Preparations are underway to introduce a natural process across eight county wildflower meadows to control grass length.

Following the end of the flowering season, Denbighshire County Council will be preparing the meadows for seeding with yellow rattle seeds.

A spokesman for the Council explains:

“Since the 1930s, the UK has lost 97% of its wildflower meadow habitats. That’s nearly 7.5 million acres, with just 1% of our countryside now providing this vital home for pollinators such as butterflies and bees.

“This has impacted the wildlife that relies on these meadows for food and shelter such as hedgehogs, badgers and hares, as well as birds such as the Lapwing, Meadow Pipit and Skylark.

“Having more wildflower meadows is an important step in helping to reverse the decline and increase species richness.”

 

The Wildflower Meadows Project started in 2019 and has seen over 10,000 individual plants recorded across all sites involved so far.

This year the project reached 129 meadows that are supporting biodiversity improvement across the county which include highway verges, footpath edges, cycleways and amenity grasslands.

Combined with county roadside nature reserves, there is just over 70 acres of meadows helping and protecting local nature.

Meadows chosen for the Council’s yellow rattle seeding programme are:

  • Fern Way, Rhyl
  • Green Lane 2, Corwen
  • ATS roundabout, Denbigh
  • Maes Lliwen, Llanrhaeadr-Yng-Nghinmeirch
  • Meliden Embankment
  • Rhyl Coast Road
  • Vincent Close, Rhyl
  • Llys Brenig Park, Rhyl

The work will take place after the eight sites have received their second seasonal cut. Each of the meadows will be scarified to allow the seeds, taken from existing yellow rattle plants growing at county meadows, to be sown and then rolled.

Yellow Rattle

Yellow rattle is a parasitic plant which taps into the roots of grasses to steal their nutrients. This reduces the dominance and height of grasses within a meadow which also allows more native wildflowers to take hold.

The process also results in more food for pollinating insects such as bees and makes it easier to introduce wildflower plants grown at the Council’s tree nursery at St Asaph into the ground with less influence from grasses.

Cllr Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, said: “We will be carrying out this natural method to reduce the grass control at these sites which will see changes to these meadows as the work is carried out. However once the yellow rattle takes hold and growth begins again at the sites, the grass will reduce in length, allowing more wildflowers to break through to improve the look of these sites and increase biodiversity.

“The work by our Biodiversity and StreetScene teams will benefit the health and wellbeing of local communities near these sites and also give a much needed helping hand to the native species and insects.”