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August 27, 2010

Wild Blackberries are the best and worst of companions

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Ever since a fire swept through the forest land around my place, wild blackberries have taken hold in the wet places. There is, like most incidents, an up side and a down side. The up side is, of course, that I can pick a gallon in an hour right near my house. They are one of the most delicious fruits when they are fully ripe so that they fall off into your hand. The taste of one of these sun drenched, warm, and flavorful berries is truely heavenly and would make anyone wish for more. They are much more flavorful than the thornless berries you buy for your garden borders or fence rows and are much beloved by quail, bear, and deer.

Then of course there is the down side. In the right conditions they are invasive and really really hard to control. It doesn't take much to get them started. A small vine noticed one fall became a six foot tall by six foot wide bush with long canes spreading out in every direction ready to make more of itself over winter when the rains start. This particular vine is making berries already and I am enjoying them in the morning with cereal. However, it must go! It is too close to the garden and in an area where I had planned to have a small bench near the artisan well to sit and watch birds and small animals and just to contemplate the loveliness of nature.

Here is my plan of destruction without the use of herbicide. I will pick all the ripe berries and then cut the canes back with a weedeater or pruners. After the debris has been raked up and thrown in the compost or into a place where it will not begin to spread, I take a shovel and dig down into the root area to take the plants beneath the soil. Then I intend to put an old piece of tin roofing over the root area to keep light out and to keep the canes from breaking through to daylight. The area will have to be watched for canes attempting to grow out from underneath the tin and clipped off. A seasonal cycle should do it and then I can plant some grass and wildflowers to attrack birds and butterflys.

If you prefer your blackberries to be thornless, the Black Satin Berries are hardy and prolific bearers.

At Black Satin Blackberry One Gallon Triple Staked

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Posted by Marilyn Renaker at August 27, 2010 7:50 AM
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