The practicalities of wild life gardening.

Interesting programme on wild life last week. I have substantially 'wilded' my garden this year (approx. 1/2 an acre). We've really enjoyed seeing how things have grown---but, I'm left with a substantial amount of wild grasses and flowers which will need to be cut down in the not too distant future. Monty did not tell us what his recommended method of cutting was. Is strimming the most likely solution--and allowing the grasses to dry off before raking up?  
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  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,053
    Strimming can be rather destructive of any beasties in the grass but any cutting has danger for something. It has to be done though or you'd have scrub then forest, very quickly. We generally do ours when we can't hear the grasshoppers anymore
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 56,584
    edited 17 July
    A lot depends on how big the area is when deciding on your method ... if it’s too big for hand shears and you don’t want to use a strimmer  you could learn to master the use of a scythe (don’t watch Poldark for instruction), you could get an Allen Scythe, or use a petrol rotary mower ... or if you have an acre or more a tractor and grass cutter. 

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 3,692
    I like to cut smaller areas and do it by hand over a few weeks. There's no rush if you don't want to cut it for hay and the wildlife will appreciate the time to move between areas. Find a timetable to suit you as well as the wildlife though. I like to mow the grass short before the apples drop so the ones I leave for the birds don't get hidden for example.
  • glasgowdanglasgowdan Posts: 567
    I'd suggest you get a used rough cut mower, like a scag etc. 
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 4,938
    edited 19 July
    Dovefromabove said:.. if it’s too big for hand shears and you don’t want to use a strimmer  you could learn to master the use of a scythe (don’t watch Poldark for instruction), 


     Sorry Dove, have to disagree with you there 😁
  • HelixHelix 704m altitude...Posts: 593
    We strim our wildflower meadow.  We start with a high cut, to give beasts and bugs an early warning, and then a second strim down to the height the lawnmower can manage. Frogs and so on hop off out of the way.  We then leave the cuttings for a few days so bugs can scuttle away and for it to dry.  We then rake them off and give it a tight cut with the lawnmower.   The straw we bag up to use for winter protection for pots and things.
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 15,312
    edited 19 July
    If you live in an area of alkaline soil (not necessarily very alkaline, just not acid) you can seed the grass with yellow rattle.

    Yellow rattle plants are annuals. They grow into a short lived, pretty yellow flower. The seed pods develop early and rattle, hence the name.

    Yellow rattle is a parasitic plant that has a liking for grasses. We seeded our “meadow” about three years ago. The grass has gone from thigh high (I’m not very tall😊) to ankle high. Each summer we scatter the seeds around in the grass and off they go again the following year.

    Very easy and much kinder on the back and knees than a scythe.😊

    https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk/discover-wild-plants-nature/how-to-grow-yellow-rattle-rhinanthus-minor

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 3,947
    I used to use a 'heugh' - a small hand sickle - but it depends on how high and how big the area is. 
    Image result for sickle
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 2,030
    @hogweed I still do use the above, I inherited it works a treat if you keep it sharp.
    AB Still learning

  • RubytooRubytoo On the sofa, Southerly aspect.Posts: 1,185
    edited 19 July
    hogweed said:
    I used to use a 'heugh' - a small hand sickle - but it depends on how high and how big the area is. 
    Image result for sickle
    It is strange what we remember, but anyone else remember the tool like yours hogweed being called a fag hook?
    My father had a very similar if not exactly same thing and that is (I think) what he called it.
    I am assuming as it was used to cut faggots or bunches of grasses etc. hence the word fag.
    Though I could be wrong, I have been searching on the web briefly not come up with it yet.
    Sorry for going off topic a bit.

    @AnniD me too :D
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