Ecostac

Seed Selection Criteria

Beneficial to bees

Beneficial to bees

Addressing declines in our bee species is currently at the forefront of scientific research. Flowers that are likely to encourage numerous bee species have therefore been included in the field margin seed mix.

Hoverflies

Beneficial to hoverflies

Hoverflies can provide both pollination and pest management benefits and are therefore an important group for providing functional agro-biodiversity benefits. Flowers have thus been selected that will benefit hoverflies.

parasitoids

Beneficial to parasitoids

Parasitic wasps can provide good pest control, especially of aphids. As adult wasps use nectar resources as food, flowers to provide thi service have been included in the seed mix.

natural enemies

Beneficial to pest natural enemies

In addition to hoverflies and parasitoids, many other invertebrates, such as ladybirds and predatory beetles, may also provide pest management benefits. Flowers have been selected to encourage these species.

Farmland Birds

Beneficial to farmland birds

Many farmland birds have declined as a result of changing agricultural practises. In order to encourage these species, flowers have been included in the field margin seed mix that are expected to benefit farmland birds by providing seed and insect food sources.

Invertebrate

Beneficial to invertebrate diversity

By providing resources to encourage invertebrate diversity, flowers have been included that should provide maximum food for generalist pest natural enemies and insectivorous farmland birds. The invertebrate conservation value of the field margin should also benefit.

Home Range

Plant home-range

Priority has been given to plant species native to the UK. Where non-native species have been included in the seed mix, these have all been species that can be found growing in gardens and in areas such as roadside verges.

Establishment likelihood

Establishment likelihood

Priority has been given to plant species that should have a good chance of establishing well in the field margin.

Weed status

Weed status

Although many weed species are good for encouraging biodiversity, including such species in a field margin could result in problems should the weeds spread into nearby crops. Weedy species have therefore been avoided where possible.

Associated pests

Associated pests

Many crop pests make use of the food resources provided by flowers. Plants have been selected for the field margin that are least likely to encourage pest insects.

plant growth cycle

Plant growth cycle

In order to create a perennial field margin, the majority of flowers included in the seed mix are perennial species. Some annuals and biennials have also been included, where it is hoped that species will self-seed.

flowering season

Flowering season

In order to provide floral resources in the field margin over an extended period, species have been selected that possess particularly long or unusual flowering periods.

resources

Plant-provided resources

As well as having benefits to individual invertebrate species or groups, such as bees, parasitic wasps and farmland birds, priority has also been given to flowering plants that are generally good providers of nectar, pollen and bird food.

cost

Cost

Priority has been given to flowering plants whose seeds are not prohibitively expensive.


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