Scientific name Lolium perenne Trifolium repens grassland
Common name Perennial Rye-grass – White Clover grassland
Community code GL3B

 

GL3B: Lolium perenne – Trifolium repens grassland  GL3B: Lolium perenne – Trifolium repens grassland  GL3B map: Lolium perenne – Trifolium repens grassland

Download full pdf synopsis: GL3B

 

Vegetation

Lolium perenne, Trifolium repens and Cerastium fontanum are all indicative of improved grassland and are constants in this community. Apart from L. perenne, the main grass species are Cynosurus cristatus, Holcus lanatus, Agrostis capillaris, Dactylis glomerata and Anthoxanthum odoratum, which form a low grazed sward. While the cover of forbs can be quite high, it is largely composed of Trifolium spp., Plantago lanceolata and Ranunculus repens with other broadleaved herbs not contributing much cover. These other herbs include a mix of species characteristic of mesotrophic semi-natural grassland, such as Prunella vulgaris, Hypochaeris radicata and Centaurea nigra, and species associated with improved swards and more intensive farming, such as Bellis perennis, Senecio jacobaea, Cirsium palustre and Cirsium arvense. Brachythecium rutabulum and Kindbergia praelonga form a weak bryophyte layer.

 

Ecology

This community represents semi-improved and improved swards on well-drained, mineral soils of relatively high fertility and base-richness. It is found throughout the country in rolling lowland farming landscapes with sub-community GL3Biii* (see below) forming much of the matrix of the modern Irish countryside.

 

Sub-communities

Two sub-communities are described by the available data, representing variations in the degree of improvement and farming intensity. The Cynosurus cristatusFestuca rubra sub-community (GL3Bi) represents semi-improved swards which retain some reasonable diversity. The Poa annua – Plantago major sub-community (GL3Bii) represents grassland which has received greater improvement and which is subject to more intensive livestock grazing and trampling. A third sub-community, the Lolium perenne sub-community (GL3Biii*), is a placeholder which accommodates very highly modified, species-poor Lolium grasslands of amenity areas and intensive farmland (such as silage fields and highly productive pasture) for which there is a lack of current data but which belong here to this community.

 

Similar communities

Improvement indicators are less frequent and less abundant elsewhere in group GL3. Community GL2C occurs on wetter soils.

 

Conservation value

This is a grassland community of medium species richness, but due to its improved/semi-improved nature it is not otherwise recognised to have significant conservation value.

 

Management

These swards are managed as improved grazing land (typically for cattle) and/or for silage. Fertiliser application and re-seeding will typically occur periodically. The main threats to these grasslands include further improvement and abandonment.