Enhancing grassland diversity using slot-seeding and harrowing

Pywell, R.F.; Warman, E. A.; Walker, K. J.; Bullock, J. M.. 2007 Enhancing grassland diversity using slot-seeding and harrowing. In: Vegetation Management. Wellesbourne, Association of Applied Biologists, 191-198. (Aspects of Applied Biology, 82).

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Most grasslands in the UK are productive, species-poor communities resulting from intensive agriculture. Reducing the intensity of management under agri-environment schemes has often failed to increase the botanical biodiversity. The main reasons for this are seed limitation and a lack of suitable sites for establishment where competition remains low. We investigated the effectiveness of two low-cost approaches currently recommended for large-scale sward diversification, namely slot-seeding and harrowing with oversowing, on a productive, hay cut grassland in central England. We examined interactions of the restoration treatments with contrasting intensities of aftermath sheep grazing. Slot-seeding without a herbicide band spray proved to be the least effective means of introducing desirable species into productive grassland. In contrast, both slot-seeding with herbicide band spray and harrowing were equally effective means of establishing sown species. Slot-seeding requires more specialised machinery, but uses a lower seed rate which is significantly cheaper than harrowing and oversowing. There were very few significant effects of the contrasting intensities of sheep grazing on the establishment of sown species.

Item Type: Publication - Book Section
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biodiversity
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pywell
Additional Keywords: seed limitation, establishment, competition, herbicide, disturbance
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 12 Dec 2007 17:21 +0 (UTC)

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