The Q&A Archives: How do I get rid of my Blackberries

Question: Please help me. I recently purchase a home on hill on 2 and half acres. We have over 7 spots on the property that have Blackberries that are over 10 ft high. The sections are about 30x30ft of land that is infested. I need to find the easiest way to get rid of these things. I don?t mind rolling up my sleeves but I have overgrown fruit trees, Ivy and other plants that need to be addressed too. I know I have to dig up the roots to get them permanently gone but what are the best tools and chemicals to use to kill them down so I can remove them. Also if I do use a chemical remover, how long would I need to wait till I can get goats and have them graze on the leftover or new Blackberries without poisoning them?

Answer: Blackberries can be difficult to eradicate because they will sprout from the roots, however far away they've managed to travel. The good news is that you can kill them off with some persistence. First, if you mow them down and then mow them down at 2-3 week intervals all summer, the roots will eventually run out of stored energy and the plants will die. The important thing to remember is that every leaf a shoot produces will photosynthesize and provide new energy to the roots. So, mow them and keep them mowed and you'll eventually gain the upper hand. You can use chemical vegetation killers, to kill the plants off if you'd rather, but these products may need repeated applications (read and follow the label directions). Finally, if you plan on getting goats, you can forego the above and allow the goats to feed on the blackberry plants. Believe it or not, a goat can wipe out an acre of brambles in a single season! I've simply teathered a goat within range of the blackberries and it happily ate the leaves and tender stems all day and half the night. Trampling the old canes down didn't hurt, either. I didn't plan to reclaim the area and plant other things, I just wanted the brambles gone. If you decide to plant in the area once the blackberries are gone you'll do yourself a favor if you dig out all the old roots. So, the bottom line is - get your goats and they'll take care of the blackberries. Best wishes with your new home!

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