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Hi FatTony, it's very good advice above. It's tough coping with your own stuff and helping your mum when you can & as you say you have more important things to cope with. It may well be less time consuming if you try to keep up to date, doing a little and more often. If you mum lives locally it's easier than if she lives further away, but tough nonetheless. OK so I know this is a gardening site but - weedkiller the lot, polythene/weed proof membrane will help as above and then could you use (said very quietly) artificial turf? It will remain green and will be nicer to look at for your mum & you could then plant up a pot with something colourful for your mum to look at. Does Help the aged or other local charities have any ideas to help you? A local college that does horticultural courses, may have a student that would like to have a project, The loppers and gloves are great, but don't forget to cover yourself too, decent footwear, long trousers and long sleeved shirt. (sorry if that sounds patronising its not meant to be) I tend to think of brambles as natures barbed wire, so beware - with growth that long especially I always wear glasses when I'm gardening and a hat with a brim. Tetanus jab? You may well have rats moving through there, so gloves are essential to protect youself from weils disease, but you may also have hedgehogs there too. Do you have any friends of family to help your mum? Good luck. Would like to know how you get on.
yeah bud, go crazy with the brush cutter, chop it all down, chuck loads of brush killer on the crowns of brambles and owt else you want shifted. Then spend a little, buy good quality anti weed stuff, then double it over, it's not a big garden, even triple it. When everything is dead it can always be reused. When it's all gone, level, loads of sharp sand if it's for lawn, remove stones, then turf.. Prob cost a few hundred quid, but add thousands to the house value.
Just as an aside, there are quite a few bungalows for sale along the regular walk to my Son's school. Quite a few have been for sale for a while, and I've been looking to see how much they're going for (just in case I win the lotto and can afford to buy one for my Mum!). Upshot is, the one with the nicest garden, very tidy, lots of well-tended to flowers, flowering cherry, block-paved drive, went VERY quickly at the asking price £170K. A very similar bungalow, two minutes walk away has only just been sold, garden not brilliant, but back paved, front covered in pea gravel (corner plot so big front garden), plus garage (which the other bungalow didn't have) went for £145K, reduced from the £160K they were originally asking for back in October.
So a nice garden can make a HUGE difference to the value of your property, the garden is the first impression you get, if the garden looks cared for, then you assume the house is cared for too. So I agree with Brummie Ben, go for it, do a good job once and it won't need doing again. If you can plant up some containers or hanging baskets, too (assuming your Mum is well enough to water them), to add colour, that will add even more value. The garden as it is will reduce the value of the house substantially.
Good luck, I know how much hard work you have ahead of you, take photos after day 1, so you can see how big an impact you have made. If you don't wear specs, the tip about safety glasses is a good one, for less than a fiver you can protect your eyes, any decent hardware shop/homebase/b&q will stock them. Soon we'll be calling you Thin Tony!
Hi Fattony - how is the garden refurb going? P
Yeah, that's a pretty horrific bramble mass there. Not going to be walking over that with a backpack sprayer.
I suspect it's a job for a steel-blade strimmer or a chainsaw plus someone with a rake hauling it all out of the way to clear it down to stumps then, as advised, let them put out lots of fresh green growth so you've got something to spray and go over the lot with weedkiller.
How long it takes depends on the weedkiller. There's stuff the farmers up the Dales use to take out nettles and docks in the pastures that will make them curl up and fall down in 24 hours. Glyphosate won't make a visible difference in 10 times that long, but it'll kill almost anything.
Under all that, it's probably such a mess that you'll have to dig it out and start again anyway, so you could skip the weedkiller and go straight to tearing up the top 50cm of soil with some sort of scary machine.
Covering it with biodegradable cloth and then turf will buy you a lot of time to think about what to do next, and a lawn can be kept bramble-free with a broadleaf-killer. Best to leave the lawn clippings on the lawn if you're using that stuff.
