Soft rush, although native, is invasive in its behaviour, and for this reason many people who manage land are often battling to reduce it’s dominance. It tends to grow in dense stands and although it dies back in winter months it doesn’t break down easily.
Surrounding vegetation can get smothered by the growing stand of rush and die off. Also the rushes expanding fine root systems hold water and maintain favourable conditions for growth. This will ultimately reduce the biodiversity of a grassland.
In Carmarthenshire we have several reserves that suffer from too much soft rush, so this month we’ve been out cutting it back. Hopefully this, followed by grazing of the younger more palatable shoots will allow in a bit of light for other species to compete. The volunteer group have been cutting back rushes by hand using scythes on the steep slopes at Carmel. We have also had a contractor to cut back the rushes at Rhos Cefn Bryn. The rushes were piled in a sunny spot to provide nest laying sites for grass snakes. Thanks to Amanda Evans, Marsh Fritillary Project officer from Carmartheshire County council for providing the contractor for this management.
Other tasks the Carmarthenshire volunteers have helped with include a litter pick at Carmel. We manage both sides of the A476 at this beautiful reserve. Unfortunately due to the proximity to such a busy road we get lots of rubbish blown onto the boundaries. We collected and sorted out numerous bags of litter, including a canister of medical oxygen, with the help from Brian Mogford from Carmarthenshire County Council. Brian kindly took away all we collected for disposal and recycling.
Other jobs have included repairing steps, and a fence at Castle Woods, and rebuilding a kissing gate at Carmel.