Collect your own Yellow Rattle Seed

Yellow Rattle has become known as ‘the meadow maker’ because of its usefulness for reducing the vigour of grass (on which it is semi-parasitic) which, in turn, allows other wildflower species to thrive.  You can purchase seeds (see our Contractors and Suppliers List and always buy seeds from fields as close to you as possible), but you might want to collect your own to give away to friends and neighbours, or to use on your own land.  (You must have the landowner’s permission to do this, of course.)  There are some tips on how to use Yellow Rattle seed on Plantlife’s web site.  There’s plenty of advice about using it on sites selling seed such as Habitat Aid, but there’s not much about the actual technique of collecting your own.

Seeds are usually ready in July. Our advice is don’t try too early (when the pods are still green-ish) or to leave it too late (when the pods will be empty).  Take a container, pick just a few dried stems at a time with full seed pods, carefully to avoid losing any seed, then turn the pods upside down and shake them into the container.  Often the seeds need a bit of encouragement if they get caught in the pod. You don’t need a lot (see the information on the links above). 

Yellow Rattle pods and seeds – picture from the Green Heart Den project in Cumbria

For more extensive seed exchange, MMG has set up a Monmouthshire Meadows Facebook group to facilitate matching members in need of general meadow seed with those with seed to spare.  Green hay, in particular, is great for seeding small meadow areas but it has to be collected the day it is cut.  Here’s some basic information about that process.  If you are an MMG member likely to have excess green hay or a field full of Yellow Rattle seed that someone may be able to use, or you need some seed and can collect it from a neighbouring member, you can join this group and make contacts.