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Tool for Cutting Rushes

 
Tim Forshaw
Posts: 3
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Hi all - new here!

I've had the singular good fortune to get carte blanche access to approximately an acre of rough pasture through a relative, which I'm planning to slowly improve to a state where it might be suitable for growing produce and keeping poultry. Patches of the site are boggy, but as the site is on a slope leading towards a brook, and water seems to have accumulated in deep tracks left by earlier tractor usage on site, I'm hoping to be able to channel the water in ditches around/past cultivation islands - i.e. I don't think I'm dealing with seep puddles.

The rear of the site is taken up by a thicket of rushes, however. I doubt I would be able to drain that area of the site sufficiently to turn it over to cultivation (unless anyone has had success with reclaiming boggy ground?), but I would at least prefer that they didn't spread, and hope to clear them over winter and later in summer to reduce their vigour and provide room for other wet-tolerant but more useful plants in the future. I hear they make good compost, too.

I'm trying to keep a tight budget to prepare for the inevitable hidden expenses, but need a hand tool to cut easily through rushes - I've not had much luck with a borrowed strimmer, and the tire tracks from earlier cultivation suggest to me that the soil is too heavy a clay for it to be worth risking getting machinery on site. Machetes and grass slashers seem cheaper than a scythe (which would be a heavy investment on my part) - has anyone had any experience with cutting rushes with this kind of tool? Any advice/recommendations welcome!
 
dirk maes
Posts: 68
Location: belgium
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fungi trees
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Hi Tim
I have a similar site as yours.
Rushes are a pain. I cant control them yet.
But what I've read is: cut in wintertime because new growth is vulnerable to  freezing.
Some suggestions: lawnmower, brush cutter, intelligent managements.
Goats are the preferred grazers as they are not to fussy.
Chalk and mow!
It is  a real good mulch.
But when your option is too put chickens on this land there is an technique . I use this technique every day.
If i have unwanted plants growing in a place trow the feed for the chickens by hand  on this plants. It might take some time but eventually the chickens will destroy these plants.
Succes.
 
Tim Forshaw
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Hi Dirk,

Thanks for the tips! I'd planned to cut soon for that very reason! I won't be able to get a lawnmower on site without it drowning, but keeping the hens on the reeds sounds like a great idea! I'll definitely bear it in mind.
 
David Livingston
steward
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Location: Anjou ,France
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Have you tried a sickle ?
In some ways cheaper and easier to use than a Scythe on tough stuff like rushes; Plus can you effect some drainage in this area ? If it becomes dryer grass will out grow the rushes
 
Tim Forshaw
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I haven't yet! I've ended up plumping for a bolo machete, the plan being to hack the rushes to a low level and finish off with the strimmer I mentioned earlier, then rake away the cut rushes and pile them on to the compost heap.

I'm planning on tackling drainage as soon as possible - irrigation ditches leading to a pond at the bottom of the slope is probably my plan. I think drainage has been affected by the fact that there's a converted historic mill between the sloping field and the brook that the groundwater is wanting to drain into - the concrete car park is probably the main culprit!
 
David Livingston
steward
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Location: Anjou ,France
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or make a pond ? To drain the land and the car park
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
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