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CONSERVATION & ECOLOGY


Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) is a species of deciduous flowering shrub often found on links courses; it is native to only a few areas on the east coast of Britain but was widely planted at a time when concerns about stabilising dune systems were common


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ea buckthorn has stiff dense branches with silver grey lanceolate leaves and large aggressive thorns. The female plants produce abundant orange/ red berries which remain on the plant for most of the winter months. The roots spread rapidly and extensively, providing non- leguminous nitrogen fixing within the soil. It can grow between 2 and 4 metres in height and spreads rapidly within the ecosystem. The plant is dioecious meaning that the male and female flowers grow on different plants, fertilisation occurs by wind borne pollination.


The plants have very extensive deep roots that have a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen fixing Frankia bacteria. The bacteria convert atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia. Ammonia is used globally as a fertiliser and, in fact, nearly 90% of fertilisers produced worldwide use ammonia as their base. This creates a situation that suits broadleaf weeds and grasses, nettle, Yorkshire fog and Timothy are often seen within or adjoining sea buckthorn stands as the enriched soil creates the perfect nitrogen rich ecosystem. In the golfing environment, this causes conflict between the fine grasses required for quality playing surfaces and the more aggressive


Gorse and water share the disadvantage that it is practically impossible to play out of them, and


they are also the frequent cause of lost balls


PC August/September 2019 127





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