2020 Yellow Rattle Seed
We have sold out of single variety yellow rattle however you will still find it in our wildflower mixes.
This is a pretty, yellow flower, quite uncommon and an essential part of any meadow on fertile soil. Its main purpose in the meadow is to reduce the vigour of the grass and it is therefore not favoured by modern farming practice. Yellow Rattle is one of the few truly annual plants in a meadow. As a result it needs careful management to ensure that it can propagate itself. The plant is a sought-after species for conservationists when trying to promote biodiversity in meadows.
Yellow Rattle allows other wild flowers to germinate and compete for light by suppressing the grass. It does this by being semi-parasitic on the grass roots, thereby reducing the nutrient the grass can use. It is a favourite of the bumblebee and butterfly and food plant of the rivulet moth. Other common names - Cock's Comb, Hay Rattle, Shackle Bags
Usually this will be seen in the meadows from Early March in the south and April in the northern counties and Scotland. Its preferred habitat is neutral/acidic grassland, mowed late every year. It is found from Sweden to France and its flowering period is between May and July. The seed is easily sowed into existing grassland and is ideal for improving diversity for habitat creation.
It can be difficult to grow but when the conditions are right it will spread rapidly. The seed germinates on the surface of the soil in February or March. At this time of year the seed will have been resting for 6 months and would have stratified due to chilling between 10 to 5 degrees Celsius. Leaving the seeds refrigerated for 6 weeks is also effective. This species will spread rapidly if conditions are right so maybe try a few strips or sow thinly across the area.
With the right conditions and a few warm days the seeds germinate and depending on your latitude and local weather conditions it throws up a small two leafed shoot that look a bit like jagged edged stinging nettles. The energy in the seed is soon used up and if the grass is too long it won't be able to take any energy from the sun and will soon perish. This is that main reason why this seed is difficult to grow If established successful its roots will parasitize on to a grass, or clover, nearby in April/ May. Without Grass the yellow rattle will struggle to thrive and eventually perish. This fine balance between having grass but not too long is critical for the survival of Yellow Rattle.
By late May the plant should be beginning to flower, this is orange/red at the base as it opens turning to yellow in full bloom. The leaves are small as it is now taking part of its nutrients from the Grass and Clovers. Flowing continues for 4 weeks and by Early July the seed pods have ripened to Golden colour and can be heard rattling in the breeze. If sufficient Yellow rattle the grass would hardly grown and by the end of June be relatively short and easy to Cut. A lot of yellow rattle is not good for livestock so it is best to allow the Rattle to set seed thoroughly before cutting for hay. The plant will dry and crumble with little trace left in the Hay. Once the Yellow rattle has died off by Mid July the grass can grow on freely rain permitting.
No of seeds/g: 300
Seeds should be sown at a rate between 0.1g and 1g per square metre between August and December.
Why buy from us?
This is an annual and needs to germinate every year. The seeds actually germinate readily, but may not have the ideal growing conditions and so may perish. They also have a short shelf-life so viability reduces with age. For the best chance of success you need fresh seed. Our seed is guaranteed to be this season's seed, harvested from our own meadows. As we harvest them ourselves we can ensure origin, provenance, purity, minimum handling and age. We supply only the larger grade seed, as the smaller seed may not have developed enough to be viable and are often confused with buttercup seeds. Also we don't believe in drying the seed too much to mimic the natural process. We supply comprehensive growing and maintenance instructions for you to get the best results from your Yellow Rattle seed. Seeds will be posted 1st class - generally up to 200g will be able to fit through a regular post box - or sent by courier for larger quantities (2kg+).