Brambles are a real problem, especially in gardens that have been neglected, growing through shrubs, under hedges, between the cracks in broken concrete and brickwork.
The speed bramble grows, combined with the painful thorns, mean gardens quickly become no go areas if it's not controlled.
Bramble shoots grow up to 8ft long, when the end of the shoots touch soil they root and send out more shoots quickly forming a dense thorny blackberry bush.
A single bramble shoot can soon become a bramble jungle and difficult to eradicate once established.
If your garden is clear of Bramble, Keeping it clear by pulling and digging out young seedlings as soon as they appear, will save a lot of hard work later.
BUT you wouldn't be reading this if your garden was clear, so lets get started, there isn't a easy way, and there isn't a new miracle shortcut but it can be done. There are basically two ways to clear Bramble.
I have described below how I clear bramble from gardens.
Cutting back and Digging out the roots.
If its a large area of bramble and no time for D.I.Y call in a bramble removal contractor.
Cutting back and Digging out the roots (non chemical)
First cut back the Bramble stems to about 6" high, this makes it easier to get to the roots. A Strimmers will save time but you will need a sharp saw for thicker stems.
Next dig out the bramble stump and the roots. It is really important to remove all of the root system, brambles will regenerate from well below soil level.Realistically its almost impossible to remove every bit of root, so you will need to keep an eye out for new growth and pull it up . Bramble will continue to produce new growth for ages and grows fast.
Correct Disposal of thorny bramble growth and roots is key, leaving it in a pile in a corner of the garden will just create another Bramble problem, because it roots wherever it touches soil. If it is just a bush or two, cut it into small pieces and rot it down in a plastic bin bag. When I'm clearing a large area I use a shredder and bag it to rot down, or preferably burn it.
Cutting and treating with Weed-killer (no digging)
Depending on the weed-killer you plan to use it should be applied in the growing season, from spring until autumn, the best and cheapest chemical weed-killer for treating bramble is glyphosate, read and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
As I have described above, cut back all stems and runners to about 6in of the root, and clear it away and bag it to rot down or if you are clearing a large area of bramble burn it on site. Then apply a suitable Glyphosate based weed-killer to the freshly-cut ends of the stems, thoroughly wetting them to ground level. Glyposate based weed- killers are systemic, being taken down to the roots, killing the whole plant including the root system and is deactivated by contact with the soil.
You may have to repeat this process and at the very least keep an eye out for new growth and pull them up as soon as you see them.
Which strategy is best, Organic cutting and digging, or cutting and weed-killer ?
Bramble control methods depend on what sort of Bramble problem you have; if you have brambles growing through shrubs and/or perennials then a chemical strategy may be difficult, so the only option is to dig out the bramble root. This could mean lifting your garden plants, clearing the soil of bramble roots and then replanting them.
If you have children or working full time and have limited time for the garden, a large area of bramble could take months to clear, whilst the chemical way could be done in a weekend.
If you have a large garden taken over by brambles and not in to much of a rush, try clearing one section at a time by covering the area with a heavy grade weed suppressing membrane. This won't kill off the roots but it will make digging up the roots a lot easier.
Want a truly organic way to clear Brambles ?
Just enjoy the blackberries you could be harvesting and make lots of jam and apple and blackberry pies.
Keep or borrow a few goats they'll clear a bramble patch faster than anything, with out using weed-killer.
Using Machinery to clear Bramble
Rotavators won't touch thick bramble roots and will just bounce of the top especially on clay or dry soil, If you can get a mini-digger into your garden, cost about £180 for a weekends hire, it will save so much time and hard labour clearing and digging out the whole plant.
If your neighbour neglects the garden, Its almost impossible to stop bramble creeping over, under and through neighbouring fences and walls, You could try asking them to control it but its probably easier to check now and again and destroy it yourself before it takes hold and becomes a problem.
Concentrated Weed killer
This is the best and cheapest weed-killer to kill bramble
Quickest method of clearing a large area of bramble, I would advice using this concentrated weedkiller, rather than the sprays. More information on my page shop for weedkiller