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Anyone there with experience of Bracken Control?


I'd like to get on top of the Bracken on the marginal hill farm I help with near Hay on Wye in the Black Mountains using a mixture of mechanical clearance and the herbicide Asulox.


 I know that the requirment for spraying is that the Bracken is 'full frond' and just approaching senescence, however, I don't want to let the bracken grow for another season before spraying, so my question is: Can the bracken be mechanically cut once or twice in the growing season prior to spraying, or would this prevent it from developing to full frond, and therefore rendering the spraying less effective?


Any help or advice greatly appreciated


Cheers, Drew

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I believe the rules have just changed for asulox and it can only be sprayed by helicopter (bizarely) but go onto the farming forum and look for bracken there is a good discussion there about it.

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U can also use round up/Glyco earlier on in growth cycle.


They also say bruising is better than cutting and have even heard off nature reserves/sssi's getting volanteers n to get t with stocks.

They reckon that by rolling/bruising the way it breaks the stem means it can't seal itself like it can with cutting so bleeds more and weakens it more.


I have also been told it doesn't work too,by some who have tried it, not sure if not been done enough. Think u need to do it 2 times a year and over a few years for it too work.

As the scientsts do claim it should work ( which doesn't mean much really)


I always thought of welding up a bracken buster dong some work like that but just not sure how well it works

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I think Asulox is only licensed late in summer and u have to use it all up under conditions of licence. I had great success waiting for the bracken to get to full frond and spray off with Glyphosate through ATV boomless sprayer. Then spot spray as required.

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Haven't sprayed Asulox in years..but distinctly remember it was best applied at the point in the summer, when the very last tip of the fronds was only just un-curling. Certainly not waiting for the senessence to start.. ( around June I'd guess ).

Using a suitable adjuvent or sticker might make a significant improvement to rain-fast timing and efficacy, too.  The addition of a blower unit and operator or misting/ making use of a following breeze, further improves penetration into the target area.

If working on sloping or uneven ground (this tends to be normal!), then pre-walk your intended spraying route without sprayers and PPE gear on first, so you have some chance of spotting/avoiding rabbit holes and any other hidden natural trip hazards, etc.

Also, always avoiding spraying on hot/very sunny days and investing in an air-fed spraying helmet and light-weight disposable spray suits were useful purchases.  

The novelty of looking like an astronaut wore off in less than ten minutes ! 

Hope that helps.

Edited by green heart
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We have a couple of SSSI nature reserves where we've been working to decrease bracken for quite a few years. The main one is a very steep narrow valley that was prepped for plantation years ago but never planted into the valley bottom. This makes it difficult or impossible to work with machinery and we can't use herbicide.
Our only option is bracken bashing with volunteers. It used to take a group of maybe 10 people around 2 days to cover the whole site using these weed slashers. We usually went twice per year but ideally it would have been perhaps 3 times.


Steel head and wood handle. For clearing weeds and long grass. Goods under £150 - £61.95 Goods over £150 - £69.95...

Now a group of 6 can cover the site in less than half a day.
Some studies suggested cutting, some suggested bruising. Any damage is better than none.
It's a feasible solution if you have a squad of volunteers but not pratical otherwise.

On another site we trialed a bracken roller towed behind a quad. It didn't work well for that site because of the terrain but I know that the RSPB had some success with one at Geltsdale. The roller is just a mechanical wayof crushing stems. Driving over the area will also help.
I think this is the one we trialled



As has been mentioned, I'm pretty sure they changed the rules on asulox last year and it can now only be applied by helicopter over a very short period in summer.

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