Brambles can be a pain to deal with. If left unmanaged, these sprawling plants have a propensity to take over, so learning how to get rid of brambles becomes part of your must-do planning within your garden.
Getting rid of brambles can seem quite a challenge for organic gardeners, whether you’re clearing a space for another new growing area in your garden, simply trying to overhaul an overgrown area, or trying to prevent thorny branches from posing a threat to your garden areas.
Reasons to possibly keep your brambles
Before we look at how to get rid of brambles in an organic garden, it’s worth thinking about whether you want to leave any brambles in your garden. Brambles can be a valuable addition to your outdoor space in certain situations. The following are some of the advantages of brambles:
- Each year, a large number of edible fruits are produced.
- Wildlife in the area will benefit. Brambles supply more than just blackberries for local fauna. When in bloom, they also supply nectar for bees and other pollinators. Furthermore, they can serve as a valuable habitat for a variety of organisms by providing refuge and houses.
- Natural security boundaries By making it more difficult for people and/or certain animals to enter your garden, brambles can make your property safer and more secure.
- Prickly plants can defend young trees from rabbits and other pests, making them valuable pioneer species.
- A rapidly growing biomass source for use in the house and/or garden. Brambles can be regarded as a good supply of woody materials since they grow so quickly. Below, we’ll look at some of the things you can do using bramble branches.
Why chemicals may not be the answer
Blackberries can be a blessing, but organic gardeners will still want to get rid of brambles in their gardens from time to time. It’s possible that brambles are taking up far too much room. They could be in the wrong spot, with a low yield.
With their strong growth, they may pose a threat to structures in the area, obstructing light or outcompeting more important garden plants.
To remedy such a situation, some landowners and gardeners turn to chemicals. Chemicals, on the other hand, are clearly not the answer in an organic garden. Glyphosate and other herbicides are extremely toxic to the environment and may potentially constitute a health risk to humans.
A little hard effort today and a little live-and-let-live is vastly preferable to a scorched-earth approach that will create a major problem for you and future generations.
Tackling brambles organically will usually involve getting up close and personal with bramble plants. Their thorns, though, can be hazardous. It is critical to ensure that you are appropriately protected before approaching the problem. Check to see whether you have:
- Gloves that are thick
- Long-sleeved clothing and leg protection are recommended.
- loppers with a long handle (so you can reach more easily to chop brambles off near the base, and do not have to reach right into the thicket).
The extent to which you will deal with a bramble problem will be determined by the location of the brambles and the size of the problem. In most cases, large briar thickets will be dealt with in one of two ways. The first method is to burn away the majority of the debris before cleansing the area.
The first method is to use fire to burn the bramble area down to the ground. Of course, this method is only acceptable for places away from buildings or fences, and where the fire will not pose a significant threat to the surrounding area.
In damp or extremely humid circumstances, this procedure will clearly be significantly more difficult. If you’re using fire to clear bramble thickets, it goes without saying that you should always keep fire safety in mind.
Hiring or purchasing a flame thrower might make clearing huge amounts of brambles more organic.
However, the environmental impact of utilising such technology must be considered. It is not a good idea to pollute the cleared area with any form of accelerant if you intend to use it to grow food.
Getting rid of brambles by hand
If you reside in a densely populated region or are cleaning a tiny bramble patch from your backyard, clearing by hand is usually your only option. The purpose of this procedure, like burning, is to clear the majority of the above-ground debris so you can go right in there and address the source of the problem.
This procedure will take some time, and you’ll need to bring your protective gear with you. However, if you take it slow and steady, you’ll discover that brambles are relatively easy to handle. With secateurs or other sharp instruments, cut the bramble branches away one by one.
If your bramble patch is close to your house or in a densely populated area, this may be your only alternative. To avoid scratches and cuts, you’ll have to be cautious.
When clearing brambles by hand, keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Begin at the edge of the thicket and work your way in.
- Cut brambles into manageable lengths of 2-3 feet to make moving them easier and less likely to result in cuts or scrapes.
- To avoid having to handle and transfer the thorny branches again, designate an area for the cuttings ahead of time and set them in this position (or receptacle) as soon as you cut them.
- If you want to, you can burn bramble branches (and could use them to create charcoal). However, you might want to think of alternate uses for bramble branches. A fibre derived from the stems, for example, can be used to manufacture twine.
Tackling bramble roots
It’s time to get to the base of the problem now that you’ve either burned or hand-cut the bulk of the briar patch to a few inches above ground level. Bramble roots are dense, widespread, and difficult to completely remove.
The key to controlling a bramble infestation, though, is to eliminate as many plant tops as possible. Crowns are the sections of the plant that produce new shoots immediately below the soil surface.
By removing these, the majority of the brambles on a site will be removed, and the amount of regeneration will be considerably reduced. Cutting brambles down to the ground level frequently results in a lot of regeneration.
Take a garden fork and level upwards to pry the crowns and as much root as possible from the ground. While this is undeniably time-consuming, removing the bramble crowns will assist to lessen the bramble problem in the future, therefore it is worthwhile to invest the time and effort.
Preventing brambles from returning
Brambles are strong and hardy plants. For the next few years, brambles are likely to sprout where a former thicket once stood. It will be easier to remain on top of the problem if you remove these plants when they are tiny, taking care to eliminate plants from just below the soil surface.
While nothing can outcompete a bramble, densely planting a variety of crops and avoiding bare soil can help to decrease a bramble problem and keep brambles from spreading too quickly once the main problem thicket has been eliminated.
There is a wide range of techniques for getting rid of brambles, but the most important thing is to be careful when removing them. Be sure not to damage nearby plants and always wear gloves, long sleeves, pants, closed-toe shoes and eye protection.
Brambles are a gardener’s nightmare. They grow quickly and their prickly stems make them difficult to remove without damaging the plant they’re trying to protect.
These pests can be especially problematic for homeowners who have small children or pets running around their yard, as brambles will easily scratch the skin and may pose a choking hazard in some cases.
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Want to know more about how to get rid of Brambles?
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Governmental advice can be found here and the UK law covering the removal of Japanese Knotweed as stated under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 can be found here.
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