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Is there an easier way to clear brambles that grow through shrubs?

  • Is there an easier way to clear brambles that grow through shrubs?

We have inherited a number of shrubs that have brambles growing up through the centre of them. Is climbing in and cutting the brambles at the base the only way to tackle these? It's a horrible and difficult job, particularly when the shrub is prickly too. It also does not get rid of them, and you do not see the new bramble shoot until it emerges again out of the top or side of the shrub, by which time it is well re-established.

Comments (3)

  1. Grower

    Good Earth Gardens

    I see you have a Berberis which can give a nasty scratch! Make sure you wear gauntlet gloves and long shirt sleeves and follow the bramble to where it emerges. If you have a trusty helper they could hold the branches of the shrub back for you. Then dig out as much root as you can, preferably all of it, preferably using a mattock if you have room to give it a good swing, or a spade/fork if not. If any of the shrubs are smaller, one option could be to dig them up, remove the brambles and replant.

  2. Grower

    Peter Stubbs

    Thank you. This would certainly work for brambles near the edge of the shrubs, but the shrubs are large - up to 2m spread - and swinging a mattock at the ones in the centre would be impossible even with a helper.

    I was wondering whether applying something like Round Up to the leaves of the bramble would take the weedkiller down into the roots of the bramble and finish it for good. Or are brambles too tough? Or would it finish off the shrub too?

    Digging the whole lot up would of course work, but that's a huge job!

  3. Grower

    Good Earth Gardens

    Hi Peter, yes it would be certainly easier to use a glyphosate herbicide, such as Roundup, although for tough brambles you may need to make repeated applications. It would only kill the bramble, as long as you don't get any on the leaves of the berberis.

    I personally wouldn't recommend using glyphosate because of its toxicity to amphibians, i.e. the frogs who I hope will be eating my slugs!

    There are also peer reviewed studies which suggests glyphosate could:

    "Increase[s] a root fungi problem
    Immobilize manganese, an essential plant micronutrient
    [Can] be toxic to rhizobia, an important bacterium that fixes nitrogen
    [Can] persist in soil and contaminate groundwater."

    (Taken from the Soil Association's blog

    I can see that sometimes, as a one-off, using glyphosate can really be the best thing to do, but if more people knew the effects of its use (and not just the company spin) perhaps they would be more cautious about whether they used it.

    Also, Monsanto, the company who make Roundup, do not have a great reputation for the way it has treated farmers around the world, which influences my view of them:



    South Africa

    I hope that helps.

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