10 Aug

Brush and bramble clearing

Tidying your land is much like tidying your flat. Feels good to clean up, get rid of stuff you don’t need, and see what you’ve got.

Clearing years of brush and brambles that have taken over much of the land is hard work, but is also very satisfying, because you see so much progress in just a day, and features of the land are gradually revealed. Also, the strimmer is a wonderful machine. If you have ever cleared brush without one, and then picked one up, you will know what I mean, and wonder how you ever thought to clear brush without one. It is indispensable to have a steel blade spinning at 10000 RPM as an extension of your arms.

Old stone walls, terraces, wells, grapevines and other interesting plants are revealed. Strimming is archaeology around here. Then you see the real contours of the land, and the potential it has. Seeing cleaned and cleared land gives me lots of ideas about what can be done with it. But I also want to say that I prefer to leave most of it in a wild state. Clear only what is to be developed, well, and fire-breaks. So important to be mindful of potential wildfires.

We’ve captured some of the clearing in timelapse here:

 

Sometimes burning is the most effective way of dealing with brush and brambles that have been cut down. But we also started making compost piles in various places that are out of sight. This stuff will take years to decompose, but at least we are not adding all that carbon back into the atmosphere. Sooner or later I’d like to use a woodchipper to turn the debris into mulch.

Plastic mulching for weed controlAfter strimming and removing brambles we covered some areas with black plastic to prevent re-growth. We hope that a year or so of smothering will kill the Silva roots. The jury is still out on this one, and we will see if this works. It would be nice if it does, because we do not want to use herbicides, and digging the roots up would be serious work.

Goats will eat fresh bramble shoots… but they will also eat just about everything else. Nevertheless, I suspect the day will come when we use them for weed control.

 

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