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Four of our most popular butterflies require nettles to lay their eggs on, and to raise their broods. They are - the Red Admiral, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, and Comma.It's very desirable that your nettle patch should be in a sunny and sheltered spot; and with some nectar plants nearby, so you can enjoy the butterflies.
You don't seem to have addressed the buttercups - dig them out or weedkiller - or the docks - definitely apply weedkiller.
If you buy Roundup, do so from an agricultural merchant as dilutable concentrate. Expensive, but cheaper in the long run. And follow the instructions exactly!
I occasionally use glyphosate based weedkiller on stubborn weeds in paths but not in beds so I wouldn't use it in a wildflower meadow except painted on to individual plants if I really had to. I would never us a Monsanto prodcut on prinicpal.
Nettles are an indication that your soil is probably too fertile for a good wildflower meadow and, as a previous poster said, they make excellent compost or liquid feed, depending on what you do with them. They are also host to native insects so definitely a part of a wildlife friendly garden.
There is now a gel version of Roundup that you can use on individual plants. That would minimise the effect on the surrounding plants, and reduce the amount of stuff you use. I haven't tried it myself. Or apparently (again, not tried myself) you can mix some glyyphosate liquid with wallpaper paste and apply that as you would a gel.
I've used glyphosate and wallpaper paste to eradicate creeping buttercup from amongst heathers. It worked really well. It was a slow and backbreaking job, but the alternative was ripping out 2m x 2m of mature heathers. I've seen mention online that you can use glyphosate/Roundup if you have chickens, but you'd need to do some research on that.
I have a large patch of nettles that I allow to flourish for the wildlife in the far corner of my garden. Any that I find elsewhere I pull up/poison. I poison docks and pull up/poison creeping buttercup, except in a large boggy area where I have nothing but buttercups so they just do their thing. One day I might have time to dig it all out and make a bog garden/natural pond.
My garden backs onto a farmer's barley crop, there is 5' deep of stingers, apart from chopping off the tops to prevent them towering over my fence, would the RoundUp weedkiller be safe to use?
Muffymoo, I have the same problem. Those country stinging nettles can get really tall. They are good for wildlife but I can understand wanting to get rid of them. On a still day, you should be able to kill the nettles without harming the crop, but it is going to be obvious to the farmer that you were spraying onto his land, which he is probably meant to leave unsprayed, so he might not be too happy.
I have tried making nettle fertiliser. The smell is awful and I have noticed a very severe increase in flies since making it. Is the nettle fertiliser to blame or should I be looking for another source of the problem? I have thought of making the fertiliser in a small water butt so that the lid can remain on and the fertiliser can be tapped. Would that solve the problem of flies and smell?
Although some popular butterflies demand nectar plants, and stinging nettles, there's a serious contradiction about trying to grow both of these together.Wild flowers prefer soil with low fertility, but nettles normally grow in situations which have very high fertility. Nettles are full of nitrogen, and make a good fertiliser themselves, simply because they tend to grow on very rich soils.The original poster mentioned chickens. Chicken droppings are a recipe for high-nitrogen soil, and high fertility, and nettles. Where you have had chickens, you'll often find nettles.
You might almost think of nettles as green chicken manure.
Roundup will kill the nettles etc but wait until they have flowered before spraying, that is when the foilage sends food back to the roots for next season so they will send the glyphosate down too. Don't spray if there is risk of 'drift' as u will kill other stuff. Add a bit of washing up liquid to the spray, this will take the wax off the leaf so its takes more chemical in. Chickens are ok but don't spray them!!. Do NOT spray anything which is not on your land, ever..... have a word with the farmer most will understand if they are causing u problems.