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Cutting meadows
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Treacodactyl
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 25697
Location: Jumping on the bandwagon of opportunism
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 15 9:55 am    Post subject: Cutting meadows  Reply with quote    

I may have a few acres of meadow to look after. Long term plan is to graze animals and make hay but not for a year or two.

The grass hasn't been fertilised much over the years and it's full of wild flowers, clover, etc and the grass isn't that vigorous - a typical wild flower meadow. No noticeable thistles and very little dock.

However, I may not get round to doing much this year and wonder what, if any, damage would be done if it's not cut at all this year? Would it mat up, would the wild flowers suffer if the grass isn't cut and taken off?

NorthernMonkeyGirl



Joined: 10 Apr 2011
Posts: 4268
Location: Peeping over your shoulder
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 15 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I think you're best cutting it and removing the clippings if you possibly can, but I also think that one year won't be life-or-death for the vast majority of plants. Was it cut last year?
On the other hand, a year of not being cut will allow even late flowers to set seed (and everything seems to be late this year), you're just gambling that the grass won't be able to swamp everything in that time.
On the other other hand, next year's management may be trickier if the grass this year gets very long before dying and lying flat.

See how (un)helpful I am

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 15 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Is having it grazed something you'd like to contract out for this year? It's a bit far for me, but I could put the word out in grazing circles if you wanted someone to take it on for this season FOC.

Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 33660
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 15 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Grazing it would certainly improve the land, even if it didn't bring an income.

Cathryn



Joined: 16 Jul 2005
Posts: 19829
Location: Ceredigion
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 15 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Nick wrote:
Grazing it would certainly improve the land, even if it didn't bring an income.


Yes

and no.

What was pre grazing and what is "improved"


Cathryn



Joined: 16 Jul 2005
Posts: 19829
Location: Ceredigion
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 15 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I throw this in wondering.

Improved from what and when?

Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 33660
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 15 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Rather than not taking the grass off. If just left, ours used to become matted and suffer. We are quite wet tho, and it would almost rot in the late winter, early spring, with the frosts, and such.

Cathryn



Joined: 16 Jul 2005
Posts: 19829
Location: Ceredigion
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 15 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Suffer?

It would change. It would not be the same flowery meadow. What would it become?

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8404
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 15 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Cutting it after the majority of flowers have set & leaving it to rot will probably do no harm but equestrians will pay good money for 'unimproved' herb rich hay. Why not get a horse owner to buy the crop standing & they have the responsibility to get it harvested?

Treacodactyl
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 25697
Location: Jumping on the bandwagon of opportunism
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 15 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

The land isn't fenced and as it's not been grazed for years we'd not want anything grazing it until we decide what to do.

We had thought about getting someone to cut and bale it, but access isn't great and as it's only a couple of acres I'm not sure many would want to do it. We will ask around but don't have the time to sort much out.

Hence the question, if the grass is left uncut what would happen next year. The grass and wild flowers on the open space in our woodland seem to cope with not being cut for years.

NorthernMonkeyGirl



Joined: 10 Apr 2011
Posts: 4268
Location: Peeping over your shoulder
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 15 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Are there any scythe training people near you? Good field for a course?

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 15 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Cathryn wrote:
Suffer?

It would change. It would not be the same flowery meadow. What would it become?


Rushes, hair-grass, thistles, eventually woodland, but that's a while off yet.

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 15 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Treacodactyl wrote:
The land isn't fenced


They'd bring their own fencing.

Treacodactyl wrote:
Hence the question, if the grass is left uncut what would happen next year. The grass and wild flowers on the open space in our woodland seem to cope with not being cut for years.


Most wildflowers are not very competitive and rely upon low fertility to compete with the grasses, which is why they do better in haymeadows with limited grazing. It depends on the overall fertility how much of a difference it'll make but in our ings it needs to be cut or it leaves a carpet that gets stuck in the mower the following year and reduces the quality of the subsequent hay crop.

Slim



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 4657
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 15 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

A flail mower would make quick work of it and not leave you with smothering piles

vegplot



Joined: 19 Apr 2007
Posts: 21297
Location: Ynys Môn
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 15 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Hey Slim! Where have you been? How are things?

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