Avoid any poaching, overgrazing or damage to grass swards.
What other grassland management practices will limit rushes infestation?
>> Frequent topping, timely fertilisation, application of lime along with good drainage will all help limit the spread of rushes.
What’s the best method of chemical control?
>> Whether you are licking or spraying, topping three weeks in advance is advised, to promote fresh green regrowth capable of taking in the herbicide.
This also helps weaken the food reserves within the plant. Remove any mown rushes before spraying.
Soft rush can be controlled with MCPA or 2, 4-D applied in June or July, when growth conditions are good.
A wetting agent can improve the spray sticking to the slender rush ‘target’. These sprays will stunt grass growth and damage or kill white clover. I’m in the GLAS scheme, with some fields/parcels as low input permanent pasture. There are a lot of rushes coming up, what’s the best control method?
>> Spraying of rushes is not permitted on land parcels on farms participating in the GLAS scheme who have chosen to undertake the low input permanent pasture or the traditional hay meadow option in this scheme. Boom spraying with herbicides will damage the grassland plant species present in the sward. This could result in a penalty under cross compliance.
Spraying is not permitted in any SAC areas.
Rushes can be controlled by topping after July 15. Consult your GLAS Planner if considering any control of rushes in land parcels involved in the GLAS scheme. Spot treatment is permitted in these GLAS areas.
There has been a lot of publicity about MCPA recently, with the Environmental Protection Agency threatening to take it off the market, why is this? >> In recent months, high levels of MCPA have been found in some drinking water sources (drinking water sources can be groundwater or surface water). MCPA is very soluble, so it can travel easily in waterlogged areas or water bodies. Water will always find water.
MCPA levels are based on EU monitoring levels. When using this herbicide, follow manufacturer’s instructions and recommended rates carefully. Suggested tips if applying MCPA include:
Don’t apply if the soil is water logged.
Don’t apply unless the grass and rushes are dry. Don’t apply if rain is forecast.
Avoid windy days where spray drift could spread into watercourses.
Keep back an adequate buffer zone distance from watercourses and water bodies.
What are buffer zones, and how do they apply to MCPA?
>> When spraying rushes with a boom sprayer, you cannot spray within 5m of any water bodies or dry drains.
Are there general precautions for using herbicides to control rushes?
>> Read the product label carefully and follow recommended rates.
Spray in the cool of evening or early morning, to avoid scorching of grass. Avoid grazing sprayed areas for 10 days after spraying. Triple rinse the empty container, and put the washings into the sprayer and spray this onto grassland.