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      AB8 Flower-rich Margins and Plots

      A flower-rich plant mix of grasses and flowering species for margins and plots. It provides pollen and nectar throughout the summer for bees, butterflies and hoverflies, and an important foraging habitat for farmland birds. Ideal for lower-yielding areas with a sunny aspect, facing south or south-southwest.

      Flower-rich grass margins or plots provide an abundant supply of pollen and nectar throughout the summer for bees, butterflies and hoverflies. They are also an important foraging habitat for farmland birds, such as yellowhammers.

      A flower-rich plant mix for margins and plots containing a mixture of grasses and flowering species.

      Example AB8 Flower-rich margins and plots mix

      • Red Clover
      • Black Medick
      • Birdsfoot Trefoil
      • Wild Carrot
      • Meadow Fescue
      • Sheeps Fescue
      • Strong creeping Red Fescue
      • Tall Fescue
      • Cocksfoot
      • Timothy
      • Plantain
      • Cornflower
      • Phacelia
      • Self-heal
      • Burnet
      • Lucerne

      AB8 Flower-rich margins and plots are eligible for a payment of £539 per hectare under the Countryside Stewardship Mid and Higher Tier agreements.

      Find out more:
      DEFRA Countryside Stewardship grants

      How to sow AB8 Flower-rich margins and plots successfully

      • Sow in lower-yielding areas with a sunny aspect, facing south or south-southwest
      • Avoid planting under overhanging trees, next to tall hedges or on land facing north or east
      • Leave access to surrounding crops to allow for management
      • Use wide margins and 0.25 – 0.5ha blocks to allow insects to move to safety when fields are being sprayed
      • Space five 0.5ha patches evenly within 100ha to meet the food needs of pollinators
      • Sow at a rate of 15kg/ha in light/medium soils, increasing to 20kg/ha where soils are heavier
      • Top emerging flowers and weeds at least three times in year 1 for spring sowings and twice in year 2 for autumn sowings, avoiding soil compaction

      Sowing requirements

      1. Establish in the spring, summer or early autumn of year 1 by sowing a seed mix containing a minimum of four grass species and 10 flower species.

      2. The flower species component must be sown at a minimum seed rate of 2kg/ha with no flower species exceeding 25% of the total by weight.

      3. The grass component must not exceed 90% of the total by weight

      4. Regular cutting is recommended in the first 12 months to help establish the sown species

      5. Established flower-rich margins and plots must be managed as follows:
      • cut or graze 90% of the margin/plot area each year between 15th August and 31st October to leave a plant height of 10 – 20cm
      • always leave 10% of the area uncut or ungrazed to provide nesting over winter and a safe refuge for pollinators and other insects

      6. Always remove or shred cuttings to prevent weed ingress and the development of patches of dead material

      7. Keep records of all seed invoices, field operations including associated invoices and grazing activity, plus photographs of the margin or plot

      8. Flower-rich margins and plots must be kept until 31st December in year 5 of the agreement