Maintenance

Maintenance of the more subtle, highly detailed marsh vegetations is none too easy. Unwanted species are weeded out. Depending on the soil, more or fewer weeds will come up. Peat soils always have an abundant weed seed bank, ranging from Typha to Salix. In order to reduce disturbance, the unwanted species are weeded when they are still small. This implies having to make frequent weeding rounds—approximately once per three to four weeks. Since wet soils are very susceptible to damage by trampling, one has to use boards, 20×30 cm, tied underneath one’s boots to spread your weight. They can be useful in shallow water as well. Another option is to work standing on long boards resting on supports, which are moved when one moves on to the next spot. Plants are not cut in autumn, the dead foliage and stems are removed in spring.

Marsh vegetations in shallow water may develop fast and reach their climax in a few years. Fast development often means early decay. The frequent cutting back of vigorous species in favour of slower ones, or taking the vegetation up completely and planting back young parts, may help to preserve it for many years. In contrast, other species may occupy the same spots without requiring substantial (rejuvenating) maintenance, for example Calla palustris, Menyanthes trifoliata or Acorus calamus. In rougher, more extensive vegetation—where one allows or encourages the growth of grasses, sedges and rushes—a mowing regime is applied. Mowing once or twice a year during summer and/or autumn is usually sufficient. In addition, one may sometimes wish to remove spontaneously appearing species that are considered too rough. Such vegetation are, for practical and sometimes aesthetic reasons, best combined with wet meadows. They may offer desirable transitions to reedland and real water plants.