Wild flowers used to cut upkeep

Contractors cut golf club upkeep costs by planting wild flowers on spoil mound to create a feature.

Contractors have worked with greenkeepers to save upkeep costs by planting wild flowers on 700 tones of spoil that was shifted and shaped into a sweeping mound.

Denton Golf Club landscaped a section of its course in Manchester after upgrading an approach road to the clubhouse and digging up a roundabout. The team had to mound the spoil into a 150x 30m bank, around 3m high.

Course manager Alec Davies' team worked with Kenny Brothers, which recently completed paths and grassing at Manchester's Whitworth Park. They had to ensure the bank was a feature because it is visible from the clubhouse.

After periodic spraying to keep docks and thistles in check, Davies decided to seed the bank with a native annual wild flower mixture from DLF Trifolium. He sprayed the bank with herbicide and then sowed the Masterline seed mix.

"What I initially thought would buy me time to work out what to do with the bank long term, the wild flower mix prompted us to think of growing more and has proved cost-effective," he said.

The bank needed no mowing or management and continued to provide colour. Meanwhile, wildlife colonised corn campion, corn marigold and corn poppies.

"Some of the plants are still in flower and we've not had to touch the mound. It has saved us a few thousand pounds in upkeep. We would have had two staff cutting for four hours a fortnight, which soon clocks up costs.

"The bank has become a feature, full of colour and drawing positive comments from members. We had enough seed remaining to try it on other areas where it has germinated well and added colour to what is a predominantly green course."

Inside view

"Some indigenous plants have since established in the bank. Foxgloves and aquilegia are attractive and our wild flower bank worked well. It looks good, has low maintenance and has enabled us to put waste materials to good use economically."

Alec Davies, course manager, Denton Golf club

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