Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Bracken

One of the half dozen ferns we have at Filnore, bracken is distinguished by being the only one to grow with a 'stalk' like a tree.  Here it is, growing again just inside the entrance, after having been cut down earlier in the year. 


It spreads by underground creeping roots, travelling a metre in all directions in a season, and it exudes allelopathic chemicals which prevent many other plants growing, though bluebells don't seem to mind it.

We therefore need to control it by cutting but not to eradicate it - even if we could.  A number of insects feed on it. 

Bracken is the most ancient of ferns.  It has been found in fossils over 55 million years old.

Last Tuesday Simon and Pete, from South Glos Council, mowed out a section of bracken while on their monthly machine mow of the flatter areas at Filnore.


and the following day, which was unfortunately rather drizzly, five of us cleared the rest of the ground along the hedgeline with scythes.  We got soaking wet in the rain but have now cleared another area for wild flowers to fight back against the stifling bracken and brambles.



The hump in the foreground is one of several made many years ago by mountain bikers as ramps.  This also resulted in severl pits (marked by stakes), which we now use to deposit the arisings from our clearance activities.

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