Blackberries-how to kill without ugly chemicals : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I've been pulling these things up by the roots for a couple of years, and they keep returning, stronger than ever. They are "himalaya" blackberries. I just cut tthem all off at ground level with lopping shears, and wonder if there's anything I can put on the "stumps"?

thanks for any help!


-- jumpoff joe (, July 25, 2001


When you cut em off leave a couple of inches and stick it in a heavy guage baggie with some table salt and tie it tight around the root with a twist tie or plastic cable lock tie. A dissicant pack can also be used. It will dry the root and kill it. I did this with kudzu and scrub ceders. After a summer, remove the dead root and salt as not to contaminate the surrounding soil

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (, July 25, 2001.

Hey, Joe -- whasamatta, don't you like free fruit??? But, seriously, how about a couple of goats? They'll kill the plants back to the roots, and produce milk or meat in the process!

-- Anita Evangelista (, July 25, 2001.

I don't think you could do any better than a flock of goats or a herd of pigs for eliminating blackberries. They'll completely eliminate them if they're fenced in with the bothersome plants.

Failing that, I've eliminated them by mowing my trouble spots weekly without fail. Eventually they get crowed out by other plants like grasses that can grow at a three or four inch height.

Last, I'd try Roundup on the fresh new green growth. I've seen it work but it often takes repeated applications and it works best on new growth. Old canes seems to shrug it off.


-- Live Oak (, July 25, 2001.

Thanks folks. All reasonable suggestions, I'd say. I'm avoiding roundup, until all else fails.

The salt idea has a lot of appeal, but there are scores, if not hundreds of stalks to contend with.

Goats can't be tethered there, unfortunately; I do plan to ask a neighbor who has a bunch of goats (oops, showing my ignorance; make that a "herd") if he's like some free food for the goats; I've got forty three acres, of which maybe fifteen could use some goatly attention for fire control purposes.

Any of you goat owners think that 's a reasonable thing to do? He's got a lot of pasture, but it sure appears to be bone dry, and I've got dozens of species of herbs, brush, poison oak, forbs, etc. which I'd love to get cleared. As long as the goats don't start stripping my trees, that is.

So, in conclusion, now that I've gone off on suffiicient tangents, I'll begin by following a modified version of Live Oak's suggestion of mowing the blackberries weekly. I can't use a mower where they are, but I can return weekly (and weakly) with the lopping shears.

Live Oak, do you think they have to get crowded out, or will they die from lack of chlorophyll "eventually"? And, in your opinion, what does "eventually" mean? Would this happen in my lifetime? :)


-- jumpoff joe (, July 25, 2001.


Doing it with lopping shears may be a hard road to travel.

When I did it I used a lawn mower and cut them off fairly close to the ground weekly and eventually they lost the struggle with the grass. Took a bit less than two years. If a lawn mower won't work then a string trimmer might could be made to work.

I wouldn't use the salt idea unless you want nothing at all to grow there. Most of the more desirable pasture, garden, and field crop species are not very salt tolerant.


-- Live Oak (, July 25, 2001.

In the trails that we weed-wack every few weeks they eventually gave up and died out. I think it was more like three years for us, but then we didn't do it maybe as often as we should have to really "starve" them out.

-- diane (, July 25, 2001.

I've got a really heavy duty weed eater, but these things are so tough that they use up the line really fast. Unfortunately.

Since I've decided to get off my butt and attack these things before they've totally taken over, I think I may be able to keep after them with the lopping shears. We'll see. Thanks, y'all.


-- jumpoff joe (, July 25, 2001.

JOJ, while I agree that goats are the ultimate in automation, many of those weed-whackers or whatever you call them, particularly the heavy- duty ones, can be fitted with a "brush-cutter" head. That is effectively a circular saw, and you can really wade through brush, scrub, bamboo, vines, etc. with it. Anyway, you keep treating something (anything) that hasn't evolved to form a sod as if it was lawn, and it will eventually use up its reserves keeping on trying to make new growth, get exhausted, and die.

-- Don Armstrong (, July 26, 2001.

This is just a hypothesis, not a proven approach. Consult with your county agriculture agent for their input first. Intentially use the forces of nature. Do some research as to blights and fungus that can kill the vines and introduce an infection of this to the area. Also research on how to control and eradicate the infection when the vines are history before doing it so as to control future occurances of the infection.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (, July 26, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