Bracken control or eradication is achieved through the use of both chemical and non-chemical treatments, such as cutting, rolling and grazing. A long-term combination of chemical and non-chemical treatments is necessary to eradicate bracken. These practices must be applied in conjunction with pasture improvement activities. Choose species of grasses and legumes that are suited to the soil and climate of the region to encourage a competitive pasture.
- Cutting or slashing bracken
Repeated cutting or slashing eventually controls bracken growth. Cutting must be carried out for a minimum of three years to deplete the fern’s energy reserves. Cut the bracken at full frond when they reach the unfurled stage. Cutting must be repeated once every month during the peak growing seasons from late spring through the end of summer. Focus on small areas by cutting frequently as opposed to controlling large areas by cutting sporadically.
- Rolling or crushing bracken
If cutting is not possible due to the slope of land, implement a crushing or rolling procedure. Rollers attach to trucks or tractors to crush and bruise bracken. Purchase a roller with an irregular or ribbed surface for best results. Each rolling procedure reduces shoots by roughly one-third.
- Use chemical treatments
Purchase Asulox (asulam) or Roundup (glyphosate) for spot or widespread treatment. Do not cut, roll or damage bracken for at least eight months before applying herbicides. Apply these chemicals only to mature fronds to ensure translocation to the bracken’s roots.