Action: Use ‘bracken bruiser’ to control bracken
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
- One randomized, replicated, controlled, before-and-after, paired study in the UK found that bracken bruising increased bracken cover, though bracken cover also increased in areas where bracken bruising was not done.There was no effect on the number of plant species or plant diversity.
Bracken bruisers are lightweight rollers that can be pulled behind a tractor or other vehicle. They aim to crush and damage bracken, thereby limiting its growth.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A randomized, replicated, controlled, before-and-after, paired study in 2005–2013 in a site dominated by bracken Pteridium aquilinum in the UK (Milligan et al. 2016) found that ‘bracken bruising’ increased bracken cover and had no effect on the number of plant species or plant diversity. In plots where a bracken bruiser was used bracken cover increased over eight years (before: 23–24%, after: 64–74%) while in plots that where a bracken bruiser was not used bracken cover also increased (before: 24%, after: 75%). There was no significant difference in the number of plant species found in plots where a bracken bruiser ha d been used and those where it was not (no data presented). There was no significant difference in the plant diversity of plots where a bracken bruiser was used and those that where it was not (data presented as Shannon-Weiner index). In 2005-2012 a bracken bruiser was used twice a year in three 20 x 20 m plots and in three other plots no bracken bruiser was used. Plots were paired. In 2005–2013 plant cover was assessed by eye in five 1 m2 quadrats which were randomly located in each plot.