Natural grass control method tested at Denbigh Prairie


A NATURAL technique is being tested in Denbighshire to help advance the benefits of an important biodiversity project.

The Denbighshire biodiversity team behind the Wildflower Meadow project have started a pilot program to monitor grass length on site and improve flowering conditions for flowers

As part of the Council’s ongoing commitment to improving biodiversity throughout the county, nearly 60 sites, including highway edges, trail edges, bike paths, and amenity meadows, are being managed for create meadows of wild flowers.

These sites, along with the 11 roadside nature reserves, amount to around 30 football pitches worth Denbighshire meadows managed as native wildflower meadows.

As well as protecting the wildflowers, the meadows also contribute to the welfare of the insects native to the Denbighshire region.

And now a Denbigh site has become the basis for a new, self-sustaining natural way to cut grass length on the prairies during the season.

Part of the Lower Denbigh prairie has been scarified and seeds of Yellow Rattle, collected from another prairie in town, have been sown.

Councilor Tony Thomas, Senior Member for Housing and Communities, said: “The yellow rattle is a parasitic plant that reduces the growth of grasses. It feeds on the roots of grass, reducing its dominance on the site, allowing more native wildflowers to take hold.

“We will be monitoring the site over the next season to see how the Yellow Rattle takes hold and if this natural, self-sustaining method is successful we will look to introduce it to other locations in Denbighshire to support our drive to increase the biodiversity. ”

All wildflower sites are managed according to Plantlife’s Managing Grassland Road Verges guidelines which prohibit the mowing of grass at these sites between March and August of each year, giving the wildflowers sufficient time to grow, flower and produce seeds.

The site is then mowed down after August and the cuttings harvested to reduce soil fertility and provide the wildflowers with the best possible conditions.

This project was funded by the Welsh government, through the Cymru ENRaW project of local partnerships for nature.

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Chris B. Hall

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