Don't mow, let it grow | Urban meadows | Rugby Borough Council

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Don't mow, let it grow

Boughton Road urban meadow
Boughton Road urban meadow

We are expanding our trial areas of a different style of management of some grassland in the borough.

While regularly mowed areas of short grass are appropriate for many areas, such as roadside verges and parks, longer grass and meadow areas with increased flora and fauna are better for the environment and support wildlife.

What we are doing

Longer grass is better for wildlife. We are therefore taking a more pragmatic approach to grass cutting and introducing areas of longer grass that we will only mow once a year. On some sites this will mean that we will leave longer grass around the edges, whilst on other sites we will create larger grassland meadows.

This approach is being adopted across the United Kingdom to help support our wildlife by using a more natural approach to land management and having more, bigger, better managed and joined up areas for wildlife.

Why we are changing our approach to grass cutting

The rationale around the reduction of grass cutting in some areas is to improve the green environment for wildlife of otherwise barren areas of grassland. In recent times there has been a loss of grassland habitats for insects and pollinators that could have a dramatic effect on our lifestyles within 10 years unless this trend is reversed. Locally our butterfly populations are monitored scientifically and when as an experiment grass cutting was reduced overall butterfly numbers increased by 159 per cent - well above the Warwickshire trend.

Long grass supports a range of species from insects, moths and butterflies to small mammals such as field mice and hedgehogs. Key wildlife areas are now often patchily distributed in our modern environment so these longer grass areas also act as important corridors between these habitats helping spread and connect colonies for a wide range of species.

An interim review of one of the trial sites in Rugby has found the following species already becoming established: Meadow Vetchling, Tares, Sow-thistles, Prickly Lettuce, Meadow-sweet, Greater Burnet, Common Knapweed, Small Skipper, Marbled White, Burnet Moth, Meadow Browns, Ringlets, and Hawker dragonfly.

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