Project Background

This is a long term (>5 years) monitoring initiative set up in 2008 at the Kilmacurragh Arboretum to assess the optimal management regime for the restoration of natural meadows. The project will provide data on species composition and their potential changes over time in response to varying mowing treatments. Research into species colonisation, species turnover rates and soil seed bank characteristics will be carried out annually. Data gathered and analysed from the research will contribute to the compilation of a management plan for the restoration of Irish meadows.


Five replicates of each of the five treatments will be monitored continually from 2008 – 2013. A 1.5m wide mowing strip is maintained between the plots by mowing the sward every two weeks during the growing season. This allows ease of access to the plots and provides helps to ensure that each of the treatments are kept isolated from one.

A. Mowing in late July
B. Mowing in late September
C. No mowing
D. Control (standard mowing practice)
E. Remove turf layer- expose the soil bank
F. 1.5m Mowing strip

Project Staff at NBG

The project is being supervised by Dr Darach Lupton of the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland. The day to day management of the plots and the data collection are being carried out by Mr Seamus O’Brien, Mr Myles Reid, Ms Clare Mullarney and Mr Philip Quested. The project is being supported by the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland.