Soil disturbance and blackberry elimination

Asked July 12, 2020, 10:12 PM EDT

I have some very robust and old blackberry plants in a small copse. I can crawl under the branches of the trees and find the blackberries which shoot directly skyward. Apart from the blackberries the land is pristine with native plants.

What is the best way to eliminate the blackberries?

1. Cut the stems and repeat, over the next few years.
2. Cut the stems and dig out the HUGE root balls - I am concerned about disturbing the soil here and awakening non-native seeds.
3. Cut the stems and use 'stump & vine' to kill the blackberry. This is a natural area with many native trees/shrubs - I do not want to affect the root systems of nearby trees/shrubs.

Benton County Oregon

3 Responses

Hello. All of the above. I deal with this very issue in my landscape and vegetable/fruit garden. Birds deposit the blackberry seeds everywhere. When I finally see the blackberries growing up through my shrubs I do just as you suggest. I crawl under them and whack off the stems and then I paint the stubs with an herbicide that is labeled for use on blackberry. The one I use comes with a brush attached to the inside of the lid and is easy to get to where you need to use it without spillage. Then I repeat and repeat and repeat on the new shoots coming up. Depending on the size of the blackberry root it can take several years to eliminate the regrowth. I have also had to repeat treatment in the same year on particularly robust plants. By painting the stump when it is freshly cut, the chemical will be taken into the targeted plant (root) and have no/minimal impact to the surrounding plants. I have had no ill effects on my property of surrounding plants. Be careful not to spill the contents of the jar on the soil. I do not use herbicide in my food growing area and instead pull/dig out the blackberries. Since the area is visited by me more often, the blackberry shoots are considerably younger and have not yet developed the large underground roots that feed a continuous supply of new shoots. The younger you can catch these them the easier to get rid of them. Blackberries can develop an exceptionally large root when they are left to their own devices making them much harder to eliminate and shoots can come up feet away from the main root area. Persistence is key here; from your note I think that you have figured that out.

Thank you. Good to know.

Hope that you have good luck with those blackberries.