The city government of Zürich, Switzerland, has published a document titled 12 Golden Rules for the care, preservation, and enhancement of valuable natural areas in landscapes and residential areas (loosely translated here).
Golden Rule Number One involves the use of scythes:
1. Mow grasslands with scythes and sickle bar mowers (and not with string trimmers or "shredder" mowers).This rule is intended to minimize the harm to insects and other small animals. The other rules are summarized below:
2. Stagger the maintenance, leaving at least 10-20% uncut until the next time, and leave borders along hedges and shrubs.
3. Increase diversity of species by renouncing the use of fertilizers, peat, and chemical pesticides.
4. Create shelters (rockpiles, branches, etc.) for small animals.
5. Create nesting boxes for birds and wild bees.
6. Make sure that ponds and wetlands are amphibian-friendly.
7. Use native plants.
8. Restore meadows.
9. Cut back shrubs and bushes only during the dormant season (autumn/winter).
10. Grow old trees, and plant new ones.
11. Green roofs, balconies, and walls.
12. Forgo irrigation, and use site-adapted plants.
|City employees mow a park in Zurich|
|Pioneer species on disturbed land in Zurich|
For more information about city employees using scythes, see the earlier post titled "Municipal Scythes".
Satellite photo of central Zürich, NASA, 2002, public domain
City of Zürich, Civil Engineering and Waste Department, Urban Nature, Care Procedures:
Stadt Zürich, Tiefbau- und Entsorgungsdepartement, Grün Stadt Zürich, Natur- und Erlebnisräume, Stadtnatur, Pflegeverfahren