jtaylor's picture

roadside verges

Has anyone else noticed how the roadside verges are loosing wild flowers at an alarming rate? I wrote to the highways agency last June and in their reply they said they have been spraying herbicide and that this is the second year of a two year trial. Treating a 1.2m swathe with selective herbicide and growth retardant to reduce the need to cut so often.
We had a beautiful large patch of early purple pyramid orchids on the A303 but none
came up last year.

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Ellen Finney's picture

recommended read 'Silent Spring' by Rachel Carson.

Yes, it is very sad to see these habitats being destroyed. Not only the flora, but the accompanying insects and other wildlife.

A good book to read that comes to mind is 'Silent Spring' by Rachel Carson.

Kluut's picture

Cost

As with everything provided by government agencies, it is a matter of cost. Tax-payers want to pay less tax but want more services - the story since the invention of taxes.
Spraying needs doing once a year, mowing needs doing more often, takes longer and needs expensive equipment.
What is lost depends on the width of the verge as that determines what gets sprayed or cut.
Personally, I object more to the cultivated plants that get sown or planted in verges, the fly-tipping of everything from garden waste to domestic appliances and furniture, and the heaps of litter, sorry, shrines, that are multiplying like mice.

Barnmead's picture

Roadside verges

It is a bit of a mono-culture, but along the A47 in Norfolk the verges are yellow with cowslip, which is quite cheering after a long winter.

Penny

anonymous spotter's picture

Roadside verges

Roadside verges are suffering badly from herbicide use and non-ideal mowing regimes - both a result of a desire to reduce spending on their maintenance. Where they have been planted with primroses and so on, a lot of the seed is imported, and botanists worry about the genetic strains thus introduced.
They also indicate salt tolerance, of course, especially close to the carriageway: hence the spread of Danish Scurvy-Grass - the white haze on many motorways and A-roads. Plants with light, easily blown seeds will spread fastest here.
Oddly, lead wasn't so much of a problem in the days of leaded petrol: it was found in high concentrations on the plants, but actual uptake was generally fairly low.

Barnmead's picture

Roadside verges

We have just come back from Dorset where the verges were a mass of native bluebells, campion, wild garlic and more. It was so beautiful. How do they manage it? The hedges are also cut in more of an A-shape so they are much denser at the base and they don't have the appearance of having been massacred either.

Penny

Kluut's picture

Devon hedges

Over much of the south-west, hedges often aren't - they are called Devon banks in Devon - try running your car off the road into one.
They are very often a very large pile of rocks and earth, removed from the field in ancient times, that is then clothed in herbs and a hedge sits across the top.
There isn't much you can do to destroy them short of dynamite.
You also have to consider where you are - things like National Parks and special conservation areas will affect how roadsides are managed.