Holding Back the Invaders!

Volunteering resumed at the cutting on Sunday 18th April. The focus from then on has been to control and eliminate non-native species. This does cause some concern with visitors, as were are observed removing Bluebells. The bluebell in question is of the Spanish variety. It is both non-native and invasive. It is growing where we would much prefer to have native wild flower and grasses growing, which in turn provide a benefit for the native wildlife.

I have provided a guide to the difference between native and non-native bluebells, produced by ┬ęKatrina Martin / 2020VISION

We have also been removing Yellow Archangel, Periwinkle, Snowberry and Fringe Cups. All of these are “garden escapes” which will thrive and take over when found in aspects that suit these plants. The removal task will have to continue in subsequent years as in many cases we are only successful in weakening rather then killing the offending plants. Bluebells especially set very deep bulbs amongst tree roots!

In the Pytchley Marsh we have another non-native invader – the North American water fern Azolla. This thrives in nutrient rich still water. The control has been to both improve the flow of fresh water through the marsh and skimming off the offending fern. Hopefully this reduces nutrient level over the long term, making the pools within the marsh a less inviting home for the fern.

This is a good opportunity to remind residents who have easy access to the Cutting to not use it as a garden waste dump. The random heaps will not generate sufficient heat to kill off plant material and seeds. These dumps also destroy the native plants that should be growing. Either have your own compost bins in your garden, or subscribe to the Rugby Borough Council green bin service. Also, please be reminded that the disposal of garden waste or other rubbish within the reserve is illegal.