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yesterday I decided to hike around the property a bit since I hadn't been to the back part for a few weeks. previously i saw a sea of thorns. some were just beginnning to bloom. some with white flowers and some with pink. I thought they were all some kind of rose......nope....the white ones are....BLACKBERRIES! at least I dont' know what else they could be. they have very obvious tiny multi sectioned berries forming from the white flowers! yeah!!! I was hoping to at least find a good stand of blackberries somewhere on the property. now I realize we have been brush hogging them down and I have what amounts to acres of blackberries! (amongst multi flora rose and briars  ) I will however be taming them down a bit and many will still meet an end under the hog but I'm hoping to find a spot that is somewhat purely blackberries and leave it to harvest. I plan to move some to a more cultivated spot eventually also. one where I don't pick 50 ticks off me on the journey to pick them. none (that I have found yet) actually got a bite on me but the place is competely infested with ticks and both my husband and I quite literally picked and squished around 50 ticks each. its infested also....because of the thorns and the protection they offer from natural predators....rodents.
 
steward
Posts: 25176
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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Pic?

Around here there is a variety of blackberry that grows exceptionally well with no need for irrigation or fertilizer.  It grows so well, that for a lot of folks, if you want to grow anything else, you first need to hack out a lot of blackberries!

 
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Aarrrrghhh! Ticks...Oklahoma's state...pestilence!!! 

Excellent news about the blackberries though. Yummy!
 
Leah Sattler
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grrr. found one in my belly button last nite.  evil evil little buggers. I still can't shake the eebie jeebie feeling from sunday and that didnt' help. my dh had a really hard time getting it out with us all laughing hysterically my daughter thought it was great.....like she was a doctor doing surgery (she got to hold the flashlight). 

it may not be very permie. but I think ticks have no useful purpose on the planet and if I could kill each and every one of them without hurting anthing else I would 

I obviously won't be able to discern a variety on the blackberries but viewing the almost 24 acres that is infested with them and the rose I don't think I will having any trouble growing them!  I will try to get some pics between storms today. I have standing water on hills! enough already!
 
Leah Sattler
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where we have been brush hogging to try and make it so that we can get to the pond easily

the "sea of thorns and ticks" still leading into the semi-wooded brushy area

what must be blackberries!!!
 
Posts: 125
Location: Westport, CA Zone 8-9; Off grid on 20 acres of redwood forest and floodplain with a seasonal creek.
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In the spirit of permaculture: How about raising Turkeys, pheasants or guinea fowl? All are tick eaters, Turkeys being the highest consumer. Or if that is a problem (money or time) see if you have either wild turkeys or pheasants locally and do what you can to encourage them to your property. Sometimes just providing slightly better habitat than anywhere else nearby will do it. There is already food available obviously, so I'd look at roosting and nesting areas as well as a source of water if possible.

Jeff
 
Leah Sattler
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I had never heard of the turkeys and ticks. I have had a plan in my head for several years for raising turkeys on a smallish scale. guinea I have done and won't do again until I have a barn a looooong ways from the house. they are incredibly obnoxious adn loud. yes they make good alarms when anything is out of the ordinary happens. that means when you check on things at an abnormal time. and when one of the goats is having a baby. or you are unloading feed.....etc.....

I'm sure there are wild turkey in the general area because there are deer and they like alot of the same habitat. but I don't think with all the thorns they would be able to get very far on my property. and once we eliminate alot of the thorns and subsequent brush that foster the ticks, the problem will hopefully be somewhat suppressed.
 
paul wheaton
steward
Posts: 25176
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Look at all that greenery!

What a vibrant patch!

Brush hog and not "hog"? 

 
Leah Sattler
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it sure is green! I love it but I wish more of the greenery didn't have clothes tearing, leg cutting thorns it is truly inpenetrable in many spots. we will definitley leave some as is. It is great cover and food for little birds as well as forage for goats and of course I want to be able to pick gobs of blackberries! but we want to be able to enjoy our pond and go for walks so some of it is coming down and we will allow whatever grasses are there to get a bit of an advantage.
 
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
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We had a blackberry patch bigger than our house that was impenetrable to everything except for the goats.    They love them, make paths through them and break down the old dead canes and get purple lips from the left over berries.  I'm assuming you only have does Leah?  Wouldn't want to get an udder torn on a thorn.  Do you keep any wethers?
 
