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.
Three ways to clear bramble
Cutting and Digging
Cutting and Chemical
Or If its a large area of bramble and no time for D.I.Y call in the experts Contact Mike
There's no easy way of getting rid of Bramble, once its taken over. The bramble bush has long, thorny, arching shoots, growing up to 8ft long, and where these shoots touch the soil they root and send out more shoots.
A single bramble shoot can soon become a bramble jungle and difficult to eradicate once established.
If your garden is clear of Bramble, Ivy and Bindweed, Keeping it clear by Hand pulling and digging out young seedlings as soon as they are seen 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.
Cutting and Digging (non chemical)
First cut back the Bramble stems to about 6" high, 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. Its really important to remove all of the root system as 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 regrow for ages and grows fast.
Correct Disposal of the thorny 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 its just a bush or two, cut it into small pieces and rot it down in a plastic bin bag. When I'm clearing a lot I either use a shredder and then bag it to rot down or preferably burn it.
Cutting and Chemical (no digging)
Depending on the chemical you are using this normally needs to be done in the growing season, from spring until autumn, 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 them away to bag or burn them. and then apply a suitable Glyphosate based weed-killer to the freshly-cut ends of the stems, thoroughly wetting them to ground level, following the manufacturer's instructions. Glyposate based weed- killers are systemic, being taken down to the roots so 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 chemicals ?
Bramble control strategies 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 dodgy 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.
If you are 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 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 easier in the Autumn 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 toxic herbacides.
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, But If you can get a mini digger into your garden, it will cost about £180 for a weekends hire and will save so much time and hard labour clearing and digging out the whole plant.Driving it will take time to get used to, so stay away from the greenhouse.
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 your neighbours to control it but its probably easier to check now and again and destroy it yourself.
Concentrated Weed killer
Cheapest way of killing bramble
Killing and 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