Creating Urban Meadows for Pollinators

Friday 4 June 2021

The University is changing its grass management as a part of the 2035 Net Zero target. We aim to reduce carbon emissions while enhancing biodiversity.

Castle Ruins, stock photo University of St Andrews

When we mow less and collect grass clippings, the grass grows slower due to reduced soil fertility. While growing slower, biodiversity increases and reduces the need to mow. It means that we can move from 10-20 mows per year to 1 or 2 while still having nice meadows to walk, watch and spend time on. 

Areas that are under this meadow management will vary in the variety and composition of plants growing throughout the year. During early spring it might be a riot of yellow with dandelions or patches of cowslip dominating early summer but every flower counts. Over time we expect the few dominant grasses to disappear to be replaced by a higher variety of grasses and flowering plants. This approach will support the natural seedbank to colonise and grow. We support this transition by top-seeding in some areas with native wild-flower mixes and helping establish semi-parasitic Yellow Rattle that can reduce dominant grass swards.

Please support our pollinators by supporting this change to grassland management. Tell others what is happening and why its important! Enjoy the return of “common” plants as much as looking out for rarities and be patient as the soil and seed bank will take time to change.

This project is supported with funding from NatureScot’s Biodiversity Challenge Fund and is a partnership project led by the University with Fife Council, The St Andrews Botanic Garden and Fife Coast and Countryside Trust

You can get involved in regular conservation activities to support local biodiversity by signing up to St Andrews Conservation Volunteers at [email protected] Or, if you have a garden, create your own meadow by changing your mowing regime and putting 20% of your garden to nature with these top-tips from the Wildlife Trusts.

Funded by Nature Scot

In partnership with Fife Council, St Andrews Botanic Garden, Fife Coast and Countryside Trust


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