Wildflowers on the Golf Course
By Introducing wildflowers onto the golf course, you will provide valuable food sources for wildlife, attract pollinators such as bumblebees, butterflies and other insects, enhance biodiversity and give pleasure to the onlooker.
A quick and relatively simple way to achieve an instant wildflower meadow is by using wildflower turf. The 100% wildflower mat has been designed to create a beautiful natural meadow. A combination of wildflowers, perennials and herbs planted at the correct density for optimum establishment will achieve a prolonged flowering period typically March to October, ideal for biodiversity and visual impact.
The soil type that the meadow is established in will determine the type of flowers which grow best in the environment and the mixture will also adapt according to rainfall and temperature during different seasons.
Flowering height is 40–80cm. There are 27 carefully selected British native wildflower species sown into the Wildflower Turf, chosen so that different plants flower at different times providing a dynamic and ever-changing display.
By planting bulbs, such as alliums, daffodils and tulips you can extend the flowering period, potentially achieving almost all year round colour.
To prepare an area for wildflower turf, all existing vegetation should be killed and removed. If the area is very overgrown, let any new weed come back up and spray off again.
Dig over the area to approx. 100mm and rake over to a fine tilth, removing large stones or clods of earth. You don’t need the area to be particularly level but when laying the turf ensure the roots of the plants are all in contact with the soil for good establishment. The soil should be free draining and not compacted.
Once laid water the turf thoroughly. Do not allow the turf to dry out during the time it establishes approximately 2 -3 weeks and If water is not easily available plan to lay the turf during cooler periods when rain is forecast. For the first growing season it is important to water the turf occasionally. Once well established the wildflower turf will tend to cope with most circumstances however the flowers will continue to benefit from water during very dry periods.
Wildflower turf requires very little maintenance, there is one important task to carry out each autumn: to cut the plants and remove these cuttings. This can be done by strimming and raking or using a mower and collecting the cuttings, ideally do this after the plants have set and shed their seed, not only does this tidy up the area for the winter but it stops the summer growth from covering the growing plant in a layer of rotting plant material.
Cutting the plants back to 2 to 3 inches (50 to 75mm) in length is a vital part of their lifecycle and ensures that re-growth will continue year on year.
An open sward over the winter ensures healthy, disease free plants which can benefit from what light is available to them during these months. As the spring approaches the wildflowers and grasses are in the perfect position to develop flowers and seed heads quickly to repeat their perennial cycle thus guaranteeing a wildflower meadow year after year. There may need to be an extra cut in early spring to knock back any dominant species, this will allow the smaller more delicate plants to come through and compete to create a more uniformed appearance.
Other ways to introduce biodiversity onto the golf course can be achieved through sedum matting or germination tested wildflower seeds both offer ecological benefits variety and interest.
When planning a wildflower meadow on the golf course, ideally look for open sunny areas, create a central focal point or consider roughs or semi roughs, which make ideal wildlife havens. Wildflower areas can also be created around the club house, carparks or along driveways leading up to the club. Aim to avoid high traffic areas from machinery or footfall and heavily shaded areas which will generally underperform. If you have a flat roof on the clubhouse or other buildings around the course, consider a green roof, using wildflower turf or even sedums, to create a talking point, provide food for bumblebees & insects, along with other environmentally friendly benefits such as reducing urban flooding, limiting the heat island effect and absorbing gaseous acids in the air.