From dense swards to biodiverse roughs

Summary

To realise the potential of golf courses to support biodiversity and ecological functions, this project aims to establish knowledge on how to use cutting regimes, soil amendments, seed addition and hemiparasitic plants to reduce grass dominance and improve biodiversity on roughs. A field experiment was established at Oslo GK and demonstrations at Sigtuna GK and Herning GK, in parallell with six similar plots in agricultural and urban settings in 2017. Six treatment combinations were started 2017 and August 2018 where 18 wildflower species (10 at Sigtuna, 21 at Herning) common in mesic to dry grasslands were seeded. 2018 experimental plots were also established at Munich GC with a similar design. Baseline data on vegetation, pollinators and soil characteristics were collected during 2017 and 2018. A reasonable range of bumblebee and solidary bee species was recorded at the experimental locations, with few individuals and few differences between plots within location, but some differences between locations and considerable variation between years. The original vegetation was species-poor and dominated by common grasses. A test of the relationship between standing vegetation biomass and playability was run at Oslo GK. Information about the project and these results are available in a video at sterf.se.

A review of results after the 2019 season showed that two cuts a year, especially with hay removal, reduced grass biomass at some, but not all, locations. Sawdust addition to bind nitrogen and seeding of the hemiparasitic plant Rhinanthus minor have so far had no major effect on grass biomass. Differences between locations are considerable, however, and the reasons for these differences need to be investigated. The establishment of Rhinanthus varied between locations.

Seeded species established during autumn and spring, with only small differences in establishment between treatments. At Oslo GK, the number of species and the increase in the number of species are still at the lower of the range observed at other urban grassland and agricultural sites. The grass cover at Oslo GK is still dense and likely to be the cause of this. Results were better in the drier parts of the plot. Establishment of seeded species at Sigtuna was low, perhaps due to high soil fertility. Few of the seeded species flowered in the first year, so treatments have so far had no impact on pollinator occurrence. We expect pollinator responses to treatments to differ from 2020 onwards.


Golfbaner kan ha en viktig rolle i å fremme biologisk mangfold og økologiske funksjoner i landskapet. Mange golfbaner har imidlertid produktiv jord. Et av de viktigste tiltakene for å etablere mangfoldig vegetasjon og skaffe ressurser for pollinatorer er å redusere produktiviteten. Målet for prosjektet er å skaffe kunnskap om hvordan slåtteregime, tilsetninger av karbon i jord, såing av blomsterengfrø, og såing av halvparasittiske planter kan brukes til å redusere konkurransen fra gress og øke det biologiske mangfoldet i rough. Forsøk vil bli gjennomført hos Oslo GK og demonstrasjonsfelt etablert hos Herning GK og Sigtuna GK (2017 -2020). Lokale frøblandinger vil bli sådd, og utvikling av botanisk sammensetning og forekomst av pollinatorer fulgt for de ulike behandlingene. Kunnskapen om de metodene vil hjelpe golfklubber med å ta gode valg for å fremme biologisk mangfold og god spillekvalitet. Resultatene vil bli presentert gjennom feltdager, populærartikler, en informasjonsvideo og en vitenskapelig artikkel.

 

Contact
Hans Martin Hanslin

Hans Martin Hanslin, The Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO), Department of Urban Greening and Environmental Engineering, Særheim Research Centre, Postvn. 213, N-4353 Klepp St., Tel: + 47 90 50 12 79. E-mail: hans.martin.hanslin@nibio.no

FACTS
Category: Multifunctional golf facilities
Status: Ongoing
Project period: 2017-2020

Fundings (kSEK)

 

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

Total

STERF

175

200

200

200

 

775

Other sources

122

152

89

 

 

363

Total

297

352

289

200

 

1138

Objective

The aim is to provide knowledge of management strategies to enhance diversity of flowering plants and pollinators in roughs to be used in further development of multifunctional golf courses.

Specific objectives are

  • To study specific effects of sward cutting frequency, biomass removal and soil carbon addition on rough productivity and establishment of seeded target species.
  • To critically test the use of hemiparasitic Rhinanthus minor as a method to diversify roughs.
  • To assess whether cutting combined with temporal nitrogen immobilisation by incorporating carbon sources in soil improves establishment of seeded species relative to cutting only.
  • To quantify the effects of diversification measures on pollinator visiting rates and composition of the pollinator community, and relate these to the provision of resources for pollinators.
  • To evaluate how management treatments have filtering effects on sown species depending on their specific germination and establishment traits.
  • To explore the effect of management regimes on the playability of the roughs

 

Short video, talking about how to use cutting regimes, soil amendments, seed addition and hemiparasitic plants to reduce grass dominance and improve biodiversity in your roughs.