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. When we moved into our smallholding we were cover in brambles over 6ft high and meters deep.
The speed bramble grows, combined with the painful thorns, meant the garden quickly become no go area.
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.
There isn’t a new miracle shortcut but it can be done. There are basically two ways to clear Bramble.
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.
It is hard work but the results are dramatic.