getting rid of wild blackberry vines : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Does anyone have the answer to getting rid of wild blackberry vines that are taking over a large area of our homestead? We have mowed them down to ground level with a Stihl brushcutter and burned the entire area THREE TIMES .....and I swear they come back thicker each time. We have tried dumping our wood ashes around the main stalks to make the area alkaline....and that did not work either. I recently tried to pull one clump out by the roots with a cable noose and a come-along winch[it would take months to do the entire area] but the roots snapped off about 4-6 inches below the surface...and I know they will shoot up again. We do not want to use any kind of poison, our local Ag agent doesn't have any if anyone out there has any suggestions......Please let us know.........Blake

-- blake stretton (, April 18, 2000


If burning them didn't do the trick I think you're going to have to try to out compete them. You might try mowing them very short then lightly harrowing the area. You could then plant a grass that grows well in your area, buckwheat or some other cover crop that grows thick and dense. If you go with grass I'd mow the area regularly to force the vines to have to compete with the grass for sunlight. Regular mowing seems to work well for us. I had a neighbor get rid of this kind of problem with a thick buckwheat cover.

Come to think of it, steady goat grazing on the new growth that sprouts after mowing might do them in as well.


The Prudent Food Storage FAQ, v3.5

-- A.T. Hagan (, April 18, 2000.

A neighbor at a former home had some wonderful blackberries that escaped onto our place. He was constantly fighting them but I just put electric fence around what I wanted to keep and let the goats have the rest. They are also wonderful against poison ivy, multiflora rose and other types of plant pests if you can work goats into your plans. They eat the plant, it puts up new shoots which the goats find even more delicious, the plant tries again and again until the root reserves are depleted and it dies. Good luck

-- marilyn (, April 18, 2000.

By burning and putting ashes on them I'm afraid that you are just fertilizing them. The first things to come back strong after a burn are the blueberry and blackberry plants. Mowing and/or goats sound like a winner to me.

-- Peg (, April 18, 2000.

Mow, mow, mow. As often as you do your "yard" and they will go away. We have had to do this for a few years, but it works. Just don't let them grow any at all. That was our mistake at first. Steady mowing is what works. Cutting them once or twice a season doesn't even dent the population.

-- Anne (, April 18, 2000.

Peg is right -- burning and ashes are fertilizer to them. Mow or use goats -- goats love the new growth, though if you let it get too tall, the mature canes will stymie even them.

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, April 18, 2000.

This is a funny topic to me because we recently left Wash. state were the Blackberies were as you describe. But I was always lucky to have them down in a field somewhere they didn't hurt any thing. One of our favorite things was to picking (thorns and all). Blackberries are my favorite things second to strawberries!

The funny part is here in N.D. they are NOWHERE to seen! Some folks have never even heard of them or reaaly know what they are.

The even funnier part is ... I miss them!!!

-- Novina West (, April 18, 2000.

Novina,I will send you mine! I am still smarting from hacking back those @&*$* things! I have New Zealand fencing, which is great, but not so great when they get grounded out by blackberries climbing on them. Plus, you know how interesting fleeces are when "combed" by the thorns. I love blackberries in cobbler and pie...just about anything except fleeces!! Today I hate the holes the thorns put in my hands, too.

Solutions: Roundup or Goats. But goats...that's a whole other management issue! At least goats are organic. Oh and my personal favorite solution: Swinging a machete at the bushes all day while flies pester me as I sweat. Sheesh...

-- sheepish (, April 18, 2000.

I also live in the northwest and although I love blackberry cobblers, I hate blackberry vines! Goats or Roundup! Only way to go. I prefer goats, but can't have one. I would even rent one, if I could. If you stake out a goat, (make sure it is with in sight or check it often) in the blackberries it will love you forever. The only goat I've ever had loved blackberries more than anything. Good luck annette

-- annette (, April 18, 2000.


Goats,,, they eat those Blackberry vines down and they Never come back!! All natural and they fertilize as they go. :O) Jacob sheep will also eat the Blackberry Vines down,, but unike goats they will Leave your trees alone.

-- Bergere (, April 18, 2000.

Yea Blake I just keep then mowed too. But I keep one patch left alone because I have to pick thru the summer for vanilla ice cream. Bergere are you new to the forum? Don't think I've seen that name. Is that a French or German name?.....Kirk

-- Kirk Davis (, April 18, 2000.

Blackberries are a common problem around here too. They're rooted in sand so they're easy to pull up somewhat but you never get them all. Seems to me I remember a similar thread a while back that suggested starting with goats and following up with pigs which will root up the roots and leave the area clean.

-- john leake (, April 18, 2000.

Hi I live in northwest Florida,lots of black berries,mow them down cover with cardboard boxes soak the cardboard with water,cover the card board with old straw or hay soak that down with water and sow ryegrass. Keep watering until the ryegrass sprouts. Good luck, Daryll

-- Daryll (, April 18, 2000.

