Bracken fern control

Access all the information needed for control of this noxious weed, including weed identification, herbicide application and spray timings.


Bracken fern description

Bracken fern identification

Bracken fern is a native perennial fern. On farms it is classified as a weed because it competes with pasture for moisture, nutrients and light and is poisonous to stock.

Bracken fern has an extensive root system up to several metres long that spreads in search of nearby moisture and nutrients. It does not produce flowers or seeds; instead it has spores called ‘sori’ forming on the underside of the fronds, which are dispersed in late summer or autumn. After sprouting, the fronds can grow erect up to 1.5 m long but in most cases they range from 0.6 m to 1 m.

Bracken fern is generally found in open forest in all types of temperatures. It can compete with pasture species and in dense stands can shade and dominate other vegetation as well as harbour feral animals.

Bracken fern control

Controlling bracken fern

The best way to minimise the spread of bracken fern is to prevent it from entering other pasture areas. The rhizomes can be easily spread during the use of machinery, so thorough cleaning before moving to new ground is essential. Another common way of spreading is when spores are carried by the wind.

Herbicides for control of bracken fern

Product#Method of applicationRate*State
Stinger® Herbicide Foliar spray 20 g/100 L of water + surfactant All
Stinger® Herbicide + glyphosate 450 Aerial application 60 g + 3.2 L/ha + Uptake® Spraying Oil All
Stinger® Herbicide + glyphosate 450 Boom application 60 g + 3.2 L/ha + surfactant All
Stinger® Herbicide Boom application 120 g/ha + surfactant All

# Note: Preferred product option in bold. * Consult label for details of growth stage and use, especially where range of rates is given.

Treatment timing

Timing for bracken fern

The optimum time for treating bracken fern is when most of the fronds are unfurled. November/December or April/ May. Herbicide application in late autumn is likely to be the most effective as the food reserves are being transferred from frond to rhizome.

Stinger® Herbicide
Key: Best time to spray/treat Can spray/treat if conditions are suitable Do not spray/treat