If you’re in the British uplands, you’ll be very familiar with bracken (Pteridium aquilinum). It’s part of our landscapes here, beautiful but not always good news.

Robin J Pakeman at Animal Briefs tells us about bracken. It’s a native species but that doesn’t stop it from being an invasive weed on many kinds of soil, especially on acidic soils. Prof Pakeman describes how it can shade out other plants and how it can poison livestock, even people.

Gardeners can take advice from the Royal Horticultural Society. Chopping down bracken or crushing it aren’t very good ways to get rid, because this weed has rhizomes underground so that it can easily sprout back. It makes spores too, which can grow into new plants. Digging out the rhizomes is hard work and doesn’t always stop the bracken growing back.

So as Prof Pakeman tells us, if you’ve got bracken on your land you might want to use weedkiller (herbicide). Herbicides that work against bracken are asulam and glyphosate (Roundup). Asulam was banned in Europe but as Ben Briggs at Farmers Guardian tells us, the asulam ban was lifted to let people use it against bracken. As for Roundup, you moght choose to follow my ‘glyphosate’ tag for more about that herbicide.

The article I link to here, in Animal Briefs, is published freely by the British Society for Animal Science (BSAS). Animal Briefs offers ‘short insights into controversial issues in livestock production’. BSAS publishes it in parallel with Animal Bytes which is about ‘topical themes and current research in UK Animal Science’.

About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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3 Responses to Bracken

  1. beeseeker says:

    Seems to be good on compost heaps ???

    • argylesock says:

      So Prof Pakeman says. I’ve never tried composting it though. I chuck all kinds of things on my compost heaps (rat-proofed) but I’ve never happened to have bracken available. Have you?

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