- long-handled slasher
- grass hook
- hay/pitch fork
The reason for removing the cut plants from the meadow is to prevent them breaking down and adding nutrients to the soil int he meadow. Also, we removed the thistle and nettle to try to reduce the number growing in the meadow to allow more chance for the other meadow-specific species. The desirable meadow flowers prefer fewer nutrients in the soil.
Once we had finished cutting down the plants we scattered them over the cut area - a process known as "strewing". This process allows the seeds from the plant to gradually return to the soil and start new plants, thus spreading the desired meadow flowers around. When strewing care should be taken to spread the plants thinly as to dump them thickly would allow them to rot down and provide extra nutrients for the soil.
The types of plant found in this meadow included:
- Hedge Woundwort [Stachys sylvatica]
- Yarrow [Achillea millefolium]
- Small Scabious [Scabiosa columbaria]
- Common Knapweed [Centauria nigra]
- Red Campion [Silene dioica]
I used a brushcutter to cut it all down. Using machinery for something like this certainly speeds up the process and takes less manpower. However, since it was just me it was more work!
Once it had all been cut all the cuttings were raked and stowed under the hedgerows where they could happily rot down. We did not strew any of the meadow plants around the cut area. Carrying out the same task in the same week but by different methods has allowed me to appreciate how labour-intensive it can be but also to see how machinery has assisted the process.