Overrun by blackberries

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by cc-rider, Sep 22, 2004.

  1. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

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    I planted three or so by the house this past spring and now I can't even get NEAR the house! I don't really want to pull them and destroy them. Can I cut them WAY back so that I can dig them out and transplant them someplace else? Maybe along the street so the neighbor kids will quit cutting through my yard and stealing sweetcorn????

    I'm in zone 5. Very cool at night, 70's during the day.
     
  2. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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    :) Blackberries make a wonderful barricade/fence. But you must control them! They have so many ways to spread that you must be aware of all of them.

    Your extension service can help you there. I prune severly and watch carefully for any branches that want to arch down and touch the ground. Don't let them! They will take root and away they go.


    You might check the archives as there was a good discussion on this a short time ago.

    Good luck...LQ
     

  3. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I prune my blackberries every year somewhere between knee high and shoulder high.

    My Grandfather had a blackberry hedge along the property line. Worked like a charm. Of course, he go NO blackberries on the street side, but we can't have everything.

    As for the suckers that WILL come up, I mow them with the lawn. I pierced both front tires on the riding lawn mower doing this, but it was worth it. The folks at the tire repair place fixed both tires so the thorns can no longer make them go flat.

    Just DON'T go for several months without mowing that section, or you will have a jungle. Or, so I found out after a wet, muddy year when there was standing water.
     
  4. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    You PLANTED blackberries? I couldn't get rid of the things around here if I tried. I let the goats and sheep gorge themselves on the brambles and I still have plenty for my own use.

    Blackberries spread by underground runners, arching canes will root wherever they touch the ground, and birds will spread the seeds all over creation. Keeping them under control means constantly cutting them back and not letting the underground runners get out of hand. Be aware when you're digging the plants up to move them that any roots you leave behind will sprout and become healthy happy new blackberries.
     
  5. deberosa

    deberosa SW Virginia Gourd Farmer!

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    I agree with Jen H! I spent a good part of last year clearing blackberries and I am still fighting the remains of them. Cutting them back won't hurt a thing. Digging, constant mowing or poison are about the only thing to kill blackberries. I consider myself somewhat of an expert at that after clearing two properties of them now!
     
  6. westbrook

    westbrook In Remembrance

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    you all don't know how lucky you are! I want berries so badly and they are so hard to get started here. They don't like the desert but the gophers love them! They cost $3.95 for two bare roots.

    *Sigh* you don't know how lucky you are.
     
  7. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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    what kind of blackberries. I have hymalayan, they are wicked! They make VERY tasty large berries though.
     
  8. limhyl

    limhyl Well-Known Member

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    Two phrases come to mind "familiarity breeds contempt" and "you always want what you can't have" I too come from the land of the blackberry and even though I curse them they sure make good pie and jam. Yummm! Theresa.
     
  9. deberosa

    deberosa SW Virginia Gourd Farmer!

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    They completely obliterated three sides of my barn when I moved in. About a half acre of them. Big Hymilayas and the native ones that grow in clumps. The vines climbed 30 feet into the trees. When I finally fought my way through them (about two months after moving in) I discovered a pig barn and a chicken coop on the property! Then in the fields are the kinds that creep along the ground and trip you when you walk! Looks like I could have retired if I would have sold the roots. :eek:
     
  10. westbrook

    westbrook In Remembrance

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    Perhaps some of you that have them and trim them can sell them down in the Barter area? This way you aren't exactly throwing them away when you trim them back. Do you have a nursery that might buy rooted stock?

    Oh to have a half acre of them!!! pie and jam and juice and wine!! oh the wine!!!

    I am still trying to outfox the gophers. Each year I buy two root stocks and each year they outsmart me...but one day I am gonna succeed! Hum... how fast can 60 head of goats eat down a half acre? <smile>
     
  11. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    We would like to trade some of the cuttings for seeds of vegetables, herbs or flowers. Ours that we ordered bareroot in spring died.
     
  12. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

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    I can see there are two factions here.... those who can't get rid of them, and those who want them! :)

    I, too, bought them, and luckily they grew well. Too well. I put 3 cuttings of the thornless variety in the back against the house (first "DUH"), and planted a 1/2 dozen regular thorny kinds (WalMart, probably) in front of them (second "DUH"). My intentions were to transplant the thorny ones when they got a bit bigger because they were just sticks at the time.

    Summer came (and went) and they grew!!!!! I can't even GET to the thornless ones, but every once in awhile I see a cane sticking out of the jungle that is thornless. Those things have LOOOOOOONG canes... I mean 10' or more!!!

