Helping our pollinators by reducing grass-cutting
By Rosaleen Dwyer
In the last few weeks, signs have been popping up in the parks and along some grassy roadside verges around South Dublin County.
These signs say ‘Managed for Wildlife’ and they identify areas where grass is being allowed to grow a little longer in order to help pollinating insects.
The colourful wildflower meadow that was sown in Tymon Park over the winter can be seen now in its full glory
South Dublin County Council who manage the public parks and many of our grassy verges are looking at ways to implement the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan.
This nationwide plan has been developed by the National Biodiversity Data Centre in Waterford in an effort to stop the decline of our honey bees, bumble-bees, and hoverfly populations.
As part of the Council’s engagement with this Pollinator Plan, a number of carefully selected areas of public parks and grass verges around the county have been identified for a reduced mowing regime.
Cutting the grass less often allows flowering plants in these grassy areas to grow and bloom, offering a vital nectar and pollen food source for pollinating insects at different times of the year.
The margins of the selected areas will be cut on a regular basis to maintain neat and tidy edges but the main grass area with the flowering plants will be allowed to grow and flower for a little while longer.
Along selected roadside verges, low-growing flowers such as red and white Clovers, Buttercups and Birds-foot trefoils will provide colour for us and food for our pollinators. In the parks, where longer grass and taller flowers can be encouraged, plants like Dog Daisies, purple Knapweeds, and yellow Hawk’s-beards will grow.
At the end of the flowering season, everything will be cut back and a more regular maintenance pattern will resume until next year’s flowering season commences once again.
These actions are being taken to make space for nature and to provide support to pollinators and other insects as recommended under the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan. This approach will also assist in developing a ‘green infrastructure’ network through the county. These green routes help wildlife move through the built up areas while also offering interesting colour changes in our green spaces for the human park visitors.
A new wildflower meadow which was sown in Tymon Park last autumn is looking very colourful at the moment with yellow Corn Marigolds, white Dog Daisies, red Poppies, pink Corn Cockles and blue Corn Flowers.
Further information on the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan and how you can do your bit for bees and hoverflies can be found at Biodiversity Ireland.