A new on-line wildflower guide has been designed to highlight the most suitable species to attract bumblebees and pollinators in different golf course situations. The Operation Pollinator Wildflower ID Guide is available free on the Syngenta GreenCast website.
Operation Pollinator manager Caroline Carroll said: "The aim is to create a season-long supply of pollen and nectar to enable pollinating insects to complete their life cycles, as well as providing a prolonged period of colour for the enjoyment of golfers," she said. "Species have also been selected to be relatively easy to establish and sufficiently robust to survive under golf course management regimes."
She added that these wildflower species will provide a key core of essential nutrition, but can be supplemented by other natural flora that is known to perform well in specific area.
STRI ecology head Bob Taylor, who is advisor to Operation Pollinator Champion Clubs, said: "If you are sowing into an existing grass sward, use a wildflower only seed mix - no additional grasses will be required."
"If sowing into a bare seedbed, only include Fescue species at a low seed rate, to avoid competition and create a fine wispy effect."
For wildflower establishment this autumn, he recommended to scarify the area aggressively, to thin and create gaps within the base of the turf. "Aim to create 40-60 per cent bare ground and ensure all litter is removed as part of this process.
"Broadcast seed by hand; two or three passes has proven to be the most reliable technique on relatively small areas. Ensure that the seed is lightly brushed into the scarification grooves but take care not to bury the seed - which should not be covered."