OK, so vinegar and bleach kill thistles. Great. What kills blackberries?

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In particular, Himalaya Blackberries--you know, those non-native rascals. All my friends say "roundup" or "crossbow". But I want a kinder, friendlier method.

I've pulled them up, cut them off, chewed them out, and they come right on back, laughing like crazy.


-- jumpoff joe (jumpoff@ecoweb.net), April 15, 2001



Goats will kill anything, and eat the ground bare.

Of course, that means the goats get a bit hungry, and blackberry canes can be hard on anything, including goats, and particularly including udders - wethers are better for this. If you can slash the blackberry to the ground, then keep cutting or having it eaten back, it will eventually run out of reserves and die of exhaustion. Nothing which hasn't evolved to live life as a lawn can stand being treated as a lawn forever - that isn't limited to blackberries either.

-- Don Armstrong (darmst@yahoo.com.au), April 15, 2001.

A two step method. First, bush hog. Next, cement patio.

-- Cindy in Ky (solidrockranch@hotmail.com), April 15, 2001.

My experience is it takes three years to kill blackberry roots without using a herbicide. You can limit it by putting some in a spray bottle, cut down the canes and then spray the stumps individually.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), April 15, 2001.

Joe, I never used an herbiside in my life until I moved to Oregon and came face to face with these Blackberries! I have bush hogged, cut and chopped them. On my upper pasture, there was a terrific stand, 30' across, after mowing & cutting down to the ground, burning and then this winter ripping at the root system with a field cultivator, 16" deep, they are still coming on strong. I use CrossBow in non critical areas, pasture and fence lines. Yesterday i was out looking at the b-berry situation, we cleared the old irrigation ditch this past winter with brush saws, cut the canes to the ground, they are all leafed out, I might try using the propane torch on them but things are pretty dry over here and there is enough Scotch Broom in the county fence that could catch a fire. another large patch that we used crossbow on last year has come back real strong and I pushed at it with the tractor & loader, I also scraped out some with the tractor beside one of our ponds. We spend a greater part of each winter cutting blackberries and scotch broom, we seem to be gaining on it but mostly where we use the Crossbow. By the way we are selling the ranch on Coyote Creek and will probably move back to Jackson county, we are looking down around Foots Creek. now

-- Howard C. Williams (redgate@echoweb.net), April 15, 2001.

I agree with Don, the goats will take care of the blackberry vines...but they wont eat the ground bare. In my experience, I've found that sheep are better at that!!

-- Marcia (HrMr@webtv.net), April 15, 2001.

Thanks, everyone!

I've only got scattered patches at the moment, but don't want to get into the condition that Howard describes, which I see happening more and more around here. So I guess I'll just build concrete patios over each patch, until all 43 acres are covered. :(

I guess what I've learned from you nice folks is that I'd better be more diligent on getting rid of what I've got, rather than waiting till it gets even worse.

Howard, best wishes on selling your place, and I hope you like Foots Creek. I have been up there a couple of times, and it looked real nice!


Maybe I'll try a mixture of Four Monks wine vinegar and Chlorox...

-- jumpoff joe (jumpoff@ecoweb.net), April 16, 2001.

I would like to thank everybody for their advice, too. I will pass it on to my Mom... The patio idea only works if they don't pour in 'seams'... We know. I was going to suggest a nuclear bomb, myself, teehee!!

-- Sue Diederich (willow666@rocketmail.com), April 16, 2001.

Don't mix clorox with anything! Hope you were joking. People have died from the chlorine gas when trying this to clean their toilets.

-- Cora-Vee Caswell (coravee@locl.net), April 16, 2001.

You think you have problems JOJ, we have here the wild rose stuff that was planted by farmers as a "living hedge" and now runs rampant in everyones woods and fence rows. I mean it eats you up and every where you get a little scratch it inflames and swells up. Roundup only kills it for a season and then it comes right back. Any suggestions???

-- diane (gardiacaprines@yahoo.com), April 16, 2001.

I agree with goats! Our 100 x 50 patch of blackberries is gone b/c of our two Nubian wethers....it's been a year. Get old goats, though....ones that will probably only last a year. Otherwise, you'll be paying for hay soon.... :-)

-- sheepish (the_original_sheepish@hotmail.com), April 16, 2001.

Cora vee, what I said was really dumb, and I should know better! I just wasn't thiinking. I do know about chlorox mixed with ammonia (ex wife barely survived pouring bleach right into a diaper pail because of the "natural" ammonia from the diapers that was in it). For you youngsters, a diaper pail is what us old timers used to use to put dirty diapers into until they went to the wash) :)


-- jumpoff joe (jumpoff@ecoweb.net), April 17, 2001.

Alot of stubbon, hard to get rid of plants that come back by their roots can be eliminated by cutting them down a few times during the growing season.If the plants aren't able to make food to store in the roots they will eventually die.I have Kudzu on my property and was told I wasn't goin to get rid of it.I took a machete and trimmed it to the ground about four times during the growing season, and made sure it didn't get to flower.Weeds and wild grasses are now where the Kudzu use to be.I left some areas with it,because it's great food for chickens and goats.I just trim it for them with a machete and make sure, before it's flowering time to let it grow new shoots so it can flower well.The spot that I cleared was 2 years ago and it's still gone from there.Black berries might have a simular weakness,every plants has.I have a few patches of black berries but nevr thought of getting rid of them.Now that I hear they are hard to get rid of and people are resorting to chemicals,I will experiment on removing a few small patches without chemicals and post the results on the CS forum in the future.Caution; a razor sharp machete can be dagerous .

-- SM Steve (A12goat@cs.com), April 18, 2001.

W.WA is the blackberry capitol of the world! Many a car has disapeared never to be seen again. I have a Toyota Tercel that is parked out there somewhere in the blackberry void. Nuclear detonation or some nasty Triox by the gallon will slow it down. Or just live with it and make the best pies and jam there is.:)

-- Kent in WA (kent@premier1.net), April 18, 2001.

Even if you get rid of the blackberries, birds will happily deposit seeds as they fly over so you will be blessed with more and they'll grow all over again. They NEVER go away for good without vigilance. Of course, you could just enjoy the fruit, and let nature take it's course..... Or not. I understand about not wanting to use herbicides, but I have heard that round-up, used properly, has no lasting effect beyond killing the plant. I was very hesitant, but with so many blackberries, creeping raspberries, thistles, and nettles, we do use it. good luck!

-- z in washington (beebedz@juno.com), April 20, 2001.

I've found that a sure-fire way to kill any native species that I wish to get rid of is to try to cultivate it. It will immediately start acting like the finickiest tea rose, turn black and rot. Seriously, I have killed small patches of blackberries by cutting down all the canes, covering the area with several layers of old newspaper, then covering with about 2 feet of freshly dirtied bedding. If any plants come up through, I just repeat the process in those spots. I've cleared out some nasty spots that way. It does take awhile though. I did one spot late last summer and I'll probably have to pull a few plants and re-cover those spots this spring.

-- Sheryl Adams (radams@sacoriver.net), April 21, 2001.

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