Action: Cut and use prescribed burning to control grass
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
- One randomized, replicated, controlled, paired, before-and-after study in the UK found that burning and cutting to reduce the cover of purple moor grass reduced cover of common heather but did not reduce cover of purple moor grass.
Fire may damage or kill grasses therefore reducing competition with other shrubland plants. Mowing/cutting may further reduce grass cover allowing other shrubland vegetation to increase in abundance.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A randomized, replicated, controlled, paired, before-and-after study in 1996-1999 in wet heathland in Northumberland, UK (Ross et al. 2003) found that burning and cutting to reduce the cover of purple-moor grass Molinia caerulea reduced cover of common heather Calluna vulgaris but did not reduce cover of purple-moor grass. Cover of common heather was lower after burning than before cutting and burning (after: 19-58%, before: 70-94%) and was lower than in plots that were not cut or burned (68-93%). Cover of purple-moor grass in plots that had been cut and burned was not significantly different to that in plots that had not been cut and burned (no data reported). In April 1996 six 10 x 10 m plots were cut and burned and six plots were not cut or burned. In 1995 five 1 m2 quadrats were established in each plot and vegetation was surveyed in July 1995 and 1997-1999. The area was used for livestock and density of sheep varied from 0.66 to 1.5 ewes/ha 9.21