I have a business in Northern Michigan of helping hunters and landowners out managing their property with wild life improvements. I have a client that wants a path mowed around his property that has ferns on it and he doesn't want them to come back in October or November because he uses the path to walk to hunting stand sites. I feel confident that if I mow a path close to the ground around his property here in late August that the ferns won't grow back this season, am I correct with my assumption? Does anyone know for sure?
Yes, bracken is a fern; ferns make spores and also offsets, which are baby plants from established roots that spread underground. So when you mow, you kill only part of the potential brackens. Roto-tilling, light plowing, or controlled burning will get more. As with removing most plants, there is a "reserve" in the soil which may re-grow or sprout, and it takes persistent effort over a period of years to get that to a low equilibrium or eliminate it. -- Dr. Deb