In recent years The Pit has become choked by the very vigorous Greater Reedmace (sometimes erroneously known as Bullrushes). We have taken to sending intrepid volunteers wearing chest waders into the murky water to pull up large quantities of the plants - not to eradicate them, but to thin them out. It has become apparent that this is not deterring them; each year we seem to have more to deal with, and earlier.
This time we have decided to conduct an experiment. We decided to cut some plants a few inches below the surface of the water, removing the cut material. Another section was to be folded over, bruising the leaves, which would be left in situ. This can apparently be a successful technique, so was one we thought worth trying.
We knew that we had to monitor the experiment carefully, so I went along with my camera. I cunningly thought that in this way I could stay relatively dry, and in this I proved reasonably wet. (Actually, it was a warm and humid day, so a bit of water was no great hardship.)
We firstly recorded how the pond looked before its haircut, complete with the yellow drag sheet for taking the cut material away:
In taking the sheet to a dumping site, we managed to disturb a wasps' nest. The owners were understandably cross, and took it out on none other than our honoured and revered chairman, stinging him three times. He, along with the water nymphs Noel and Brian, is pictured here:
Brian and Noel made excellent progress in cutting through the stalks under water. In no time, this was the result:
The second phase was the folding one. This was harder, as once folded the leaves were in the way, making it more difficult to reach the remaining plants. The end result is not so neat, and we now need to monitor the site to see what the effect is on the plants. We're hoping they will begin to decompose over the next couple of months.