Maintenance

Reed vegetations growing in water do not require yearly mowing in order to remain in good shape. Especially in deeper water, they may survive for a long time without human intervention. Its charm and its natural value as a habitat for birds, mammals, etc., lies mainly in the rough, naturalistic impression it evokes. This is valid even more in larger expanses, and its aesthetic value during winter can be considerable. Yet it may be advisable to now and then mow ‘over the ice’ when the ice floor allows this, and to carry off the reed produced. It cleans the vegetation up and improves the aesthetics.

The maintenance of reed vegetations on land consists of the yearly mowing in November to January. Less valuable reedlands may be mown as late as the end of March. This is useful to prevent the rougher plants from establishing and to prevent young shrubs and trees from taking over.

The mown reed stubble should remain high enough so as to be about 10 cm (4 inches) above water, as it needs to be able to breathe. Reed that is constantly mown underwater will become less vital and will decline. The mown-off reed is carried off and should definitely not be burnt at the spot. This will kill the moss and herbaceous cover, and will encourage rougher vegetations to appear. Mowing should preferably be carried out by hand (scythe, brush cutter); machines on wheels will give less favourable results because of track formation and other damage done to the soil.

Sufficiently wet reedlands on acid soil are suitable for starting Sphagnum vegetations by sprinkling a thin layer (a few centimetres (an inch or so)) of Sphagnum species between the reed stubble after mowing and removing the reed. One may need to repeat this for some years. After some time, Sphagnum reedland may be the result. If reed vegetations start to degenerate—the plants staying lower, the vegetation thinning—a thin layer of mud (approximately 5 cm (2 inches) measured when wet) is applied. It has a fertilising effect that will revitalise its condition. By doing so, one may preserve reedland for many years.