Study

Seeds of change: the value of using Rhinanthus minor in grassland restoration

  • Published source details Westbury D.B., Davies A., Woodcock B.A. & Dunnett N.P. (2006) Seeds of change: the value of using Rhinanthus minor in grassland restoration. Journal of Vegetation Science, 17, 435-446.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Disturb soil before seeding/planting

Action Link
Grassland Conservation

Sow seeds of parasitic species (e.g. yellow rattle)

Action Link
Grassland Conservation
  1. Disturb soil before seeding/planting

    A replicated, controlled study in 1998–2000 at a grassland site in West Yorkshire, UK (Westbury et al. 2006) found that disturbing soil before sowing seeds did not alter plant species richness, diversity, or total biomass compared to sowing alone. After 1–2 years, plots that were disturbed before sowing had on average a similar number of total plant species (12.7–14.4), sown species (2.6–6.2), unsown species (8.2–10.1), plant diversity (data reported as Shannon diversity index) and above-ground biomass (140–450 g/m2) to plots that were not disturbed before sowing (total plant species: 12.3–12.4; sown species: 2.7–5.4; unsown species: 7–9.7; biomass: 210–490 g/m2). In autumn 1998, six plots (each 4 x 4 m) were created on a newly established meadow. Three plots were disturbed using a lawn scarifier to a depth of 2 cm, while three plots were left undisturbed. In April 1999, all six plots were sown with a commercial seed mix of six grass and six forb species at a rate of 30 kg/ha. All plots were cut annually in July. In May 1999 and 2000, vegetation was assessed within three randomly placed 50 x 50 cm quadrats/plot.

     

    (Summarised by: Anna Berthinussen)

  2. Sow seeds of parasitic species (e.g. yellow rattle)

    A replicated, controlled study in 1998–2000 at a grassland site in West Yorkshire, UK (Westbury et al. 2006) found that sowing seeds of the parasitic plant yellow rattle Rhinanthus minor increased plant species richness and diversity. After one year, plots sown with yellow rattle prior to a grassland seed mix had on average a greater number of sown species (4–8.4), unsown species (8.7–11.4) and greater overall plant diversity (data reported as Shannon diversity index) than plots not sown with yellow rattle prior to a grassland seed mix (sown species: 2.7–5.4; unsown species: 7–9.7). In autumn 1998, six plots (each 4 x 4 m) were created on a newly established meadow. Three plots were sown with yellow rattle seeds (1,000 seeds/m2), and three plots were left unsown. In April 1999, all six plots were sown with a commercial seed mix of six grass and six forb species at a rate of 30 kg/ha. All plots were cut in July each year. In May 1999 and 2000, vegetation was recorded within three randomly placed 50 x 50 cm quadrats/plot.

     

    (Summarised by: Anna Berthinussen)

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