Clearing out thorn bushes is a tedious task that requires up to two years of work. Tilling is a common method that works best at removing thorn bushes more efficiently than burning. Mowing is also a great method to get rid of thorn bushes, but you will need to keep the are mowed on a monthly basis for two years. Pulling the thorn bushes out of the ground is another way to get rid of thorn bushes, but you will need to wear a good layer of protective clothing to prevent getting scratched by the thorns.
Tilling the ground is one of the best methods for combating thorn bushes. The first step is to cut down the tops of the bushes, cutting them down as close to the ground as you can safely get them. A Rototiller can be used to clean a small area. If the thorn bushes have taken over a larger area, contact local farmers and ask them how much they charge to till your land. The ground should be tilled several times in a growing season, from May to October, to remove the bushes and to prevent regrowth.
Mowing is less effective than tilling, but it can eventually clear up a thorn bush problem. After the thorn bushes have been cut down to the ground, the area should be mowed each month from May to October. Keeping the thorn bushes mowed down allows other ground cover to take hold, such as grass. (Ref 2) After 2 consecutive years of mowing, the thorn bushes should die off.
Burning large thorn bushes is a fire hazard and it releases greenhouse gases into the air. It may also require a permit in some areas so ask your local fire department first before burning any brush. While burning a thorn bush gets rid of the over brush, it is not a long term strategy for removing thorn bushes. The roots will survive the burning and shoot up new plants. To prevent the bush from returning, the area should be tilled or mowed each month, from May to October, for two years.
Pulling and Covering
Another method for removing thorn bushes is to pull and cover. Wearing heavy gloves and clothing, cut the canes or branches of the bush back so that you can get to the base of the bush. Dig or pull up the bushes. The best way to pull up a thorn bush is to use a weed wench so that your hands are safe from getting punctured by the thorns. To prevent regrowth, cover the area with cardboard or a layer of newspaper (six to nine sheets thick) and top it with several inches of mulch or sawdust. Keep the area covered for two years to prevent the thorn bush from growing back.
Goats are often used on homesteads to clear away large areas of plants, including thorn bushes. One of the major benefits to using goats is that they eat poison oak. While using goats is environmentally friendly, they do need to be cared for and should only be considered if you have a large plot of land. For clearing land, three to five goats are recommended per acre.