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!
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.
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.
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
Living in Anjou , France,
For the many not for the few
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!
Cuts though them like butter lasted me for years careful of stones tough as it can take off the carbide chips on the blade
at least one cut in summer BEFORE they seed as they produce thousands per plant the more you cut the more they will be wakened.
Then another in winter when there is a big hard freeze water them with cold water from a watering can after you have cut them to fill up the inner space in the reed this freezes and expands splits the reed to the roots and kills the active growing shoots.
Then what your left with is the solid clump (root ball) and when its been very damp use the attachment to slice into it vertically like cutting up a cake then use a sharp spade to open up the segments and they will just pop out and dig it out. Fill the divert when you have taken out the root ball with compost and plant grass seed to outgrow the few reeds that will come back.
The man problem are the seeds they can survive in the wet soil for years and will keep coming back as little sprouts so you have too keep up the two cut regime but eventually they will just decrease and decrease
The cut reed make perfect mulch as good as straw and excellent composting materiel
Good drainage, watch the soil ph and apply gyp rock to aid compaction and aerate the soil but that has to be done anyway with this kind of land took me 3 years now its sweet