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Turning Braken Undergrowth to a Wildlife area, Minus the Braken



I've recently moved house and a novice gardener ( cue warning for a lot of threads) which backs onto a nature reserve, with a 100 meter by 5 or 6 meter council owned ( aka neglected ) strip of land between it and my house. This area has a mix of oak, turkish oak, and silver birch in it (most under TPOs), but as undergrowth it's just full of braken, which i understand in a previous year has caught fire, so looking to clear that out.

I've been given permission to assist in managing this land, and i want to start clearing the braken out, and seeding something in it's place - is there something that can be recommended? There is a 6m x 8m area that's quite open that i want to do something with, but not sure what.

It's a clay, badly draining soil, but with the trees nearby, what water does down to it is very quickly sucked up.




  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,923

    try native woodland wildflowers like Red Campion, cow parsley, herb robert, ferns (different ones to bracken anyway) etc.

    As for clearing the bracken, good luck!, it grows from rhyzomes which you'll likely have to dig out by hand!

  • Have a look at the RHS website. The Scottish Natural Heritage website has an interesting file on it as well.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,737

    Info here too 

    Don't forget to compost all the bracken that you cut down - it'll be jolly useful.  image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Well, i'm going to start on it properly this coming weekend since i got a mass of Roundup from Tesco's at a dirt cheap price. 

    I'm hoping the glyphosate will kill the rysomes as well, so that in a few weeks time i can start digging through the area and pulling them out, and not worrying too much about the ones i miss. Going to also try and dig out a 4 ft deep trench and place a line of landscape material along the far fenceline to stop more creeping under the fence...


    I'm still trying to work out what to plant out once it's all gone though - any ideas?

    There are 5 or 6 squirrels that love running around the area, as well as pigeons, robins etc, so i want to something that works for nature primarily, not for me..


  • PS - i have wild english bluebells in parts of it that i'll protect from the spray.  Ideally i'd spread these bulbs around the area, but understand this may be illegal?

  • Here is the area in question:

     Its on a very clay soil, but there appears to be a lot of leaf litter over the top of it. I'm sure it will appreciate a good dig over, which i'll do, thinking I may try and get some soil improver/additional leave mould from somewhere to dig in.

    I'm watching this thread ( with interest, as this is the type of stuff I want to bring into the area ( long term plan may include a hive on the garage roof...)

  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,923

    bruise the bracken before spraying, it'll help on the take up, and you might have to spray more than once.

    its a shame your having to mass spray they're could be some natives underneath

  • treehugger80 wrote (see)

    bruise the bracken before spraying, it'll help on the take up, and you might have to spray more than once.

    its a shame your having to mass spray they're could be some natives underneath

    Thanks for the recommendation on bruising, that's appreciated. I'm going to be careful, as i know that there is, what i think is some (1 or 2 plants of) red campion underneath that, but in March there was little else. The bluebells are just out of shot, currently buried under ivy and more bracken butI want to bring them under that little oak tree.

    I've got a few smallish tarps that i'll put under directly under the bracken before i spray, therefore tyring to ensure that I only get the bracken.

    I'm expecting to need a few sprays, but happy with that idea - i have a "glut" of weedkiller from tesco's recent sale, so rather underspray and miss a bit of bracken but leave the natives rather than kill it all.

  • Who manages the nature reserve?

  • Joe_the_Gardener wrote (see)

    Who manages the nature reserve?

    The local council does, and it's also the local council who own that strip of land that have given me permission to remove the bracken from it and maintain it.


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