Designing Beautiful Borders

Bad weeds: Part I - Brambles


It's not just us that have been enjoying the weather this week. The weeds have also been preparing their annual onslaught. Spring is the time to get on top of weeding as it can be very difficult to regain control over your borders once summer arrives.

Bad weed 1: Brambles

There are over 300 varieties of bramble in the UK and they can seemingly thrive in any condition given; from our lovely Lindfield deep clay soil to tiny dry cracks in rockeries and stone walls. Their roots can regenerate from the smallest bit of root left in situ after weeding, and the flowers also produce vast quantities of seed without the need for pollination, making this weed a born survivor.

Brambles are capable of growing up to 5 meters in one season. They arch through our shrubs and send long stems out at ground level, which eventually root and produce even more brambles. Prickly and horrible to remove, no wonder Sleeping Beauty had to wait a long time to be rescued from her thorny incarceration.

What to do

- Where possible, dig out any brambles that remain from last year, removing as much root as possible and any horizontal shoots running at ground level.

- If digging the bramble out is not possible, then snip it at the base with secateurs, continuously over the season. This will stop the bramble from creating new brambles and eventually it may give up growing altogether.

- Recognise bramble seedlings. At this time of year they are small and very easy to pull out. At first, they look a little like strawberry seedlings, then as they get bigger, they start developing small thorns on their stems. A weed in time, really does saves nine.

- In Autumn, prevent further spread of this thug by eating as many blackberries as you can!