    I now have a wild mass of thorns that is about 20' X 10' or so, maybe more. Didn't get a single berry, though.

    I assume they will produce next year, but if I cut them back so I can move them, does that set them back ANOTHER year??

    Westbrook... are the gophers eating the roots or the plants? I've read where some people plant bulbs, etc., in chicken wire "cages" so that critters don't eat them. Would that work for berries? Line the hole with chicken wire and extend it about a foot above ground??
     
  13. limhyl

    limhyl Well-Known Member

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    The Himalean type is the one that grows so rampantly in the Pacific Northwest and I don't know that it would do well in other areas. It was an introduced species in the 1950's and has been a huge ecological disaster in that area. It's basicly the 'kudzu' of the PNW because apparently it loves the climate there and the winters are not cold enought to do it serious damage. I would always check before planting something as aggresive as this on your property. Theresa.
     
  14. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Oh, what I would do for more blackberries. I just dream of all the homemade blackberry brandy that I could make! This year we had only enough berries for 4 liters. When this photo was taken (2 years ago) we bottle over 30 liters of blackberry brandy.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. westbrook

    westbrook In Remembrance

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    cc-rider,

    The chicken wire doesn't last long in this acidic soil. I get maybe a year and it rusts through. *sigh* I even planted them in 5 gallon plastic containers and those dat burn gophers ate a hole in the bottom! they get the roots. You know daffodils are supposed to be posionous? ha! they ate over 500 of them! took them 2 years but every single one is now gone. Yes I did the Wal-Mart ones and they are so expensive.


    Cabin-fever,

    what is the difference in making wine vs. brandy? is there a site you can refer me to? if now, can you tell me where you hide out those two bottles? <sweet innocent grin>
     
  16. jassytoo

    jassytoo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm with the other Wa folks! Its a constant battle around here to keep them under control. With the aid of a bulldozer we have cleared our acres but we still have to clear the boundry fence at regular intervals. DS had 5 acres of solid blackberries when he bought his place, you couldn't even get onto that field. He cleared it with a dozer and then put pigs in to dig up the roots. Took awhile but it worked. cc, I'd be very careful about spreading them around your property, they seem to grow for you like they do here. Blackberries in the right enviroment can become a major problem really quickly.
     
  17. FolioMark

    FolioMark In Remembrance

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    OHHHHHHHHHH send me some of those blackberries....I love them and I havent nary a one on my place in missouri. And I want some of that Blackberry Brandy too......Cabin sure does look like he is enjoying that fine Brandy. :haha: ;)
     
  18. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking of planting blueberries and raspberries here in new england next spring. Do raspberries get out of control too? We eat so many berries and they are horribly expensive around here especially if you want organic. I know if I grow them they will be and alot cheaper

    brural
     
  19. BobBoyce

    BobBoyce Well-Known Member

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    When I bought my property it was mostly woodland with very little ground cover. I made a deal with some loggers to clear cut an area for me to put my house/livestock areas and they could keep all of the proceeds from the timber in exchange for putting in a driveway. My god was that a mistake! Once the trees were cleared, the blackberry vines exploded forth from every nook and cranny of exposed earth! I have been battling them for years. I love eating the berries, but those thorny vines were constantly encroaching on any space they are cleared from, and little plants are constantly sprouting from the roots that creap underground. I finally found a solution for part of my yard. Chickens... they love to eat the tender little sprouts, and any vines that try to invade their territory through the fence! I tried letting chickens free range outside of the fence but the predators picked them off rather quickly. I just need a bigger fenced in area and a lot more chickens ;-)

    Bob
     
  20. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

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    Someone beat me to it, but Himalyas are definitely the kudzu of the PNW. They eat acreage for sustenance. Leveling them then putting in pigs is about the only way. If you are going to use Roundup on them, you have to have leaves to paint. Then you are left with acres of dead brown tangles of THORNY sticks. You don't dare turn your back on these babies. I wouldn't send one to anyone I liked.

    On the other hand, there is a native blackberry that is absolutely delicious. There is a restaurant in Marblemount that sells blackberry pie by the ton!

    For the rest of us--there are a number of cultivars that are civilized. You grow them on specially designed trellises and prune them a/c directions, and they produce some excellent berries. There are some great books on growing berries. One is by a woman named Stella Otto (I hope that's right) that gives you everything you want to know. The catalog from Raintree Nursery in WA has a great selection with knowledgeable staff to help.

    Sandi