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How to get rid of bracken fern
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logan1234
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 Posted: Tue Aug 23rd, 2011 06:42 pm
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Hi -- I live in northern New Brunswick, Canada and have a deer farm. This year we are having a problem with bracken fern, and we would like to know if you have a solution to get rid of them. Today my hubby cut them to the grounf with his mower but we want to find out if you can get rid of them with a pesticide or if there is something else we can do. The deer don't eat that, but the pasture is getting full of it -- can you help us and thank you very much in advance.

From Dr. Deb: Dear New Brunswick Deer Farmers -- We will be glad to help you out with your query and there may be readers here who have dealt specifically with bracken fern and can advise you.

Meanwhile, you will notice that I have edited your post so that it has:

(1) Proper capitalization

(2) Appropriate punctuation, including commas, dashes, semicolons, and periods

(3) No cell phone/text device abbreviations, i.e. LOL or TYVM.

I require all correspondents to this forum to use, insofar as they are capable of it, Current Standard English. I won't kill you if you can't spell very well, but the three items listed above are essential. Please make your posts from a standard keyboard so that correct English is easy.

We do appreciate this courtesy. -- Dr. Deb

Last edited on Tue Aug 23rd, 2011 08:12 pm by DrDeb

saffire_100
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 Posted: Wed Aug 24th, 2011 11:15 am
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According to this website: http://museum.gov.ns.ca/poison/?section=species&id=110 if you really have bracken fern it is poisonous to livestock and humans as well as a carcinogen.

According to the PMRA website (Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency):

dicamba (active ingredient) is registered for Bracken Fern under the trade name "Oracle" 

There is a grazing restriction of "Do not graze cattle on treated crop, or harvest for silage until 7 days following the application of Oracle Dicamba Agricultural Herbicide alone"

Dicamba is a broadleaf herbicide so you might want to use a backpack and spot spray unless you have major infestation of the bracken fern. 

As with any chemical, always read the label and follow all label directions.

Also on the label: "Contact your local extension specialist or certified crop advisors for any additional pesticide resistance-management and/or integrated weed-management recommendations for specific crops and weed biotypes."

Casaron G-4 is registered for bracken fern, but not on pastures.

Regards,

Sarah Chambers

 

leca
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 Posted: Wed Aug 24th, 2011 07:38 pm
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Bracken grows in impoverished soil (well it does in Australia I assume its the same the world over) Best and safest way to get rid of it is to fertilise/improve the soil. And often only one application is needed to see results, with ongoing soil improvement to eradicate it.

hairyhorse
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 Posted: Thu Aug 25th, 2011 12:41 am
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Bracken fern will grow in acidic soils. We had quite crop in our last farm which had deep, rich basaltic soils.

We don't like using herbicides as you enter into a continuous cycle of dealing with one weed after another. Slashing and application of lime based on soil testing recommendations will eradicate the bracken in a few years. You will need to find a lab to do the testing which perhaps your Department of Agriculture may have listed.

It's best to slash when the new season's growth is just starting to harden off as the nutrients / plant reserves are still in the fronds. By the time the growth has matured, the plant is building reserves in the root system so slashing is much less effective.

Over sowing a very competitive, fast growing crop is also advantageous and for small areas you can brew equal quantities of well crushed, unfurled fronds with white sugar just covered with water and apply once it has fermented to the root system. This will completely kill the plant but is not the best choice for acres of infestation.

Good Luck.

Pauline Moore
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 Posted: Thu Aug 25th, 2011 04:09 am
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For large areas where spraying is the only practical option, the herbicide Metsulfuron Methyl is an effective solution, sold in Australia under the brand name 'Associate'. This is a low-toxicity and low-application rate urea compound herbicide that is specific to woody stemmed plants such as blackberry and bracken. A once-only application in Autumn works well although results may not be seen for several months.

It should be noted that toxicity of bracken fern can continue after it has been slashed or mown, and palatability can increase, so the dead fronds should not be left on the ground where animals are grazing. Bracken is not generally palatable to horses, but there have been reported instances of cattle deaths after consuming slashed bracken.

