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best way to clear grass and brambles under trees?

I have an area approx 55 sq yards of grass and brambles and trees that I want to clear for additional veg growing.  What's the best way to remove brambles and grass?  I can't afford to spray it , and am not sure how effective laying plastic or mulch would be.  My FIL has offered to cut it back next month with his brush cutter and then have a fire to dispose of the waste. 
Tips, ideas and advice welcome (as would be an army of helpers to get it done!)



  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,130

    If you can't use chemicals it has to be brute force which means strimming everything off and then digging it over and removing every single root and then constant weeding for the ones you inevitably leave behind.

    I would suggest a complete strim and then an application of a glyphosate product on any new growth would considerably reduce the labour and sped up progress.   There are some cheaper, unbranded forms available and it's cheaper and more effective than black plastic.

    However, I would question which veggies you are going to grow under trees.  In my experience, veggies need lots of suna nd water and the trees would block the former and compete for the latter.  Can you raise their canopy to reduce competition?

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Gary HobsonGary Hobson Posts: 1,892

    Personally, I'd be inclined to remove the brambles with a mattock. It's quite easy to remove brambles in this way. Using a mattock enables you to remove the roots. If you simply cut off the tops with a brushwood strimmer, then the roots will remain, and will be more difficult to deal with.

  • FloBearFloBear Posts: 2,281

    It does help, though, to remove much of the brambles' top growth before attacking the roots. Even the little bits fight back )-:   I am working through my big bramble patch just now and, though a reluctant poisoner, am applying glyphosate to any new growth.

  • Gary HobsonGary Hobson Posts: 1,892
    FloBear wrote (see)

    It does help, though, to remove much of the brambles' top growth before attacking the roots. ...

    Yes, it's a good idea to cut back the very long stems of the bramble first, to allow you to get near to the root. But it's best to leave a couple of feet of stem, to give you something to lift the bramble out with. It really is quite easy. This is the tool:

    55 sq yards is not too large an area. To get rid of the grass, you could simply dig it over, removing any large tufts. (You can use a mattock to remove tufts of coarse grass). Then you could perhaps plant the area with comfrey or potatoes, some other robust ground cover, which could be dug in at the end of the first season.

    And make sure that you use very strong gloves when handling brambles.

  • Thanks everyone! I discovered quite a number of fruit bushes already planted in straight rows in this area so I thought I would wade in and see if it were possible to make them a bit more accessible.

    Some of the older allotment holders who've been on site a while said there's also 'a good plum tree' in there somewhere but I haven't definitely identified that one yet.

    The other trees aren't too big, mostly less than 5 years old or less so I was hoping to chop off/dig up or otherwise kill off and remove them.

    I'll try and let you know how it goes (or you will see reports of a huge fire near my area on the news if it gets out of hand...).  I'm going to keep my eye out for a tool as described as well.

  • we have a mulcher that clears trees brambles ect will take trees up to 8 inc thick . just cleared a site full ove brambles the size ove a football field in 1 day

  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,802

    So if we ring ricky do you come round and clear for free?image

  • Gary HobsonGary Hobson Posts: 1,892

    That's a really generous offer.

    What a decent bloke. image

  • clogherheadclogherhead Posts: 506

    hi all  its a pity i don't live near ricky, like your good self i could get him lots of work

    there arn't enough good samaritans about  .


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