14 years on 13 acres of National Forest, trees and berry vines, goats, goats and more goats, and we have less trees and same amount of blackberry vines! Improving the pasture and mowing will get rid of them, but you have to mow often. Start with mowing this year, then rye grass for the winter, till it in if you can afford it in the spring and mow all next year. Blackberries are looking kinda beautiful aren't they Blake? :) Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh (, April 19, 2000.

Goats are good, roundup is fare but "CROSSBOW" is the real blackberry killer. Another way to manage them is by digging them out with a backhoe and then go back with Crossbow to get those shoots that are persistant. I ram and jam at them with the loader on my tractor in the winter when the ground is soft or spary them with a mixture of crossbow and diesel fuel. I have had a small dozer come in with brush teeh on the blade and push them out. In fact, I spend a good deal of time fighting Blackberries and Scotch Broom, we use chain saws, brush saws, loppers, tractors and fire & chemicals, there is hardly time to do any farming. I would like to run goats but I don't want them eating the other trees & plants. Good luck, I see a post about blackberries about once a month on some forum. Keep in mind that roundup will kill grass and weeds but is not as good on woody plants but, Crossbow kills woody plants as blackberries thornapple etc. but not grasses.

-- Hendo (OR) (, April 19, 2000.

I think I heard a rumor that Highland cattle also eat brush. They even have the reputation for being able to wipe out rosebushes. No personal experience on that yet, but I'm working on getting some.

-- Connie (, April 19, 2000.

Connie, now rosebushes my goats can kill! They especially like the ones in the yard that I lovingly tend! :) Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh (, April 19, 2000.

Years ago a woman hired a tree service to spray 2 miles of roadside without telling the tree service owner that the entire 2 miles didn't belong to her. She neglected to get the permission of a neighbor (our friends) to spray and when the spraying became evident the neighbor investigated. Not only had the woman sprayed this time, she had had my friends' land sprayed repeatedly, even in winter when it did no good. They found that Crossbow isn't cleared for grazing or taking of hay for one year after application and had a few other surprises. Because they didn't own much land and it was bounded by the road on two sides, they lost the use of over half their pasture due to drift of the product. They also learned that no herbicides are tested for anything but lethal dose, nothing about carcinogenic or mutagenic effects. These people raised dairy goats too that grazed this pasture. They had to buy hay to get through the summer plus extra hay for the next winter as they had been able to take 80- 100 bales from the pasture in addition to grazing it. The dead vegetation on the roadside was an eyesore as well as fire hazard. They sued the tree service although they wanted to sue the neighbor who had hired him and eventually settled out of court for costs of the hay, removing the dead vegetation, and replacement of some ornamental and food-producing plants in the yard. During the time they lived on the acreage, they lost 2 goats to adrenal gland cancer, a horse to liver cancer and a dog, also to cancer but I don't remember what type. All the animals were born on the property or were very young when they moved to the place. The whole thing took over a year to resolve with great frustration and heartache. The last animal died 3 years after the spraying. If you really feel it's necessary to use Crossbow or any similar chemical, do so with the utmost thought and care.

-- marilyn (, April 19, 2000.

In my post, I wrote down Crossbow, and then deleted it, b/c I think it's pretty nasty stuff, personally. When we first moved here, my husband sprayed it on the blackberries, and I freaked when I heard about it. That was 6 years ago. I don't care that it's supposed to be ok after a year, or whatever...I am sceptical about some of these claims from the chemical companies. I think they have as much ethical responsibility to us as do the tobacco companies. Anyway, we don't use the scarier chemicals (99% of any of them) around here at all, now that my husband and I have an *understanding*! I won't use Roundup or weed killer, etc., b/c it will go down hill, end up in the ditch, and then off to a salmon stream, and then my favorite fish will have to deal with it. Not fair.

Did you know that b/c of our carelessness with these toxins, that we have legislation that won't permit us to build in certain places, and building permits, land prices, etc. are getting extreme??? Also that hydroelectric dams are being considered for demolition in order to allow salmon to survive? If you don't think the individual's impact (in this case, unfortunately, pollution) has an impact, think again....

-- sheepish (, April 19, 2000.

For the original problem, one word: PIGGIES! They are the only thing, aside from nasty stuff, that will eliminate bamboo. Blackberries should be a walk in the park. Get some "Australian Sheep Fencing" to keep them where you want 'em until they have bulldozed the ground. Goodbye roots, goodbye blackberries, goodbye all plants. Of course, you have to keep them on a smaller patch than if you wanted them to pasture, but if this doesn't work you need nuclear waste! GL!

-- Brad (, April 23, 2000.

Re: the post about using white vinegar in place of Round-up -- I wonder if it would help at all with blackberries?

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, April 23, 2000.

WOW...many thanks to all who responded to our blackberry eradication problem!!! As much as I hate to admit wife suggested both goats and borrowing a couple of pigs from a neighbor to work on the roots. We wanted an organic solution...and since we have goats already...I think we are all set and will do the mow....goat....pig approach. I guess I was looking for some higher tech solution...and as is often the case ...I should have listened to my wife!!THANKS AGAIN TO ALL THE FOLKS WHO REPLIED AND TRIED TO HELP....Blake

-- blake stretton (, April 25, 2000.

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