Field margin study to examine whether grass strip curbs wandering perennials

A strip of grass placed between flower strips and vegetable crops is on the list of ideas to be tested in the five-year HortLINK project looking at perennial field margins.

David George of Lancaster University's Environment Centre told delegates at last week's Association of Applied Biologists conference on advances in biological control that the project had begun to see that flowers in the field margins can sometimes move away from their 2m seed strips and encroach into vegetable crops.

The strips were planted at a trial plot at Stockbridge Technology Centre (STC) alongside cabbage, carrot, bean and cereal crops. "We're looking to have a buffer grass strip as well - a metre of grass to stop weeds spreading," said George.

The project has been ongoing for a number of years and involves big names such as STC, the Food & Environment Research Agency, Marshalls, Bayer, Syngenta and the Processors & Growers' Research Organisation.

The aim is to find seed mixes that create the best flower-rich field margins to help growers increase biodiversity levels and enhance pest control. Currently the seed mix has more than 20 flowering seed species. But George said: "In the second half of the project we are looking to reduce this quite a lot."


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Horticulture education update - staying on course

Horticulture education update - staying on course

Raised levels of investment in horticulture education and increased student take-up is welcome news for the industry, says Rachel Anderson.

How will reduced apple and pear harvests hit the industry?

How will reduced apple and pear harvests hit the industry?

This spring, many top-fruit growers in the UK and across Europe were dismayed to discover that swathes of their orchards had been hit by frost.

How should fruit growers prepare for water abstraction reform?

How should fruit growers prepare for water abstraction reform?

Upcoming reforms to water abstraction licensing will for the first time cap the amount of water that fruit growers can take for trickle irrigation.