CN, I've got a similar mess I'm clearing, and a strimmer with a brushcutter attachment isn't really going to save any time - I've got one, a proper one with a 2 stroke engine at one end, and I'm not using it on the brambles. It's a lot quicker with a decent set of loppers, Tony will find it quicker chopping the damn things off about 6 inches from the ground, and dragging the huge runners out. I've been chopping and dragging 18 foot long shoots out, a strimmer will just chop it into bits, which you then risk rooting, easier just to drag it out and stick it into a shredder, or have someone standing by the green bin with more gloves and secatuers, to make bin sized bits. A friend offered to come by with his chainsaw, I think he just wants an excuse to play with the chainsaw again - it would be overkill!
Like I said, even if you've got the strimmer with brushcutter, it's still going to be quicker to do it by hand, once it's chopped, it needs to be cleared, and there's no pushing through that lot. Wish it was, it's a bloody awful job. At least the roots don't go down to magma, like bindweed
Sorry for the late reply. Thanks again guys for your feedback.
I haven't got as far as I'd like but it's started. Bought some Alan Titmarch loppers and Gold leaf tough gloves a few weeks ago. Started on some of the larger stuff in the front garden while I fix the Ryobi petrol multi-tool.
I thought I had fixed it last week, went to go and use it on the back garden but wouldnt start again. So I ordered a Bosch AHS 6000 http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000Y1D5BQ/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Hopefully, given the width of the teeth on that thing, should go through it all with ease. That came yesterday so ill be giving it another go in the morning.
In regards to some of the suggestions here, I was actually thinking of using a chainsaw but was worried about snagging, I assume that wouldnt happen on brambles then??
Daffy, thank you for reminding me about a tetanus jab. Turns out, I haven't had the full course
Mummy, good idea about chopping it into bits into a green bin, rather do that than burning it all. There is actually a shredder in the back garden but I doubt it would work now with all the rain.
Charlie, also, thank you for reminding of a rake, completely forgot about that one.
BrummieBen, thank you for your suggestions.
Ill keep on taking pictures as I go along and will post here soon.
Thanks again guys
Tony, that might be useful for chopping into bits, if you do it in 8-10 inch passes (so you don't have to do the chopping up later), but remember, you don't NEED a power tool to clear that lot, I think it will be quicker to do it by hand, as a lot of it will be really, really long bits of bramble. Some of the stuff I've pulled out has been AT LEAST 18 feet long.
I have a 2-stroke petrol Stihl strimmer, even with the brush cutter tool I wouldn't bother using it, most of that bramble will have root systems that are 18 inches-3 feet apart, from the top it looks like impenetrable jungle, once you've cleared the edge and can see in, you will see what I mean. I used the wolf-garten cultiweeder to drag some of the stuff towards me (cos I'm a lazy bugger and don't bend if I don't have to), bit expensive if you don't intend using it as a gardening implement afterwards, but really great for clearing up, as it's as strong as a rake, but has a shorter length, so easier to pull the stuff out - a rake must be at least 8 inches at the business end, so that's 8 inches of bramble and brushwood you have to fight.
Why do things the difficult way if you don't have to. Sometimes the difficult way is using something with an engine or motor.
What happened to your gardening Fat Tony?
It would be good to know the outcome of some of the projects that pass through the forum
I had to clear a 10m x 8m bramble patch in 1997. I used a garden flame torch for what I called the mother ship parts. As the burning was done in several piles over a fortnight I had to wet the soil around the property boundary (as fire can travel under ground)'The roots were moist so didn't cause any problems - but they made a satisfying sizzle noise. You need to have access to water and a hose and, as I learnt the hard way, don't wear a fleece anywhere near a fire
PS you don't need to buy a flame gun - we hired one. Means no chemicals in the soil but plenty of potash left in the ashes.
Do you know any one who keeps outdoor pigs? They can clear an overgrown area quite fast as they grub up the roots and eat the weeds and also manure the area.