Stubbs Green Meadow at its June best!
Coordinators: Ed Howard and Frank Mitchell
Overview: An exceptional old meadow with a dense and varied meadow flora including Yellow Rattle, Cowslip, Hoary Plantain, Meadow Buttercup, Ox-eye daisy, an occasional Southern Marsh Orchid and many hundreds of Common Spotted Orchids. Butterflies include Common Blue, Brown Argus, Small Copper, and Small, Essex and Large Skippers It also benefits from a very good pond where dragonflies and damselflies abound. Dragons include Southern Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Brown Hawker, 4 Spotted Chaser, Broad Bodied Chaser, Scarce Chaser (in 2010), Black Tailed Skimmer and Emperor whilst Damsels include Common Blue, Azure, Blue tailed, Large Red and Small Red-eyed. Nesting birds include Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcaps, Longtailed Tits and Song Thrushes.
Management in 2015: The primary management of the meadow is carried out by Ed Howard on behalf of the Shotesham Commons Trustees. This includes a summer hay cut followed by grazing. The Conservation Group’s tasks on the meadow are:
- Cut and rake the rough edges during the winter to stop hedge encroachment
- Cut and rake around the pond to maintain access and allow light in and to encourage late summer flowers such as fleabane (good feeding for Blues like Brown Argus butterflies)
- Pile cuttings to provide a compost heap for grass snakes
- Cut and rake the margins of the Great Wood to keep it clear for meadow flowers, especially the orchids
- Leave an area of brambles and thistles for butterfly and bee food.
In respect of the pond:
- We remove some emergent plants (eg Branched Bur-Reed) each winter to keep the balance of open water and vegetation.
And finally, around the hedges:
- We will strive to keep a good mix of hedge types and structures by leaving plenty of tall and wide hedge whilst laying and or coppicing some on a rotation. Whilst doing this we will interplant some native fruiting shrubs to improve the variety of food sources.
- We will monitor the effects of Ash dieback and look at planting some replacement Oaks and other native species within the hedges.
Stubbs Green pond has been found to contain a highly invasive pondweed called New Zealand Pygmy Weed.
Potentially it will take over the whole pond and choke out the native weed and most of the wildlife.
We will try to eliminate it over the next few months by:
- Erecting a fine mesh fence in the pond to try to stop the weed spreading further into the pond
- Lowering the water level by about 12 inches
- Mechanically digging out a length of the affected bank and taking the material away to be composted under black plastic.
- Covering the bank with black plastic to prevent any regrowth.
The plant can easily spread, as it will regrow from tiny pieces
Please help us by keeping away from the affected area and if possible, keeping dogs away.
If we are not able to control the weed we may have to drain the pond and apply chemical weed killers, which would mean the loss of all the aquatic life including Great Crested Newts and many species of dragonflies.
Thanks for your understanding.
Ed Howard for Shotesham Commons Trustees and Shotesham Conservation Group