Best wishes
Pauline

spartlow
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 Posted: Thu May 17th, 2012 01:11 pm
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I have battled Brackens for 8 years in a sandy food plot in mid-Michigan. At first I tried diff herbecides to little or no avail. What worked best for me ? I sprayed the adult fully grown frons with Round up being careful not to hit my other plants. I also went around the complete perimeter of the plot and sprayed from the edge of the plot outward 6 feet all the way around. Then each spring as the new ferns begin to grow and before the frons develop fully I hand pull them. Thats right by HAND! These ferns propogate by dropping their spores from the fully grown frons and by root growth similar to a perrenial like a day-lillie. Pulling them kills the next generation that would otherwise take over and increase their population. I have less and less each year and now its only a matter of pulling a very few each spring (maintenance). That is my saga of my personal battle with these damn weeds! Good Luck

 

TheoryFarm
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 Posted: Wed Jun 17th, 2015 08:05 am
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I too have resorted to pulling the new young stems up by hand... I pay my 2 small sons a penny a root, and they can gather a hundred in 10 to 15 minutes. That said, can the pulled up fern regenerate if left out on the ground? I'm wondering if there's any need or potential benefit in gathering the stems and burning them?

TheoryFarm
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 Posted: Wed Jun 17th, 2015 08:08 am
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spartlow wrote:
I have battled Brackens for 8 years in a sandy food plot in mid-Michigan. At first I tried diff herbecides to little or no avail. What worked best for me ? I sprayed the adult fully grown frons with Round up being careful not to hit my other plants. I also went around the complete perimeter of the plot and sprayed from the edge of the plot outward 6 feet all the way around. Then each spring as the new ferns begin to grow and before the frons develop fully I hand pull them. Thats right by HAND! These ferns propogate by dropping their spores from the fully grown frons and by root growth similar to a perrenial like a day-lillie. Pulling them kills the next generation that would otherwise take over and increase their population. I have less and less each year and now its only a matter of pulling a very few each spring (maintenance). That is my saga of my personal battle with these damn weeds! Good Luck

 


What further treatment does the pulled up fern require?

TheoryFarm
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 Posted: Wed Jun 17th, 2015 08:08 am
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spartlow wrote:
I have battled Brackens for 8 years in a sandy food plot in mid-Michigan. At first I tried diff herbecides to little or no avail. What worked best for me ? I sprayed the adult fully grown frons with Round up being careful not to hit my other plants. I also went around the complete perimeter of the plot and sprayed from the edge of the plot outward 6 feet all the way around. Then each spring as the new ferns begin to grow and before the frons develop fully I hand pull them. Thats right by HAND! These ferns propogate by dropping their spores from the fully grown frons and by root growth similar to a perrenial like a day-lillie. Pulling them kills the next generation that would otherwise take over and increase their population. I have less and less each year and now its only a matter of pulling a very few each spring (maintenance). That is my saga of my personal battle with these damn weeds! Good Luck

 


What further treatment does the pulled up fern require?

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Jun 18th, 2015 01:01 am
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NOne. You can burn it or make compost out of it. Not the same as fiddleneck; not the same toxin. That's the interesting thing about "poison plants": there are so many different kinds. I list about 200 poisonous grasses and about 450 poisonous broadleafs or non-grasses in "Poison Plants in the Pasture". Cheers -- Dr. Deb

JulietMacie
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 Posted: Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 02:27 pm
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After reading this thread I went out to my pasture and sure enough, there's a large patch of this fern! I've been keeping the horses out of this area since becoming aware of the fern but yesterday, while hand grazing one of the horses in a different pasture, I saw her eat a couple of fronds that turn out to have been bracken fern! Did she consume enough to be worried about? Is there some sort of antidote I should give her? Thanks -- Juliet

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Jul 2nd, 2015 04:58 pm
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Unless you see signs of illness, there's no response you need to make to the horse.

You might want to go back and look up "bracken fern" in "Poison Plants in the Pasture" to read up on what the particular toxin in bracken fern is, etc.

However, more important will be for you to take steps to get rid of the bracken fern, or else cordon it off to where the horses can't reach it. -- Dr. Deb

JulietMacie
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 Posted: Sat Jul 4th, 2015 05:40 pm
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Thanks for your reply. As soon as the rain stops I'm going out there to weed whack them down, rake them up, lime and fertilize the area.

--Juliet

bena stutch
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 Posted: Tue Sep 19th, 2017 07:15 am
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My partner swears by adding potassium and phosphate to the soil, as it is the lack of this that allows bracken to thrive.


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