Blackberry season

It’s time to attack blackberries.
Blackberries are a major problem in the Muckleford area but they can be easily controlled with good planning and a little persistence.
Many of the infested areas are along secondary roadside reserves and fences. These are the responsibility of landholders. Other areas of concentration occur along drainage lines and creeks.
Now until mid-late March is the optimum time to have blackberries sprayed.
Leaving them now will only add to the difficulty (and expense) of removing them in the future.
Landcare can only assist materially if your action is part of a holistic, funded project, usually involving revegetation.

Here are the facts and some advice. Please read it and think seriously about taking action.

European Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus agg.) is a Weed of National Significance (WoNS) in Australia because of the magnitude of its negative environmental impacts and its cost to landholders. Originating in Europe, North America and Asia and first introduced to Australia in the 1830s, Blackberry species have now become naturalised and infest land from south eastern Queensland to southern Tasmania.
It grows vigorously; is prickly and able to propagate vegetatively from cane tips; effectively spreads seed through fruit-eating birds and mammals; and is relatively unpalatable to most livestock. The plant can also quickly smother other vegetation under a dense canopy. Once established, blackberry causes major problems including reduced primary production, degradation of natural environments, restricted access to land and water, harbour for vermin and can be a fire hazard.
Blackberry is able to reproduce and spread both by seed and from the cane tips. It has a perennial root system that is capable of producing new canes (and then new plants) year after year and can produce root suckers from a depth of at least 45 centimetres. Regrowth of blackberry post-control is a common occurrence as it takes time to effectively kill or remove the root and crown. Follow-up treatments are essential.
Year 1.
Have your blackberries sprayed by a qualified contractor. They will appear to have been destroyed, but because of its tough root system and other features outlined above, blackberries will need follow-up attention in order to be eradicated.
At this stage it is recommended that you prepare a revegetation plan. You should include planting that will fulfill the same ecological function that the blackberries have provided. High density is best practice. The landcare group is happy to provide guidance.
Year 2.
The blackberries will need to be re-sprayed. This will usually be approximately 10% -20% of the cost of the initial treatment. It will ensure that no further growth begins to emerge from the roots and remaining tips.
Year 3.
It should now be possible to deal with spot regrowth yourself with a pump-up spray. The landcare group will be happy to assist you at this stage with advice and we hope, some equipment. You will need to use a good woody-weed herbicide. Garlon is expensive but fast. Brush-off is cheaper but slower.
Blackberry debris can be burnt to clear them from the site and facilitate revegetation. It is not recommended that burning take place in under 18 months after treatment because the herbicide will still be working its way through the system. Once again, the landcare group is happy to assist with advice.
The treated blackberries can be mechanically mulched with a groomer attached to an excavator or bobcat after 12-18 months.
Matt McEachran (bushtech 0427 297 270).
Pat Mansbridge (Bush Co 0427239563)
David Griffiths, Whole farm planning, landscape function analysis (Geometree 0418591267)
Jason Williams. (0408 373 289).
Further advice can be found at the Weeds of National Significance website….
The case studies in this manual are worth a read.
Persistence wins the day.


One thought on “Blackberry season

  1. carolbarker2014 February 5, 2015 / 1:06 pm

    Dear Paul, Thank you for the blog on blackberries. I have been battling some small outcrops over the last 4 to 5 years with mixed success, but am slowly getting on top. I also am into the third year of a revegetation programme, initially sponsored by Connecting Country. I am wondering if landcare would be able to help with some spraying to help me with my eradication? Being surrounded by state forest I fear that this is going to require ongoing vigilance. Regards, Carol

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