AHNE Bryniau Clwyd / Clwydian Range AONB


Controlling bracken


The most effective short-term way of killing areas of bracken is to spray using Asulox at the end of July and beginning of August when the fronds are beginning to open. This will ensure the plant takes up as much chemical as is required to kill it.

Aerial spraying is an especially useful method of management on steep slopes where access is impossible by machine. While spraying will result in 95% + success, follow-up work is essential to avoid bracken returning to managed areas.

Management can take a number of forms. Grazing areas will help break up the mat of dead bracken, exposing soil and encouraging other species to grow. On flatter ground rolling will help knock back any bracken which tries to return, and spraying any returning bracken can often be undertaken on a much smaller scale using a tractor and boom sprayer or a simple knapsack, attacking individual plants.

The Environment Agency is responsible for giving consent to use Asulox. It has been approved for use in water catchment areas but you must leave a 50-metre buffer zone around watercourses and water extraction points (100 metres in some cases).

Rolling and cutting

If your area of bracken is reachable by tractor or quad bike, regular bruising and cutting can be effective in controlling bracken. Ideally the bracken will need to be cut or rolled three times a year in spring and summer. This will stunt its growth and give other vegetation a chance to compete. Simply rolling the bracken is thought to be most effective. This bends the stem without breaking it and the bracken continues to try to grow, using energy from its rhizomes, which will have a bigger long-term effect.


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