Report R021 ***

Problem: Docks invading old wildflower meadows (lightly grazed / cattle)
Where: Howsham Farm, N. Yorkshire
When: June 2004
Status: Countryside Stewardship Scheme
Area: 2.83 Hectares (7 acres)
Detail: Long grass / 58 species of wildflower. (80 man-hours, 4 men 2.5 days)
Report :

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Problem: Docks were spreading from the South West, where they grew alongside the river bank. The field was only later summer grazed (& lightly), by cattle.

Clustered beds of Docks near the banks of the river, contained 100 or more roots to 25metres squared. Less than 1/16th of the field was so infested. On the other hand, Dock plants could be found growing in smaller clusters over most of the field (estimate.2 to 25 metres squared).

Action taken: Four men worked for 2 days in late May, removing the docks from the field. (56 Man hrs.of actual lifting). More than two tons of small & awkward dock plants were removed from long grass (always tricky). Another whole day would have been required to finish the job, but stewardship aid (£40 per acre),was not sufficient to cover this.

Cost: £480. (if finished £720)

Assessment: 2/3rds of the worst infestations were thoroughly cleared, and 90% of the rogue clusters in the rest of the field were removed. One more day next year (when the client can afford it), will see the job finished. We recommended strimming the remaining docks to avoid seeding. Knap-sacking was a possibility, but with such a wealth of rare flowers, it would have been dangerous, not necessarily effective, as well as costly. There is no doubt that dock removal from lightly grazed PP can be very effective (see reports T09 and T032).
Gang booked for 2004.