Best tools to clear 300m of Bracken?
Lol at this thread. As soon as I saw the title I knew what responses there'd be, and I wasn't disappointed. 😀 Bracken's tough stuff, the only thing I can think of apart from an Industrial strength petrol weed-whacker, is a good old-fashioned scythe and a lot of hard work. Napalm is much more fun IMHO, tho'.Posted 8 years ago
Bracken is a very successful and invasive plant. Although it provides a beneficial habitat to some species in its own right, over the past years it has started to colonise much larger areas. The danger is that it is shading out and killing off the heather, thus destroying the habitat for a much wider range of wildlife. Bracken has minimal feeding value – and it's not too good for walking through either!
The object of bracken management is to control its spread, and the methods used are rather different to those used on the heather. Bracken is a fern that grows from underground rhizomes which have a great ability to regenerate, which means they are difficult to get rid of – if you've ever tried to clear your garden of ground elder or bindweed you will understand the type of problem! Simply burning the bracken has little effect, in fact it can encourage new growth, although it is used for clearing bracken litter. Simply cutting the bracken yearly has no significant effect, although more frequent cutting can weaken it.
Bruising is recognised as the most effective method of controlling regeneration. If the fronds can be damaged so as to bleed sap the buds on the rhizomes are less able to produce rapid growth. Traditionally this was done by dragging a log behind a horse, or cattle allowed to trample on it. Recently a crimping machine has been used to make a more effective job. This has to be done twice a year and is not possible on the steeper gradients.
Spraying with herbicide is also undertaken and, although it was not the first choice of management technique, can be very effective. Indeed large areas of the Quantock Common have been sprayed from the air. A more recent development is the weed wiper, towed by a tractor or quad-bike, which allows closer targeting but is limited by terrain. Unfortunately it is difficult to rule out chemical control where bracken presents a serious threat to the heathland.Posted 8 years ago
From an article about the Quantocks. Apparently pigs, or boars are effective as well.
Actually, bracken spores can cause health issues, and it swamps other plants. Plus in really dry weather there's increased fire risk from it. It's fine when managed properly. There's also the problem of deer ticks in the bracken, which carry Lyme Disease. I'm sure you'd be happy to see the risk of that reduced.Posted 8 years ago
Well Drac if you called it a pasture topper would of known what you was on about, just never heard of a nettle thrasher
Surely with your vast experience you'd guessed what I meant for me it's distant memory of sitting in the tractor with Uncles and Granddad so couldn't remember it's proper name.Posted 8 years ago
I used a slightly serrated sickle and managed to clear a path. I should have worn gloves.
I have a slightly red hand and biceps like a baboon.
You had better appreciate the effort when you come to the Big Bike Bash. Just after the 'Hidden Hole Descent' there is the 'Fern and Flip' section.Posted 8 years agoZulu-ElevenMember
Jesus – hedge trimmers? Brushcutters? for 300m of trail?
FFS – Maybe for a couple of acres! you'll be suggesting Asulox next.
What you want sonny, is one of these: http://www.stantonhope.co.uk/Tools_26_Equipment_060975_Jungle_Knife.asp
and some of this:
simples 8)Posted 8 years agoFlaperonSubscriber
The only way we were able to deal with it on our farm was a particularly nasty herbicide from the local agricultural supplies place. It hasn't grown back anywhere we sprayed.
We graze horses on the fields and as yet none of them have grown extra heads or anything.Posted 8 years agoGhostRiderMember
My locals get "brackenised" every year, just about now is the worst time, little used trails just disappear. The more common ones only stay clear due to walkers and other trails remain but get quite over grown.
Out for a drive yesterday around Loch Awe in Argyle bumped into a "Bracken Control" tanker parked by a feild, in the field a helicopter was being loaded for spraying.
I'd never thought about this before but bracken control seems to a bit of an issue..Posted 8 years agoNorthwindSubscriber
FWIW, you wanted this, unless it was massive mature bracken:
Though that's a horrible price, mine was a tenner.
The other downer about bracken is that the surface part of the rhizome is horrible to ride over, it's just soft enough to really sap your speed and trap the wheel a bit. So I dig them out (though not deeply enough to permanently kill them, that's impractical)- sharp edge shovel, chop and chuck. Time consuming but it's not too bad.Posted 8 years ago
The topic ‘Best tools to clear 300m of Bracken?’ is closed to new replies.