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If i kill an area of bracken fern this summer in preparation for cutting trees this winter to regenerate aspen and other species will it considerably reduce the presence of bracken ferns? I have found them hard to kill. Anyone have proven methods?
 

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Realistically, lime will not work and I don't know how else to raise the ph. Lime has to be incorporated in the soil to raise the PH. If you are cutting trees, it will be vey difficult to incorporate the lime. You may be able to broadcast pelletized lime and raise the ph a little. Not enough to eliminate ferns though.
I have sprayed ferns with gly in late August or early September and this will help with the ferns next year. Bracken are a perennial, you kill them good and you may be killing plants that are several years old. New plants will replace them, but the regeneration will have a jump start. I have poplar that are wrist size and a little bigger. They are choking out everything on the ground, but the ferns. I sprayed the ferns in the late summer, then went in and cut the poplar in the winter. I am getting decent regeneration, not great, but better than areas I did not kill the ferns.
Another option, cut the stumps low to the ground, and remove the brush. The next year, go in and roll the area with a cultipacker every time the ferns get bad. Kind of like mowing your lawn. The regeneration you want will be able to take the cultipacker. It will break the fern stem and kill the plant back. Fern stems break easily. Break them enough times and you kill the root of the plant.
 

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Even in areas of heavy bracken there is the potential for desirable plants that you might wish to consider before attempting any severe eradication campaign. Poke around a bit to see what you have. It would be a shame to nuke seedling oak or beaked hazel.

If you do decide to use herbicide on the ferns and you do have small oak you want to keep the easiest way to preserve some is to simply go in with a set of nippers or a weed trimmer with a blade and cut them off near the ground. Oak will resprout with a vengeance and do so quickly so do not wait too long to apply herbicide.

If your aspen is not over mature and the stand is fully stocked you should get a good crop of aspen back after the cutting even if no bracken control is implemented, but if the area is very sandy and moisture becomes an issue next season, all bets are off. FM
 

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Tornado Jim
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In my view killing the ferns this summer will not help the aspens to beat them out in the spring. I would cut this winter, then come in in the spring with herbicide on a wick or wand. The ferns will shoot up much faster than the aspens, so you want to kill them after they get started in the spring, which will allow sunlight in to nourish the more slowly growing aspens. I have seen people have real success getting good tree regeneration through the use of herbicides. Ground disturbance is a good thing as well.
 

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Have fun with them and good luck. Its a long battle.
I spray em, I cut em, I pull em, I lime em, I gain ground only if i dont let up on them.

ERADICATING BRACKEN FERNS. I
I "It is not generally known," writes Mr. G. W. Robertson, of Narre Worron, Vic- toria, "that braken ferns can be got rid of at very little expense, provided the
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method given below is perseveringly fol- lowed up at regular intervals for about two months at the right season of the year. The bracken fern, like all other plants, requires to have its leaves or fronds expanded to the air. These leaves act as lungs, or as innumerable invisible mouths, to supply the necessary nourish- ment for the roots. Continuously deprive the plant of these lungs, or moutlis, and it will simply die of starvation. Our ob- ject, then, is to accomplish this. Though bracken are now putting forth their green fronds for the coming summer's supply of nutriment, that the plant may lay in a supply for the approaching dry reason.
"Tho Right Method.-Take a strong scythe or a long-handled fern hook, be- ing a lighter kind of bill-hook. Cut the ferns all as close to the ground as pos- sible. The reason for this will be ap- parent later on. If the ferns are very thick together, they may be forked off into heaps; raking them,off is better, but slower: or, if not too much in *..o way for future cutting, may be left on tho ground altogether. The fern roots in the ground will -as soon as possible send up more leaves to keep Up the sup- ply of food from the air to the roots; usually in about a fortnight after, earlier or later, according to the season or soil, when the curled up leaves will be about expanding into full leaf. The object is to cut them off before they ex- pand, otherwise they will have secured some food or strength if they are allowed to open out, and thus our object is de-
feated.
"After the First Cutting.-To every 100 ferns cut off at the first cutting there will only be about 70 at tho.second cut- ting, and so on less at every "future cut- ting. The young ferns just up are soft and brittle, and easily cut or broken off. In another fortnight or so they will be ready for the third cutting. The bracken will now be only a few inches high, and very thin in places over the ground. By the time of the fourth cutting, say about the end of the second month, if the cut- ting has been regularly attended to as it should be, the ferns will be so short that the scythe or fern hook will scarcely cut them. The warm weather also will be on, and the ferns will make such slow growth that they will try to expand their leaves almost as soon as they are out of the ground.
"It will henceforth be very light work to go over them with a narrow garden hoe, to cut off the few small ferns here and there. No further cuttings will be required from about the middle of De- cember to the end of March, when per- haps a few weak leaves may be seen;
these to be cut off as soon as they be- come visible. Usually the hot summer
finishes them off. If the season has been moist, the fern in a few instances may survive to the winter, but if they are gone over with a narrow hoe a few times-, the few that are left will give very little trouble. The summer generally dries out what little sap remains in the non
starved out roots.
"The Essential Points.-What requires to be insisted upon is to cut off the ferns regularly, and not in any way to let them expand their leaves. Otherwise the roots will have regained strength, thus delay- ing the starving out process. It is, in fact, delaying, and -at the same time pro- longing, the life of the plant. If the cutting out is followed out as it should be, it is surprising how quickly the roots become exhausted. It appears almost incredible how, after each cutting, the ferns dwindle away to a few here and there, and to lie in their weakened state so close to the ground as to be almost un
noticcable.
"The proper time to start the first cut- ting is about two months before the summer sets in, say early in October, so that by the time of the fourth or fifth cutting the summer is well on, and no more cutting is required if the summer is at all dry. The mistake mostly made after cutting the ferns is to let them come out into full leaf again. This is simply useless, as it allows the ferns to recuperate and make a fresh start with renewed vigor and drop fresh seed."
 
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