Ask a Question forum: To burn or not to burn

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Mt. Enterprise, Texas (Zone 8b)
horseshadow00
Feb 13, 2018 11:20 AM CST
Greetings All,

This my first post on this forum and I am curious to know something. My family and I purchased a house on 17 acres in in East Texas and last spring I burned off some of the pasture and fence rows. My now 5 year old son and I discovered that we have just a HUGE black berry patch on the side of a hill to the west of our house, and on the fence line to the east of our place. We did not burn off the fence line where the berries were. The small 2 acres part of this hill has stumps still here and there, but it is covered in wild black berries. We picked probably 2 five gallons buckets of them between our several pickings last spring. Bad thing is there were SOOOO many more we couldn't get picked because of time and work. The pasture is a costal hay meadow that has been neglected so we are working on getting it back in production; furthermore while protecting our berries!!!

Since we do not want to loose this little "black berry mine" we discovered and I am contemplating on burning it off again. Last year because we burnt so late it did not really get up around the black berries because it was still some patches of green and we did not have a real winter to speak of. Well this year it has been different, we have had the coldest winter that I can remember since I was a young teenager.

So, I would like to hear some discussion on this. If I was to burn it off would that cause the 2nd year canes to not produce and start all over, or would the returning of the pot ash make for a better patch? I know it would certainly make for clearer picking. ;-)

Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Feb 13, 2018 1:32 PM CST
You will have to decide if the possible loss of one year's crop is going to give better crops in the future, therefore; worth the possible loss.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Feb 13, 2018 1:52 PM CST
Some pics would probably help.

You really went into to many details, so, I'm a little confused ?
If I'm understanding your question correctly. Shrug!
Are weeds in or around berries, that's my question ?

I'm thinking, you could, disc, or rotto-till around berries.
Or you could get a, ( I can't think of proper name ) propane torch weed burner, thingy, it has long handle, with a trigger on it. There fairly cheep at, Harbor Freight.
One tenth of a second blast, will cook smaller weeds, larger weeds, you may have to hit a second time, after weeds cool off some.

*** IMPORTANT *** Have water handy !!! In case fire starts.

The idea is to cook the weed, not start them on fire.
After weed cools off. Squeeze weed between fingers. If you can see your fingerprint on weed. It's Cooked ! Dead ! 👍

Personally ! What I would do !
And, right now, is the perfect time 👍.
Find a good spot for a berry garden. Prep it. Cut some healthy canes, about 12 inches long. Bury them two thirds deep. Keep em watered. They will root and grow. Then !!!!
Ohh, yes baby 😀 ! Clean berry patch, next year 👍👍👍.
😎😎😎









Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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sallyg
Feb 13, 2018 8:51 PM CST
Blackberries get so thick, and there is a cycle as you seem to already know, produce on second year, I don't remember the details, but you can check that. I think there would be a lot of older canes that do not produce and you probably would do well to burn some at least.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Feb 13, 2018 8:59 PM CST
The biggest problem with blackberry thickets is that you can only pick the outside of the thicket. So if your thicket is 1/2 acre, there are a LOT of berries not being picked (and a lot of spots for rattlesnakes and other critters I don't want to encounter to hide out). Burning the thicket will not kill it but it may (MAY) slow it down a little. You may want to rethink this thicket and maybe figure out out to tame it down instead of burning it down.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
Feb 14, 2018 8:13 AM CST
I wonder if you are asking about using fire to deal with the dead canes from previous years...
If that is your question... Then, you are right to be concerned about this years crop. Fire would certainly damage the potential fruiting canes.

Suggest waiting until after picking fruit, then... Burn away, or... Do like I do... Use a powerful string trimmer with .105 diameter line, or bigger if you can find it... I've never found larger...

Ashes may help with more berries, but in my experience, rain and sunshine is most important... The berries on the Oregon coast are the best I ever saw!
Mt. Enterprise, Texas (Zone 8b)
horseshadow00
Feb 14, 2018 10:32 AM CST
Thanks everyone for your replies.

Stone you are correct that my question was about the "old canes".

Since I have a fence row to northeast I believe I'll burn it, then leave the patch on the hill....until after harvest.

As for the snakes, I will say that in all my years I have been fortune to not run into a snake.....however, few weeks after I killed a 30 in cotton mouth in my back yard.

I'll post some pictures once I can get them taken.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Feb 14, 2018 11:13 AM CST
Do your berry bushes seem to harbor chiggers? Ours certainly do. I would be inclined to shred paths through the berry patch to make picking easier - perhaps the heavy duty string trimmer would do the job.
Porkpal
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Feb 14, 2018 12:31 PM CST
You can buy a head for weed whackers, that have 2 chains with blades on ends. Nasty looking things, you have to be extremely careful with. They work wonders.
Be just what the doctor ordered, for them berry canes, and tuff weeds.
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Mt. Enterprise, Texas (Zone 8b)
horseshadow00
Feb 14, 2018 12:49 PM CST
No, didn't have any problems with chiggers. I have an echo PAST 265 with the saw blade attachment and the weed cutter blade....THEY ARE AWESOME.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Feb 14, 2018 2:02 PM CST
Your set, Buddy 👍
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Mt. Enterprise, Texas (Zone 8b)
horseshadow00
Feb 17, 2018 1:56 PM CST
Last year when my son and I juices a bunch of them we retained the seeds..got about 3/4 quart bag of seeds. I placed them in freezer and will be letting them thaw out and looking at planting them....I'll keep ya'll posted.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
Image
sallyg
Feb 18, 2018 8:13 AM CST
We're (I'm) all for you experimenting- but I wouldn't bother with seeds from something that readily roots off the stems, and you have access to roots can be dug up and moved Shrug!
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)

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