All Things Gardening forum: Steep hillside with brambles--ideas

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Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
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Jai_Ganesha
Feb 22, 2018 11:33 AM CST
I was visiting a friend recently and she asked me what I thought she should do with the hillside on her property.

It was raining extremely hard and I could not take a picture, so I sketched it.

The hill is pretty steep, and she is older so she can't get up and down it, but it is covered in sharp, prickly, brambles.

Thumb of 2018-02-22/Jai_Ganesha/657a06

She said she would hire somebody to cut down all of the brambles, and wanted to plant something over them. I told her the brambles would just come back.

Then she mentioned morning glories, and asked if they would grow up the hillside and up the brambles the same way they do a trellis.

I told her I would ask here just to get feedback and ideas. In this sketch, the door on the house is facing due south. The hill itself faces south and wraps around to also face east. Zone 6a.

The brambles are spread very widely so I personally question how easy it would be to even cut them, much less entirely eradicate them.

Keep going!
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Feb 22, 2018 11:47 AM CST
I would get in touch with her local native plant society and/or conservation agency to see if they have any suggestions. They may even have funding to remove the brambles and restore native vegetation (worth a call).

Absent that, I agree that eradicating brambles will be a challenge. If she can get hold of some goats and stake them among the brambles, they will eventually eat them to the ground. We've had good luck with that method.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
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Jai_Ganesha
Feb 22, 2018 12:14 PM CST
Thank you. There is no native plant society or even an extension agent because of budget cuts. I will look into native plants though. That's a good idea.

I'm 99% sure that goats aren't allowed in that area because chickens aren't either and it's been a controversy for a few years.
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Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
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Bonehead
Feb 22, 2018 12:28 PM CST
I never understand the thing against chickens - I suppose with poor management they can be smelly but mostly they just cluck around and lay eggs. Glad I live in a rural area where even roosters are tolerated.

Likely folks will chime in with all sorts of poison ideas, I'd sure avoid any of those personally, but that's me.

The other option is to embrace the brambles - they provide good cover for small mammals/reptiles, food for birds/mammals/humans, and don't get too tall. They also crowd out other weeds. Granted they are not native, but some battles are just not worth the effort. If they are of the deciduous variety, they turn a gorgeous red in the fall. Just a thought.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
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Jai_Ganesha
Feb 22, 2018 12:37 PM CST
Bonehead said:and don't get too tall.


Hmm...maybe we call "brambles" different things because these are probably 7 feet tall or more. It's hard to gauge because they're on a steep but some of the curved branches are definitely taller than me (just under 6 feet).
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Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
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Bonehead
Feb 22, 2018 12:45 PM CST
I guess 'tall' is a subjective term. Seven feet to me doesn't particularly interfere with a view (if she has one) especially on the downside of a hill. My brambles are himalayan blackberries. Not sure what you are dealing with on the east coast.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Christie
43016 (Zone 6b)
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cwhitt
Feb 22, 2018 1:11 PM CST
I was going to suggest black berries or raspberries. She might try to see if she could get a temporary permit for the goats though. Otherwise, she might need to spray the area to kill the brambles - I would not spray though if it is going to rain in the next few days because of the runoff - she might hire a lawn company or nursery to do that.
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Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
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Jai_Ganesha
Feb 22, 2018 1:13 PM CST
Just curious, would regular roundup kill woody shrubs like that?

I think I am probably going to help physically somewhat whatever she decides.
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Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
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Bonehead
Feb 22, 2018 1:21 PM CST
My approach would be to hire someone with a brush-hog to mow the brambles down, although it would likely take several passes over time to really get them gone. And depending on how steep the slope is, that may not be feasible.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Container Gardener Region: West Virginia Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias
Gardens in Buckets Annuals Houseplants Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Jai_Ganesha
Feb 22, 2018 1:23 PM CST
Never mind. :-P
Keep going!
[Last edited by Jai_Ganesha - Feb 22, 2018 1:23 PM (+)]
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Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
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Bonehead
Feb 22, 2018 1:24 PM CST
Excuse me...out.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Christie
43016 (Zone 6b)
Plays in the water.
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cwhitt
Feb 22, 2018 3:05 PM CST
I should think roundup would work - you could test it on some of the brambles and see if they die or not. I will say this - I had a huge amount of peppermint growing that took forever to get rid of. Spraying would kill it, but then some of it would come back. But it was in a flat area, so I ended up covering it all up with newspaper and spreading leaves over the paper, and that finally worked. So, you could try the roundup and see what happens, but I would keep an eye on the area for a couple of years to see if some of it comes back. Since it is a hill, maybe consult your local nursery - they might have a granular weed killer that might work on it and perhaps a granular would be easier to apply?
Plant Dreams. Pull Weeds. Grow A Happy Life.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Feb 22, 2018 3:16 PM CST
You would need a vegetation killer designed for brush.
Regular is a waste of time.

What type of plant do you call brambles?
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
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Jai_Ganesha
Feb 22, 2018 3:33 PM CST
It's the genus Rubus but I don't know what species it is. I don't think she does, either.
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Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
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lauriebasler
Feb 22, 2018 3:39 PM CST
There are brush killer products. They may leave the area in a state it cannot grow anything for a time. So, it's important to have in mind what she wants to do if and when they brambles are gone.

Brambles don;t grow in our dense grassy areas here. I wonder if a nice wild grass would be a solution in just keeping the brambles down but not requiring any work. Grasses left to grow can be quite tall and lovely with their tall seed stems moving with the breeze

I think this situation is one of the most labor intensive and relentless chores we can be faced with, so good luck.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Feb 22, 2018 4:11 PM CST
Brambles growing on a slope that the lady doesn't even visit... doesn't sound like a bad thing.

At my house, I cut down brambles with a string trimmer... If they are too much for the string trimmer, I use a chain saw.
kept mowed, they eventually slow down. Personally, I find that leaving the briars lay on top of the ground and lighting a fire on a still day does some good... although after the fire, everything shows renewed vigour.

If the lady wants to plant morning glories to climb the briars, that should be fine... might even slow them down... shade seems to be the one thing that blackberries respect. so... maybe she could plant a nice patch of climbing beans... down here... My climbing lima beans killed an oak!

So... did you make the move?
Property in West Virginia?
Tell us about it...
Post a blog or something!
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Container Gardener Region: West Virginia Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias
Gardens in Buckets Annuals Houseplants Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Jai_Ganesha
Feb 22, 2018 6:25 PM CST
Well, she herself doesn't climb the hill but her grandkids do. That was why we were first talking about it. My original idea was honestly just to put a fence up. But she knows me as somebody who does a lot of gardening.

I have moved, but not for the final time. It's a long story dealing with wonky work timelines but that is the nature of the beast.
Keep going!
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Feb 22, 2018 8:50 PM CST
Jai_Ganesha said:It's the genus Rubus but I don't know what species it is. I don't think she does, either.


What berries does it produce?
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Feb 22, 2018 9:29 PM CST
Good solutions Stone!
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Container Gardener Region: West Virginia Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias
Gardens in Buckets Annuals Houseplants Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Jai_Ganesha
Feb 23, 2018 7:15 AM CST
RpR said:

What berries does it produce?


I don't know. She said they were purple.
Keep going!

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