Noxious Weed IVM Guide Contents, IVM for Noxious Weeds
Canada Thistle, Gorse, Knapweeds, Leafy Spurge, Purple Loosestrife,
Purple Starthistle, Smooth Cordgrass, Tansy Ragwort, Yellow Starthistle
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IVM Technical Bulletin
Appendix 2:
The Bradley Method

The Bradley method (Fuller and Barbe 1985) is an approach that was developed by the Bradley sisters in Sydney, Australia.  It combines the strategies of containment and reduction and can be used most successfully in natural areas where weed stands are close to or intermingled with native vegetation.  This approach uses carefully planned hand weeding to tip the  ecological balance in favor of the native vegetation, which is then allowed to regenerate and fill the area where the weeds have been removed.  The weeding is always done outwards from the edge of the best stands of natives.  The Bradleys recommend choosing an area  you can visit easily and often, where the native vegetation meets a mixture of natives and weeds not worse than 1 weed to 2 natives.  If you choose the most heavily infested areas to clear first, the weeds will re-invade very quickly because you have provided them with ideal conditions:  bare, disturbded soil and full sunlight.

Start weeding in a strip about 12 feet wide.  The length of this strip will depend on how much area you can easily maintain by visiting it once or twice a month during the growing season.  As you weed, be careful to replace any leaf litter that gets disturbed, and use the weeds themselves as mulch whenthere no mature seeds present.  do not, however, leave portions of the weeds that could regenerate.  Avoid increasing the area you are maintaining until the native vegetation has moved in.  It is not necessary for the plants to be tall, but it is important that they form a dense cover over the soil and that they fill in the weeded area right up to the edge.  At this point you can begin to clear another block.  Nothing will be gained by hurrying this process; allow the desired plants time to grow and stabilize the area.

Using this method, the two Bradley sisters (both over fifty) cleared a 40-acre woodland reserve so successfully that the area needed only slight attention once or twice a year (mainly in vulnerable spots such as roadsides and creek banks) to be maintained weed-free.  To do this they expended only a minimum amount of time:  an average of 45 minutes perday between the two of them.  This low-cost, low-impact approach enables restoration to occur with minimal labor or equipment.

Last modified:  September 27, 2000
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