Crispy, but not tasty – Mat-grass
Sheep grazing, which was commonplace for many centuries, enhanced the dispersion of mat-grass as livestock prefers other grass species and thus reduced the competition for the mat-grass. Hence, pastures offer good condition for the development of mat-grass. Only a few decades ago Mat-grass meadows were common on unfertilised meadows with low grazing intensity. They occur on dry, as well as wet, acidic humus rich soils with low fertility. Today they have become rare and have disappeared regionally. At the Danevirke area, Mat-grass occurs in a mosaic with dwarf-shrub heath and acid grassland. In order to preserve the remains of this cultural landscape, ancient land use techniques have to be restored or imitated with modern agricultural machines.
Mat grass is a densely tufted, tough, wiry perennial bunchgrass. It name originates from its stiff bristly leaves with a one sided spike. The roots are longer than the leaves and can grow as deep as 80 cm.