Rotovate to control grass

How is the evidence assessed?

Study locations

Key messages

  • One replicated, controlled study in the UK found that rotovating did not alter the presence of heather compared to mowing or cutting. The same study found that wavy hair grass presence was not altered by rotovating, relative to areas that were mown or cut.

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A replicated, controlled study in 1996–1998 in a heathland invaded by wavy hair-grass Deschampsia flexuosa in Breckland, UK (1) found that rotovating did not decrease the presence of wavy-hair grass or increase the presence of heather Calluna vulgaris relative to mowing or cutting turf. After two years, wavy hair-grass presence in plots that had been rotovated (99% of plots) was not significantly different to presence in mown plots (100% of plots) or plots where turf had been cut (98% of plots). After two years, heather presence did not differ significantly between plots that had been rotovated (10% of plots) and those that had been mown (5% of plots) or where turf was cut (24% of plots). In August 1996 a number of 0.5 ha areas were rotovated, grass was cut to a height of 10 cm or less in a number of 1-2 ha blocks, and in five 4 m2 areas turf and soil were removed to a depth of 10 cm. Five 4 m2 plots were established in each of the areas subject to different interventions. Each plot was divided into a grid of 20 cm x 20 cm squares and presence of species was recorded in each square twice a year in 1996–1998.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Martin, P.A., Rocha, R., Smith, R.K. & Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Shrubland and Heathland Conservation. Pages 483-525 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Shrubland and Heathland Conservation
Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

Shrubland and Heathland Conservation - Published 2017

Shrubland and Heathland synopsis

What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 21

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape ProgrammeRed List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Mauritian Wildlife Supporting Conservation Leaders
Sustainability Dashboard National Biodiversity Network Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust