This will be done in late summer, Our aim is to increase biodiversity in the park.
How is this to be achieved?
- Less mowing will allow more plant species to flourish and longer grass will be a better environment for a range of creatures
- One cut a year allows any wildflowers to fully complete their life cycles and set seeds. Hopefully, over a number of years the area will become more and more flower-rich with local species that are adapted to the sites condition eg. it tends to become water logged after sustained rainfall. Common wildflowers include clover, knapweed, birds foot trefoil, speedwells, daisies and dandelions.
- Increased plant diversity has the knock-on effect of increasing the diversity of other organisms such as pollinators and herbivores.
- Longer grass will produce lots of stems and leaves, below the surface it remains damper, stiller and safer for a whole micro-community. The wealth of invertebrates, plus the added bounty of seeds then provides food for larger creatures eg. frogs, field voles, hedgehogs, bats and owls.
- One of the most visible group of grassland wildlife are butterflies. Of the 23 species that are most common in the UK, 2 have caterpillars that feed on meadow grasses and a further 2 use specific wildflowers growing in long grass. (source Garden Answers magazine wildlife blog April 2016 Adrian Thomas)
Shorter grass doesn’t give them the cover and food they require.
There will of course have to be some management of the trial to control the spread of plants that might take over a meadow eg. docks, brambles and nettles.