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Briar patch - how to manage via cover crop  RSS feed

 
carl asker
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I live in southern Connecticut. I have a 1/4 of an acre of untouched wilderness where I would like to grow some oats in the summer but don't know yet what to grow in the winter. However right now (it's January) I have in place an over grown briar (brier) patch that I need to manage where the growing will take place. So I was thinking to first make some seed balls with oats and white clover, spread them now, then cut down the briars leave them over the seed balls perhaps add some manure (perhaps wait until March with manure). I would then wait until spring to see how well the clover manages the competition with the briars. Does anyone have any suggestions on what to expect from such a strategy?

Regards

Carl

 
Michael Cox
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Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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By "briar" do you mean blackberries?

If so then they have well established roots and will be minimally deterred by trying to "cover crop" through them. Direct observation should convince you of this; blackberry patches here expand from hedgerows and overtake grasslands.

If you want to clear these blackberry bushes then you need to physically remove them. This is either a physically demanding job for you, that will take many days of effort with appropriate hand tools, OR you could run pigs on the area which will dig out the roots and consume them. Pigs will also fertilize the area for you prior to planting later on.
 
carl asker
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Michael Cox wrote:By "briar" do you mean blackberries?

If so then they have well established roots and will be minimally deterred by trying to "cover crop" through them. Direct observation should convince you of this; blackberry patches here expand from hedgerows and overtake grasslands.

If you want to clear these blackberry bushes then you need to physically remove them. This is either a physically demanding job for you, that will take many days of effort with appropriate hand tools, OR you could run pigs on the area which will dig out the roots and consume them. Pigs will also fertilize the area for you prior to planting later on.


They are not blackberries they are some sort of rotundofolia briars. Aren't there anything that could outcompete them....comfrey?....
 
Bryant RedHawk
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carl asker wrote:I live in southern Connecticut. I have a 1/4 of an acre of untouched wilderness where I would like to grow some oats in the summer but don't know yet what to grow in the winter. However right now (it's January) I have in place an over grown briar (brier) patch that I need to manage where the growing will take place. So I was thinking to first make some seed balls with oats and white clover, spread them now, then cut down the briars leave them over the seed balls perhaps add some manure (perhaps wait until March with manure). I would then wait until spring to see how well the clover manages the competition with the briars. Does anyone have any suggestions on what to expect from such a strategy?

Regards

Carl



You have true Brier bushes, they have an extensive root system that sends up sucker shoots all along the length of the root. (think bindweed or Bermuda grass)
There isn't anything that will be able to out compete this plant, including trees. When I lived in New York State, there was a Brier patch in the 3 mile wood behind our house, it spread at a rate of 6 feet per year.
The owner of the three mile wood even tried burning it, only to find that the burn just energized the brier roots to send up hundreds of new suckers, (brier is fire tolerant and activated).

If I had one of these patches, I would chop it to the ground and then weekly chop any new growth that came up. The roots will expend every bit of energy they have trying to reestablish a growing crown, thus at some point of keeping all new growth chopped down the roots will run out of energy and expire.
This method works for Blackberries too. In order to win the battle you have to be set to endure for the long haul, I am having success with die out of blackberry now and I have been at it two years, so far. It will work.
BTW,  I tried to shade it out with broad leafed plants but that didn't work, those plants are now dead in the area I experimented in while the blackberries are going strong.

Redhawk
 
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