Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Fighting With The Ever Encroaching Brambles On The Smallholding. (Weedkiller or Sheer Brute Force?)

We spent a couple of days last week clearing the ever encroaching bramble, furze, blackthorn and briars from around the edges of one of the fields.  The brambles and other members of the weed family had pulled down quite a few rotten fence posts.  We used loppers, strimmer and blade and the trusty 4 prong pike and the digger and dumper to clear the weeds.  I think we filled at least eight dumpers in the process.  Here's me thinking that manual labour was the name of a Spaniard.
Nearly done.  you can see the brambles next to the Smalley digger and the new fence posts lying  on the ground waiting for us to knock them in the ground.

Finished clearing.  The brambles must have taken over ten foot of the field in places.  It could do with a run of a rotovator and setting some grass seed and fertilizer.  There's always something needs doing on a smallholding.  
I suppose the next job would be to rotovate the brambles out and set it with grass seed and fertilizer.  Or I take the lazy farmer method and leave it for the grass and weed seeds to grow back?  This time I will make sure we cut the edges of the field with the tractor and topper and they won't grow back.

I am going looking at an old tractor rotovator today at a tractor breakers today.  The spades are OKish and it needs sandblasting and spraying and pulling apart and oiling and putting together again.  The scrap man says I can have it very cheap.  Number one son reckons we will fix it up very cheap.  I am very tempted and it will be a good blog subject.  Shall I buy the rotovator or should I not?

How do you deal with weed problems on your smallholding or allotment?  My cattle nibble at the blackberry leaves now and again and Ivy is said to be a great tonic for them.  Wish they weren't so choosy and ate the brambles back.  I could get a man with a quad and weed licker/sprayer to kill them for me. Or I could do it my self with a knapsack.  Or I could hack away like we have done above?  Do you use weedkiller for brambles and rushes or do you live with them?  Soft rushes are a curse on most farms these days.  Didn't see one clump when we went to Portugal last year.  Suppose they wouldn't grow if we had good weather all year.  Fantastic weather here at the moment.


  1. Brute force is what they understand
    Kill EM
    Kill EM all

  2. Our goats chomped their way through a high and wide bramble patch last year. Then they started on the trees which grew in the patch as well. They are now banned because we don't want the trees to die. Which means that the brambles will grow back. Ah well, c'est la vie! For other brambles on the smallholding I use pruning shears, cutting the brambles a small piece at a time so they don't scratch me. Takes ages. Thinking about putting the goats on tethers so that they eat those brambles for me.......

  3. Yes they are a nuisance, John. I try to use organic methods in the vegetable garden and starting to come round to using weedkiller around the farm. Especially on the rushes and around the field edges. The cattle eat the blackberry leaves some times. But they never get rid of the stalks and roots. Thanks!

  4. Thanks Vera for that. We used to keep two goats and we would tether them. They do help to keep the brambles back if you keep repeat grazing. One of the goats was a nuisance for tangling herself round the metal crowbar we tethered the rope with. The tractor topper does a good job if you remember to top the fields after grazing. Crop rotation also helps deal with encroaching vegetation. A digger is also very helpful on the smallholding.

    Thanks for your comment.


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