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grass verge preservation in face of opposition

This is nearly as much about preserving neighbourly relations as it is about land management ... Part of my property is a 300m stretch of laneway which in summertime can be a joy, bordered in places by a (non-native) hedge and a small verge hosting cow parsley, violets, pyramidal orchids, dandelions, sorrel & in general a nice diversity of plants. To cut a long story short, the neighbours insist that the verge must be sprayed with weedkiller in its entirety, annually, if weeds are not to encroach on the tarmac, whereas I believe that regular cutting and a judicious application of weedkiller just where the verge meets the tarmac should suffice. I also think that regular cutting would encourage the smaller species to thrive and discourage the taller, competitive, species, from taking over, leading to easier management in future - does anyone have any more knowledge or experience of this or how to handle this issue?

a cut in early july and another at the beginning of autumn should be good for the flora and avoid scrub or visibility issues.

spraying the edge should be more than enough to keep the plants from breaking up the tarmac.

if you spray the whole thing it will look horrible and will end up with nowt but weedkiller resistant plants that might well break up the tarmac.
NorthernMonkeyGirl for ideas.

For wildflowers, you need to cut and remove the clippings, they need poor soil. Leaving the clippings to rot down would enrich the soil and encourage the grasses and stronger plants. Essentially what you have is a very long, thin, wildflower meadow.

Annihilating the whole thing every year is gobsmackingly expensive and almost cruel. And the bare ground will probably be colonised by the only things that will survive such warfare - such as horsetails. And they WILL break up the tarmac.

Agree with the neighbour and let him see you spray it. But just use water. Then get on and do what you want
Mistress Rose

Can't see any reason to weedkill the whole lot. Perhaps offer to do the edge so it doesn't damage the tarmac, but most plants grow in a mat over the surface and don't penetrate anyway. As the others say, mow a couple of times a year and ideally take the clippings away to encourage finer plants. Cutting the tops small twice a year shouldn't enrich the soil very much btw, but that would be something like a flail mower, which isn't ideal for grass.

It sounds as though the neighbour thinks he owns your verge. He does not! Your stretch of verge is just as important to native birds and insects as a stretch of wild meadow.

The verge should be mown at the end of summer to stop dead vegetation blocking up the drains, but that is after the seeds have had time to mature and fall. If you mow it too much it will just encourage coarse grasses.

Your neighbour is the sort of person who is only happy with 'scorched earth.'

Thanks for all the support. I was being made to think that I was being totally unreasonable but from your comments I can see that I am not, and Nick's suggestion makes me smile. The point about the more aggressive grasses breaking up the tarmac is a good one. I am more determined now to stand my ground next summer and cut it (using a grass knife or strimmer), removing the cut material so that hopefully the small herbs and plants, which have been taken over in places by the strong grasses, will start to make a comeback. I noticed that last time it was sprayed it took a full 9 months for it to green up again, so my family and I will have to endure the scorched earth look until next summer.

There's still no guarantee that someone won't spray it next year though. I really can't see what is achieved by this indiscriminate spraying other than it halts growth for a while.

as mentioned the plants that cause real problems such as horsetail are the ones that are also spray resistant.

here's hoping your offer to cut ill be taken up and in a year or two when it looks splendid they will wonder why they ever thought spraying was a good idea (even if they dont say it )
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