NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Rushes  (Read 583 times)

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Rushes
« on: November 21, 2019, 04:12:27 pm »
I know there are posts on rushes, and I wouldn't want to kill all ours off, but would like to reduce density...


So, last year I heard if you mowed to the ground just before a hard frost, it would 'blow' (his word) the roots and kill the clump.  anybody tried this? It does sound as if it would work?
Missed the frosts last year, by the time I've sorted animals to bed and a frost forecast, it's dark and cold out there  :)
Voss Electric Fence

Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Rushes
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2019, 05:52:18 pm »
Have you limed? Seems a good easy way to reduce their strength

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Rushes
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2019, 06:05:10 pm »
I’ve lived with rushes (and reshes as they’re called in Cumbria) for fifteen years or more, and can’t say that the frost thing sounds at all likely, sorry.

To reduce vigour, top - hard - after the ground nesting birds are all fledged (so, late July in most areas) and again 6 weeks later.  If you can get Fell or Exmoor ponies (or other conservation-grazing types of native ponies) on after that, that’s a big help.  Some of the more primitive sheep can be useful too.

For wildlife, top 1/3 or the area each year, in irregular patches, so that there are varying lengths and densities, and open parts with shelter around about.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Rushes
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2019, 11:09:48 am »
Do you find that topping alone does anything? I can't say I ever saw an improvement at all despite years of topping prior to a dollop of lime and mcpa.

bj_cardiff

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Rushes
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2019, 11:12:56 am »
I find that brushcutting them as close to the ground as possible at this time of year weakens them, they try and grow back but the frost does damage any fragile new growth.

I would brushcut (or mow) again before they flower late spring/summer if possible, The seeds remain viable in the soil for 60yrs (google informs me), so its more of a management issue than eradicatring them

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Rushes
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2019, 03:01:13 pm »
Do you find that topping alone does anything? I can't say I ever saw an improvement at all despite years of topping prior to a dollop of lime and mcpa.

Long-term? No, not at all.  But each topping does knock them back for 12-24 months, so a regular scheme of topping 1/3 a year keeps them attractive, useful to livestock and wildlife, and manageable.  Or some fields, we would just mow the reshes completely every third or fourth year.  Some thin stems reappeared within 12 months but it would be 3-4 years before there didn’t seem to be much grass at all again.

I reiterate, though, that you top hard, and if possible, twice; once late July and again in Sept if the ground can take the tractor.  We always used a flail topper too, whether that makes a difference.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Rushes
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2019, 08:35:50 pm »
Have you limed? Seems a good easy way to reduce their strength
We have often talked about liming, OH wants to use Calcifert?, but needs to organise transport, and talking is as far as he gets  :(
« Last Edit: November 25, 2019, 09:50:42 pm by Penninehillbilly »

Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Rushes
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2019, 01:54:46 pm »
Lime prills are easy to apply through normal kit, even quad or 4x4 tow along spreaders can do a good job on small areas

 

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