The creation of grassland, whether that be calcareous, acid or lowland meadows post-extraction is often through the use of commercial seed. However, an alternative option is the use of ‘green hay’ from a local suitable donor site which can often lead to a sward with better productivity and species diversity than if sown with a commercially-bought seed.
What is Green Hay?
‘Herbage cut at or just before the hay stage, which is collected immediately without prior wilting or turning.'
Green Hay Benefits:
- Increased species diversity
- Species of local provenance, thus maintaining local genetic diversity
- Lower cost than commercially-bought seed
5 easy steps to creating species rich grassland through green hay:
5. Follow-up Management
- Following hay spreading the sward should be kept short to allow maximum light penetration to aid germination (July-Nov).
- Perennial weeds should be controlled early on through spot treatment with herbicide.
- It may be necessary to repeat the hay-spreading on mineral restoration sites, particularly
- if the donor site is not particularly species-rich.
Edwards et al. (2007) Hay strewing, brush harvesting of seed and soil disturbance as tools for the enhancement of botanical diversity in grasslands. Biological Conservation, 134, 372-382
Relevant case study
Natural England Technical Information Note TIN063: Sward enhancement: diversifying grassland by spreading species-rich green hay.
The information set out within this advisory sheet in no way constitutes legal or regulatory advice and is based on circumstances and facts as they existed at the time Nature After Minerals compiled this document. Should there be a change in circumstances or facts, then this may adversely affect any recommendations, opinions or findings contained within this document