Natural grass control method sows positive outcome
A pilot scheme has sown benefits for future meadow grass control.
The Council’s biodiversity team last year trialled a natural technique to reduce and control the length of grass at a Denbigh wildflower meadow site and improve the ground for flowers to flourish.
The Council’s Wildflower Meadows Project includes over 100 sites managed for wildflower meadow (including the 11 roadside nature reserves). These sites are equivalent to nearly 35 football pitches worth of grassland managed as native wildflower meadows.
And now a Denbigh site has become the base for a novel and self-sustaining natural way of keeping the length of the grass on the meadows shorter while they are in season.
Part of the meadow in Lower Denbigh was scarified and Yellow Rattle seeds, harvested from another meadow in the town, were sown.
During June the Biodiversity team inspected the site and found the grass length to be reduced, and wildflower abundance increased, where the trial had taken place.
This has resulted in more food for pollinating insects and their predators, and means that future plans to introduce new local provenance wildflowers grown at the Denbighshire Tree Nursery, will have greater chance of success with less competition from meadow grasses.
Yellow rattle is a parasitic plant, tapping in to the roots of grasses and other neighbouring plants and stealing their nutrients. This has reduced the dominance of grasses within the meadow, allowing more native wildflowers to take hold.
Yellow Rattle seeds from the Denbigh site are now set to be harvested to allow the plant to be introduced to other county wildflower meadow areas to reduce the dominance of grasses and help increase the number of wildflowers within the sites.
Councillor Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, said: “We are really grateful to the Biodiversity team for trialling this project. This natural and self-sustainable method has reaped a positive impact at the Denbigh site, helping the future growth of other wildflowers at the site and also controlling the length of the grass.
“We are looking forward to taking forward this natural scheme to improve the biodiversity and look of other sites for the benefit of local communities, plant species and native insects.”
All wildflower sites are managed in line with Plantlife’s Managing Grassland Road Verges guidelines which sees the grass cutting at these sites prohibited between March and August each year, giving wildflowers enough time to grow, flower, and set seed.
The site is then cut after August and cuttings collected to reduce soil fertility and provide the wildflowers with the best conditions possible.
This project has been funded by Welsh Government, through the Local Nature Partnerships Cymru ENRaW project.