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Irish Examiner - Farming - - NEWS - An­thony O’Con­nor, Tea­gasc Ad­viser, Gal­way/Clare Re­gional Unit

The rush is on!

These days, I’m con­stantly rush­ing to an­swer phone queries on con­trol­ling rushes. So, some fre­quently asked ques­tions are an­swered here.

“En­cour­ag­ing grass growth will, in turn, re­duce the ex­is­tence of rushes. Hav­ing a fer­tile soil with ad­e­quate ni­tro­gen, phos­pho­rous and potas­sium, and a suit­able pH for grass growth, is crit­i­cal

Why have rushes be­come a prob­lem on many farms in re­cent years?

>> The global warm­ing/wet­ting weather of re­cent years, and the re­sul­tant poach­ing, left many swards open to in­va­sion by rushes. Al­though as­so­ci­ated with wet soils and poached ar­eas, clumps of rushes are now a com­mon sight in pas­ture fields in drier ar­eas.

How come rushes are so hard to con­trol?

>> Soft rush, the most com­mon type of rush, is char­ac­terised by an erect mode of growth with no leaves and a very tough outer skin, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to con­trol with her­bi­cides. Also, the plant is deep rooted, with large root re­serves of food.

What’s the best way of lim­it­ing rushes in grass­land?

>> Seeds from rushes ger­mi­nate only if con­di­tions are favourable. Main­tain­ing a fer­tile, dense, leafy grass sward is the best method to pre­vent rushes es­tab­lish­ing and spread­ing. En­cour­ag­ing grass growth will, in turn, re­duce the ex­is­tence of rushes. Hav­ing a fer­tile soil with ad­e­quate lev­els of ni­tro­gen, phos­pho­rous and potas­sium, along with a suit­able pH for grass growth is crit­i­cal.

Fre­quent top­ping, timely fer­til­i­sa­tion, ap­pli­ca­tion of lime, and drainage will all help limit the spread of rushes.

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