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Ferns

 
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Does anyone have any advice for me on how to get rid of (as in destroy totally) the fern that we know in South Africa as the 'sword fern' - it is a classified invasive species here and is all over my property.   The veggie garden is thriving and everything else is going well, but the FERN - which manages to kill absolutely anything else around it - remains!    I have been told by some local people here that covering with black plastic only makes the problem worse, gives them a boost for goodness sakes!    The big problem is that I HAVE to get rid of it before the authorities come round with their poisons.  I'm thinking the only way is boiling water and just intensive labour of manually pulling them out (but we are talking a seriously large area here).  I also believe the salt water option will also be counter productive in the long run as I obviously would like to plant food and insect attracting plants once the wretched fern has gone.   One other question....what, when I have removed the plants and all their horrible little bits, should I do with it?  How safe is it to put on the compost heap?
 
garden master
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Hi jenne! Welcome to permies!

Maybe goats could be used to clear up the ferns, similar to how Kudzu is cleared up in the US.

 
pollinator
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I am just guessing, I live in the USA and have no experience with this fern.

But I cleared a terrible infestation of invasive thistle many years ago by kicking and spraying each thistle with distilled white vinegar. The kicking was not just frustration, the vinegar worked better when sprayed on damaged plant material. It worked well. It works best in full sun. Don’t try this if it is about to rain.

This is a LABOR INTENSIVE way of doing it. I enlisted other family members to help. But we cleared 20 acres of it.

I would suggest doing a small test. You should know if it will work within hours - it will shrivel up and turn black.
 
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Things only thrive when there is something the soil has excessive amounts of, or lacks.

For instance here we have smooth bedstraw which thrives in highly acidic soil. To get rid of it, a person just needs to get the PH level up with lime. Here Smooth Bedstraw came when the only limestone plant in New England, decided they would no longer sell lime for agricultural farms. When the PH level dropped, stressed the other grasses in the sward, Smooth Bedstraw came in!

In one of my fields I had a problem with milkweed, but that thrives when potash is low. A decent amount of potash got rid of all of it...in a weeks time!

I have successfully used sheep to graze-out poison ivy (their favorite food), as well as raspberries.

I would think there is something African Fern really likes, and just change it so that other species can compete with it.
 
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hey there! 5 months later and I'm wondering what you did?

have you thought about a couple of pigs?

regards.
java in the freestate
 
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