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Ideas on controlling soft rush  RSS feed

 
Katy Whitby-last
Posts: 280
Location: North East Scotland
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forest garden goat trees
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Does anyone have any ideas about how we can control the ever expanding soft rush on our land. We live in an area of high rainfall and I know improving drainage would help but I simple can't afford it for 7 acres. The horse and sheep don't eat it. The goats will only occasionally pick at it. Can anyone help?
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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My parents have similar problems on their seven acres in a high-rainfall area, so I feel your pain.
And no they haven't taken my design advice-
mostly for the same reasons you've stated, but I'd suspect they're just being polite
Heavy liming helps a bit and mowing slows it down, but as you already know the only long-term solution is to improve the drainage.
An old thread.

Here's what I'd do in my theoretrical 'if it was mine' plan:
choose an area to experiment on-say 500m2 with decent access (ideally road)
Map the contours (an A-frame level is very basic to make/use)
choose/map a few low-lying areas that are on or near contour, keeping animal/human access in mind
If there's access to chipped tree mulch, bring as much in as ypossible (conifer's fine)
pile where high-ground will be
dig mapped low areas into swales/interlinked ponds, preferably draining somewhere offsite
The swales/ponds don't need to be very deep at all
As you dig, throw the soil up onto the chip piles
Lime the high ground and sow heavily with clover, forbes and local pasture grasses
Keep animals off for ages

Easy in theory of course!



 
Katy Whitby-last
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Location: North East Scotland
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With the high areas how much would you raise them by? I am wondering if they would survive the feet of a Clydesdale horse as it is all of the fields that are used for grazing.

It is pretty much the side of a hill with an even slope down to an area that I don't own which is very boggy and almost totally soft rush. We are on heavy acidic clay so I had wondered about the effect of liming on the rushes.

We tried pigs and they did root it up and eat it but then loads of new rushes germinated along with loads of docks and that area has almost no grass at all now.
 
Cj Sloane
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Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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What happens when you mow it?
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Katy Whitby-last wrote:With the high areas how much would you raise them by? I am wondering if they would survive the feet of a Clydesdale horse as it is all of the fields that are used for grazing. It is pretty much the side of a hill

Oh, I'd assumed it was a flattish area as even in the very wet climates over here hillsides generally drain too well for rushes.
Plus Clydesdales clomping around.
So ignore my digging/raising theory as I imagine it would be hugely complicated on a slope
I don't know much about horses,
but I'd take a bit of a punt that they will probably be majorly exacerbating the land's natural 'sourness' and compaction, which the rushes love.
Do you have photos of the land?



 
Cj Sloane
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Katy Whitby-last wrote:
It is pretty much the side of a hill with an even slope down to an area that I don't own which is very boggy and almost totally soft rush.


Have you considered putting in a pond at the very bottom, where it's wettest anyway? Then keylining so they direct water into the pond.

I've been watching some of his Q&As from the new PDC and he's answered several questions about weed and wet areas. For weeds he suggests replacing them with productive plants that do well under similar conditions. For wet areas in cold climates he suggests chinampas. You could try it in a small area first.
 
Katy Whitby-last
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The weird thing is that it isn't wettest at the bottom of the field. Most of the soft rush is growing in the top part of the field.

This may be partly because the field above mine (which doesn't belong to me) is so neglected that it is almost totally rushes and no grass so the seeds will be coming over from there. I have the same problem with ragwort seeding onto our land from there.

This winter I have planted a hedge along the top edge to provide some shelter and hopefully when it is more fully grown it will also provide a bit of a barrier to seed dispersal.
 
Watch the full PDC and ATC from home. As much or as little as you want: http://kck.st/2q6Ycay.
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