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Novice needs advice




hi everyone, myself and my fiancé are looking for some advise. We have been working on renovating our bungalow for two years now and have finally started to look at the garden In a more serious way. For the last two years we have only removed things. Our garden is 2 acres of trees which were planted 25 years ago. Nothing was done since to the whole place. which meant when we began we had to learn how to use a chainsaw. 182 trees later and a small mountains worth of briars brambles and some evil needled bushes removed we are able to walk around the whole site. 

this is our question. How do we kill off the brambles and briars for good ? the site has a steep incline with about a half acre flat at the bottom by the river. We want to have this as weed free as possible and to lawn all around the trees. The dream is swinging on hammocks and a place for kids to play barefoot. 

Can anyone tell us how we should go about this ? We have always removed the briars by the root but it never ends and they keep coming can we just rotavate the site and seed ? Or would that cause a bigger problem and damage the roots of the trees left? We are trying to avoid using chemicals because of the wild life and the river. But we're beginning to see why people use chemicals. Our garden is full of life, hedgehogs, fox, deer from time to time, red squirrel. So we don't want to cause any environmental damage. 

Any advise would be great and sorry about the grammar . I'm not a native English speaker. 

Thanks in advance




  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Derbyshire but with a Nottinghamshire postcode. Posts: 16,461

    If you have cut all the brambles to the ground, previously, now they will be sprouting. Use a sharp spade to sever the roots as low down as you can. I'm sorry , but there is no easy way around this but hard work. I think you have a lovely place, it should be a paradise for young children to play.

  • mikzxrmikzxr Posts: 14

    Thanks Fidgetbones, 

    You have confirmed our worst fears :) we were praying for a quick fix. The two of us spent 12 hours doing exactly that yesterday. Is it the same for ferns? 

    Thanks again and we love the name. 

  • You shouldn't be using chemicals anywhere near a watercourse, so no quick fix. If you are determined to remove all brambles you will have to do as fidgetbones suggests, however it may be an on-going task with an area of that size and they are a great resource for the wildlife that you enjoy. Do you really want to get rid of the ferns as well? I would rather keep it as a natural woodland, creating paths through it and planting native plants, that should keep the children interested image

  • Pigs are the answer, 6 months and they will motivate the lot for you and you can start from scratch! Dig up what you want to keep.

  • Oops! Fat fingers! Meant motivate!

  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,964

    You are supposed to notify the relevant water authority before using herbicides in or near water. However this applies really to spraying aquatic and riverbank weeds, and you're not really in that situation. Glyphosate is approved for use in and near water (including aquatic plants themselves) because it's fairly inert once it's broken down. Personally, I would see no harm in using glyphosate very carefully (as always) to control brambles, especially if applied as a weed wipe (so it only contacts the leaves of the target weeds). I do not think this would harm wildlife at all, the Environment Agency certainly use Glyphosate. (Although of course, by removing the brambles, you are harming wildlife by removing a food source).

    Therefore I would start with cutting back the brambles and then treat any regrowth carefully, in a responsible, targeted way, with Glyphosate. I would not in a million years want to be killing or removing any ferns though. They're too lovely.

  • mikzxrmikzxr Posts: 14

    Thank you so much folks. Your input has started us rethinking our plans. We have ordered a bag of specific woodland grass seed that is premixed with native wild flowers and bee feeding plants due to hives we realised are very close by. We have spent each evening after work weeding and we are starting to win, especially after inlisting the help of a neighbors two goats. We're gonna let things regrow a little and remove them as. needed and take the more labour intensive slowly slowly approach. due to the proximity of the hives I have chosen not to use any chemicals since seeing the twelve hives so close to us. Oh and the ferns are staying 

  • That sounds a great idea, mikzxr! We keep honey bees and have planned our planting to give them as many native flowers and shrubs as we can, and of course do not use any pesticides or other chemicals.

    You will find that goats are quite indiscriminant about what they eat, sometimes choosing the plants you want to keep as opposed to the ones you want them to get rid of!

    Take things slowly and enjoy watching your little woodland evolve, it sounds like it will be quite idyllic and the wildlife will love it too image 

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,848

    good decision mikzxr, far too many chemicals used on far too many gardens.

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    Digging out is the only answer to brambles.  The re-growth from any roots left behind is weak and easily dealt with.  Herbicides will only weaken a bramble, not kill it.

    I don't understand why you object to ferns.  They enhance any area.  Bracken is another matter.

    Good luck.

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