Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Clearing rushes  (Read 849 times)


  • Joined Aug 2018
Clearing rushes
« on: October 23, 2019, 11:16:05 am »
I have some clumps of rushes here and there. Not an infestation but don’t want them spreading. Was going to spray them with SBK but after wasting time spraying bracken with it, and not being able to find anything anywhere to say it’ll work, I’m not convinced this is what I need.
I also have Gallup but this obvs kills the grass as well.
Any advice on what to use? If I spray (manually) with Gallup on a settled day there shouldn’t be too much drift. The two fields I want to do are not due to be used for a while (not sure how long you’re meant to leave it before grazing again as only used it on the driveway before now). Would this even be the right time of year to do it?


  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Clearing rushes
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2019, 12:10:58 pm »
I think rushes grow in wet areas so maybe sorting the drainage first would help? I have no idea about spraying them. We’ve got a few patches in a wet, badly draining field but the drainage needs fixing before we try to get rid of them. If you want to spray them an agronomist would be able to recommend the correct spray (obviously you need the appropriate certificates to spray chemicals too)


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Clearing rushes
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2019, 01:44:52 pm »
Rushes are good at three things.  1) sucking up water and making sodden ground usable; 2) shelter for sheep, especially lambs; 3) cover for ground-nesting birds. 

Management is essential, eradication is actually not always desirable and in any case is usually a losing battle! 

If managed correctly, there will be quite a bit of grazable grass in between the clumps.  So you will get some usable grazing and some good shelter, as opposed to a quagmire. ;)  And wildlife too :)

The best management is topping.  If you want some rush cover for shelter and for wildlife, top 1/3 each year, leaving some at different heights in patches.  Top once in July after the ground-nesting birds have flown, and again 6-8 weeks later if you can. 

If they really get away from you and you need to get back on top of them, the best results are by topping first, then using a weed wiper when the new growth is long enough.  The older, hard stems are relatively impermeable to chemicals, hence topping first then treating the softer new growth once it’s long enough to stand proud of the surrounding grass.  This way you get little chemical on the plants other than the rushes you are aiming to kill.

:bookmark: rushes are good for you :)
Bookmarking because I write all this out several times a year...  :-J
« Last Edit: October 23, 2019, 01:46:49 pm by SallyintNorth »
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Clearing rushes
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2019, 02:22:09 pm »
I would cut them down to ground level with a brushcutter now and spray the new growth with MCPA when it grows back. Its a bit of a waste of time spraying the old growth, its touch stuff.

Reeds can grow in boggy areas but I find that they also create their own habitat, the clumps make excellent wind breakers so the ground doesn't get dried out by the wind or sun and the clumps also create pockets that fill with water when its wet.

Its an ongoing task really.. Horses will help by munching the young shoots


  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: Clearing rushes
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2019, 08:29:27 pm »
I don’t have an infestation as such. Just clumps here and there. Some are in a low lying field that can get a bit wet; the rest are at the top of fields halfway up the side of the valley! Always assumed one of the few perks of having slopes was that drainage should be okay!
So maybe I’ll just cut them down for now. I worry as I don’t want anything that’s going to attract slugs and snails. And I don’t want them to spread too much...


  • Joined Jan 2013
Re: Clearing rushes
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2019, 05:48:55 am »
If you only have a few clumps then cut them down to near ground level 2 or 3 times a year with a brush cutter and ensure they don't seed. reduce them by wiping with MCPA if you have a licence but if not then cutting regularly will gradually reduce them. It is very common to have wet patches on hill sides they are called seeps and there is little you can do about them apart from draining each one separately and some times after heavy rain there can be a visible flow. A few clumps in controlled areas are good for stock shelter and wildlife.


  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Clearing rushes
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2019, 05:59:06 pm »
Drains, lime, fert, weedwipe


  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
    • Facebook
Re: Clearing rushes
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2019, 06:12:16 pm »
  cut / mow down   then …. if you have a licence…….  weed wipe with Roundup (with surfactant in).  Please don't use MCPA …. long acting and polluting.   Roundup just kills the plant then is inactive.   My OH uses a squeegee  mop and hand weed wipes very effectively. 

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.
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