Bracken Control: A Guide to Best Practice (SNH)

SUMMARY OF SUGGESTED BRACKEN CONTROL SCENARIOS, AND RESTORATION OPTIONS

SITUATION AND TASK 

METHODS

BENEFITS/ DRAWBACKS AFTERCARE AND RESTORATION
1. Control of scattered bracken or bracken invading from a front
Major task:
- Reducing bracken frond density thus allowing ground flora to be maintained
- Cutting, rolling or crushing
- Spot gun, ATV & lance or Weedwiper
- Aerial spraying, tractor spraying or ULVA + spraying
Good if little damage caused to underlying vegetation or wildlife interest.
Cheap, efficient use of herbicides.
Wasteful use of herbicides if bracken is sparse and other ferns are affected is present.
 Little other treatment required - imporve maintenance management to increase competitiveness of grass/health to prevent further invasion.
Manipulate stocking density to preven over - or undergrazing.
Follow up to maintain control.
2. Control of dense bracken with significant cover of ground vegetation
Major task:
- Reducing bracken frond density
- Cutting, rolling or crushing
- Aerial spraying, tractor spraying or ULVA + spraying
- Weed wiper
Good if little damage done to underlying vegetation.
Other ferns affected if present.
May be less effective as frond density increases.
Little treatment required - improve maintenance management to increase competitiveness of grass/health to preven further invasion.
Manipulate stocking density to prevent over or undergrazing.
Follow up to maintain control.
3. Dense bracken, little ground flora - good vehicular access
Major tasks:
- Reducing frond density
- Disturbing litter layer to enhance growth of new vegetation
- Establishing new ground vegetation
- Cutting, rolling or crushing
- Ploughing
- Burn litter
- Aerial spraying or tractor spraying
- Weed wiper or ULVA + spraying
- Mixed mechanical/chemical
Good control though slow - breaks up litter layer.
Excellent initial control with litter broken.
No control but removes litter.
May give good initial control but no effect on litter.
Combination of techniques often gives best control.
Major problem in re-establishment of vegetation.
- Assuming litter layer is reduced must add seeds of appropiate species.
- Reduce stock grazing until vegetation established.
- Use slow release fertilizer and lime if appropriate.
Follow up to maintain control.
4. Dense bracken, little ground flora - inaccessible vehicular access
Major task:
- Removing litter
- Restoring vegetation
- Aerial spraying or ULVA + spraying
- Follow up by hand with Asulam or Glyphosate
No litter breakdown, poor revegetation.
Labour intensive.
Options:
- Plant trees - usually avoids the need to remove litter.
- Burn litter, and add seeds and slow release fertilizer (if appropriate) by hand or air.
- Grazing and trampling may aid litter breakdown.
Follow up to maintain control.

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