Mulching gorse!

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6 years 3 months ago #537864 by m and m
Mulching gorse! was created by m and m
Hi Everyone,

Happy New Year! I am writing this from our new property in Glenbrook which we moved into just before Christmas. Yayy!! Our home stands on 2 1/2 acres of rolling land, half of which is covered in gorse and I have been reading with interest, the posts that many of you have contributed to concerning the removal of gorse, particularly those concerning mulching as a form of removal. If you have mulched gorse before could you please advise whether you have done it manually yourselves or got in a digger with a mulching attachment. If you used a digger, how steep was the land you used it on and what was the cost involved? If you did it manually did you use a normal garden mulcher or did you have to get a more heavier duty one? We are trying to establish an organic orchard so would prefer not to use chemicals if we can help it. Many thanks for any advice you may be able to give.

Michelle and Mark.

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6 years 3 months ago #537868 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Mulching gorse!
Whatever you do by whatever means, organic or chemical, you'll be doing it for years! Gorse lasts and lasts.

I had a friend who spent most of every summer on her tractor mulching her paddocks. She never beat the gorse and it outlasts her now.

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6 years 3 months ago #537874 by Hawkspur
Replied by Hawkspur on topic Mulching gorse!
Remember that gorse seed has been proven to remain viable in soil for at least 30 years, and quite probably will last longer. So as all the seeds are exposed over time they will germinate, and time will gradually expose quite a few.
With your land being 2.5 acres, it is a little more manageable to do without poisons, than say, a huge area of steep land, but you will only remove the current batch with mulching, and unless stumps are dug out, or poisoned, or cut down over and over until they give up, they will resprout along with the seeds.

We have areas we have cleared of gorse, but without being kept well-grazed/mown,/thickly mulched to keep sunlight out/sprayed/ or another more competitive or taller shading plant established, they'd go back to gorse. Different strategies will work for different areas.

We use an 11HP mulcher. I wouldn't go smaller. A garden one would not cope and would be tediously slow to use. You do need to get inured to gorse scratches, and only complain of really direct stabs. It is way better than blackberry which hooks in and rips, so there's a positive!

We find it is best to progressively clear only an amount we can really work at keeping clear for at couple of years at least, or we just watch our work vanish under the gorse canopy.
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6 years 3 months ago #537878 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Mulching gorse!

Hawkspur wrote: Remember that gorse seed has been proven to remain viable in soil for at least 30 years, ...

Lots of us repeat that "fact". Where was it researched and proven, do you know? I suspect it's just something we've inherited as truth but may not be.

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6 years 3 months ago #537882 by Hawkspur
Replied by Hawkspur on topic Mulching gorse!

Ruth wrote:

Hawkspur wrote: Remember that gorse seed has been proven to remain viable in soil for at least 30 years, ...

Lots of us repeat that "fact". Where was it researched and proven, do you know? I suspect it's just something we've inherited as truth but may not be.


I did find a study that found that result, but I can't remember the reference, sorry. From memory it involved digging cuttings to expose soil of known periods since gorse had grown, and seeing where germination occurred. They concluded 30 years, but qualified it as "at least", because they didn't have any older known samples.
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6 years 3 months ago #537883 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Mulching gorse!
Cool, thank you.

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6 years 3 months ago #537885 by m and m
Replied by m and m on topic Mulching gorse!
Hi Ruth,
Thanks for letting me know about how problematic gorse can be. Hopefully if I fertilise properly it may be less pervasive. Here's hoping!

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6 years 3 months ago #537886 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Mulching gorse!
:D Yeah, sure, hope. :D :D
Those bloody plants will grow anywhere, fertile or not! Sorry, one does get a bit despondent about the slog, from time to time.

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6 years 3 months ago #537887 by m and m
Replied by m and m on topic Mulching gorse!
Hi Hawkspur,

Many thanks for your valuable advice! It will be interesting to see how long it takes us to get on top of it all. An interesting piece of advice that I came across for pruning roses was to use the sleeves of an old wetsuit to minimise harm from the thorns so I'm thinking that I might try it out for the gorse as well! I might need a full wetsuit though because sometimes I can be a bit of a wimp! Do the seeds get crushed through the mulcher and should I keep flowering plants separate from the others before shredding? I was wondering if I should put all the flowering plants in a wool bale or other such like for a month to catch all the
seeds? Have you ever done anything like that? Hopefully fertilising the soil will have a positive effect on the plant's re-emergence. Thanks again.

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6 years 3 months ago #537888 by m and m
Replied by m and m on topic Mulching gorse!
No problem Ruth!! I could be saying the same thing in a few years!!

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6 years 3 months ago #537891 by Stikkibeek
Replied by Stikkibeek on topic Mulching gorse!
It doesn't tolerate growing in shade, so once a pine forest is planted and establishes, the gorse dies. However, mill the trees in 25 or more years and up will pop the gorse!

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S
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6 years 3 months ago #537899 by Mudlerk
Replied by Mudlerk on topic Mulching gorse!
Dead right, Stikkibeek! After we thinned out our 25-year-year old gum plantation for firewood, gorse seedlings sprang up around many of the bases of the remaining trees...and still are. The chap up the road, whose father subdivided the place in the 1980s, said there was never any gorse in the paddock when he was young. We reckon the seedlings must have arrived with the soil round the wee gums, and lain dormant until my thinning gave them enough sunlight to germinate.
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6 years 3 months ago #537951 by Runamuck
Replied by Runamuck on topic Mulching gorse!
Sadly, I must concur with everyone that gorse is a pain in the buttski to get rid of, and I doubt you ever will. When we bought our block, the only flat bit of land was covered in head high gorse and tobacco weed. Hubby borrowed the neighbours tractor and slasher and dealt to it. He then sprayed the regrowth. And then sprayed the regrowth.... and 20 years down the track we are still spraying, and mowing, and digging it out... and its the same with other areas we have attempted to tame, including those that were dense scrub and bracken, with no gorse. Once that was gone, the gorse arrived, en-mass, and in fact the blimmin stuff still comes up under, and grows up through the fruit trees, even the densely planted ones, so the shade may slow it down, but sadly it doesn't stop it. We manage to "manage" the regrowth, but we'll never get rid of it,

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6 years 3 months ago #538010 by m and m
Replied by m and m on topic Mulching gorse!
Thanks for your contribution Runamuck! It looks like we have our work cut out for us and then some!!

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6 years 3 months ago #538011 by Organix
Replied by Organix on topic Mulching gorse!

m and m wrote: Hi Ruth,
Thanks for letting me know about how problematic gorse can be. Hopefully if I fertilise properly it may be less pervasive. Here's hoping!

It is worth noting that apart from the very long term viability of its seeds gorse is also a legume therefore it is capable of generating its own fertility (nitrogen). So, while addition of fertiliser can be used to combat weeds that are 'indicators' of adverse mineral/pH levels (e.g. buttercup, willow weed, yarrow) this strategy won't work on gorse. The upside though is that gorse is a good nitrogen source in itself, either as a mulch or the topsoil it generates over years of ground-cover.

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