Practical methods for the control of tor-grass (Brachypodium pinnatum s.l.) and the restoration of calcareous grassland

Ridding, Lucy E. ORCID:; Redhead, John W. ORCID:; Upcott, Emily V. ORCID:; Hulmes, Lucy; Hulmes, Sarah; Mitschunas, Nadine; Howell, Katherine; Christelow, Jennifer; Wickenden, Alexander R. ORCID:; Fussell, Mike; Plunkett, James; Pywell, Richard F. ORCID: 2024 Practical methods for the control of tor-grass (Brachypodium pinnatum s.l.) and the restoration of calcareous grassland. Journal for Nature Conservation, 78, 126566. 10, pp.

Before downloading, please read NORA policies.
N536837JA.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (4MB) | Preview


Calcareous grasslands are sites of high conservation value across Western Europe; however, they are increasingly threatened by the dominance of a native competitive grass, Brachypodium pinnatum, which reduces the diversity of the grassland. Despite this, there is no clear consensus on the most effective method for controlling B. pinnatum and restoring the grassland community. We established two experiments at a calcareous grassland of high nature conservation value in the UK, i) a herbicide spraying experiment with seeding and ii) a seasonal cut-and-graze experiment, to investigate the potential for reducing dense B. pinnatum cover and preventing further expansion of sparse cover, respectively. We examined the effect of different herbicide and cut-and-graze treatments on B. pinnatum cover, and on the species richness and diversity of the grassland over three consecutive years. Herbicide spraying reduced the cover of B. pinnatum, though two spray applications led to a greater reduction longer-term. Species richness and diversity initially declined with the herbicide spray, however this recovered rapidly to levels higher than before spraying commenced. Seeding the spray plots was beneficial for the establishment of Bromopsis erecta and potentially reduced the likelihood of re-colonisation by B. pinnatum and undesirable arable species. The cut-and-graze experiment also showed promising potential in terms of controlling the spread of B. pinnatum. Compared with a single cut in the spring or autumn, cutting and grazing twice, in both spring and autumn was found to reduce the cover of B. pinnatum, whilst also increasing species richness and diversity. Further monitoring is needed to determine the long-term effectiveness of this management treatment.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Biodiversity (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 1617-1381
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: cutting, grazing, herbicide, seeding, species richness, species diversity
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Related URLs:
Date made live: 02 Feb 2024 13:32 +0 (UTC)

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

Downloads for past 30 days

Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...