Individual study: Mowing on 1 July and 1 September resulted higher numbers of seed-setting species than the conventional regime of mowing on 1 June and 1 August
Leng X., Musters C.J.M. & de Snoo G.R. (2011) Effects of mowing date on the opportunities of seed dispersal of ditch bank plant species under different management regimes. Journal for Nature Conservation, 19, 166-174
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Manage ditches to benefit wildlife
A replicated study of 24 pastoral ditches in 2008 in the Netherlands (Leng et al. 2011) found that delaying twice yearly mowing dates resulted in higher plant diversity. The highest number of seed-setting species was recorded following mowing on 1 July and 1 September, which was 126% higher than under the conventional regime of mowing on 1 June and 1 August. The effect of mowing date differed between plant species. Species richness was significantly higher and biomass significantly lower on ditches in nature reserves compared to those under long-term agri-environment schemes (>16 years), short-term agri-environment schemes (< 6 years) and conventional management. Plots were mown twice on a unique combination of an early (15th May, 1st June, 15 th June, 1st July) and late date (1st August, 15th August, 1st September, 15th September). Before mowing, presence of species, target species with ripe seeds and biomass was recorded in 16 plots under different biannual mowing treatments within six randomly selected ditches under each of the four management systems: nature reserves, long-term agri-environment schemes, short-term agri-environment schemes and conventional farms.