Action: Remove vegetation that could compete with planted peatland vegetation
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
- One study evaluated the effects of removing competing plants to aid planted peatland vegetation. The study was in a bog.
- Survival (1 study): One controlled study in a bog in the UK reported that some Sphagnum moss survived when sown (in gel beads) into a plot where purple moor grass had previously been cut, but no moss survived in a plot where grass had not been cut.
Removing other plants before or after planting peatland vegetation could reduce competition for space, light and nutrients. Survival and growth of planted vegetation may be improved. Note that abundant competitors, and/or the absence of the vegetation to be introduced, could be symptoms of inappropriate physical conditions that may also need to be managed.
Caution: Existing vegetation may help planted vegetation to establish, protecting it from extreme temperatures, strong sunlight and desiccation.
Key peatland types where this action may be appropriate: bogs, fens/fen meadows, tropical peat swamps.
Related actions: interventions to control competing plants without introducing vegetation (e.g. cutting/mowing or applying herbicide); introduce nurse plants with or without introducing peatland vegetation.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A controlled study in 2010–2013 in a degraded, grassy blanket bog in England, UK (Rosenburgh 2015) reported that some sown Sphagnum moss survived in a plot where purple moor grass Molinia caerulea had previously been cut, but no moss survived in an uncut plot. This result was not tested for statistical significance. After three years, a plot that was flailed before sowing Sphagnum contained 28 Sphagnum clumps (0.03% cover). No Sphagnum survived in an adjacent plot that was not flailed before sowing. In October 2010, two adjacent 3 x 3 m plots were sown with flat-topped bog moss Sphagnum fallax, encapsulated in gel beads (400 beads/m2). Both plots were dominated by purple moor grass, but one was flailed (cut) before sowing. Grass litter was left in place. In September 2013, Sphagnum clumps were identified in each plot and their area was measured.