Leah Sattler
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mostly does. and some bucks and a few whethers that will be freezer material around 60-80 lbs. I think my boers does will be fine out there but will be much more cautious with the lamanchas and their large udders. my previous milker got a nasty cut on her teat one year and I don't want that again.
 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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Leah, that is such a beautiful site..I agree about the goats browsing on them should help..but dont' let them get eaten up by the ticks either..need to get some tick eatin birds out there..deer carry the ticks that have Lyme disease and it is no fun...wonder if there is an organic spray for the ticks? check it out online?

I'm glad you found the blackberries, and if they are blooming you'll have berries for sure..i just pulled the dead canes out of mine today..should have done it last fall but didn't..had some rabbit damage to some of my new canes too..so wasn't happy about that..wil be caging the new canes this fall for sure.

maybe you can find a nice clump and clean out the dead and then mow a path around it over and over and over with the brush hog and then a low cut on the lawnmower to cut it way down..that might kill off the ones that are spreading out..and give you better access to the ones you want to pick..also would protect the ones you want to save from the goats..maybe the goats would eat from the outside in..and not get all cut up?

sure would be nutritious food for them..and free.

wonder if the reason that there are so many ticks there might be a bear hangout? any signs? bear here love blackberry patches.

I have my blackberries now where the bear will leave them alone..between two houses..but the new ones i put in are out farther ..and they'll likely draw the blackbear.

 
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
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Here is an interesting article on organic tick control from ATTRA:
http://attra.ncat.org/calendar/question.php/2005/10/31/p1302

The small-predator angle is not one I had seen mentioned before.
 
Leah Sattler
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I hadn't thought of the rodent issue mentioned in the article. maybe that is the wild host. we have deer but not in large numbers by any means. bear is reportedly in the area but they are rare enough that when someone sees one it makes the news except for the very very rural mountain areas.

sound like there is presently little available in the way of organic tick control.  ops:
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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Maybe that is why we have NO deer ticks in our area..we have lots of wild turkey, and other birds.. I have never seen a tick here since the 70's
 
Leah Sattler
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lucky you! it is almost bizarre how many ticks there are in the brushy areas. I found a tick on the teat of one of my poor goats! ouch! been there. it  is irritating. I think the biggest problem is it is almost all brush with little mature tree growth. every bit of the dense vegetation is a perfect spring board for ticks.
 
pollinator
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Location: France
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What is 'brush hogging' please?
 
Leah Sattler
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a 'brush hog' is a mower attachment for a tractor. but it is designed to be able to mow down heavy brush and small trees and rough areas, unlike a finish mower that is designed to just cut grass neatly.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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our brush hog is a powerful mower that is used behind our tractor..it will take down brush and small trees as well as lawn or weeds.
 
Posts: 161
Location: E Washington steppe
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I've also read that guinea fowl eat ticks and will help keep them in check:

http://www.guineafowl.com/fritsfarm/guineas/ticks/

Gotta get me some of those ...
 
                              
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Leah

Oh you lucky woman! All those beautiful berries!

On the wild roses... try to transplant bare root stock onto your fencelines. I'm not sure, so check first, but I think fall is the best time for that.  Wild roses are climbers, and once the fence is covered, the thorns help to keep the deer out. Also, you'll get another free crop--rose hips.

Leigh
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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hummm roses keeping deer out? I don't think so..i have so many roses..and the deer are eating right in and among them..and rabbits love roses...too.

so i want to know....have you been getting lots of berries?
 
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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If not turkeys, see what you can do to encourage western fence lizards.  Their blood kills lyme disease in tick stomachs. 

http://www.hastingsreserve.org/OakStory/LeapingLizards2.html
 
steward
Posts: 2524
Location: FL
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Move them to the house into a prepared bed, you'll get bigger berries without getting clawed going through the brambles.

For the ticks, guinea fowl.  Add a couple of donkeys to protect the fowl if you have coyetes in the area.  The donkeys will eat a lot of that brush.

For you, duct tape your pant legs to your boots to help keep the ticks out.

Setting out some aromatic herbs can help with driving off the ticks around the house.  Rosemary, fennel, tansy, and pennyroyal can help but won't solve the problem.

Lime may help change the pH of the soil, reducing their numbers.  I have no sources to reference, but it has worked on fleas in my yard-they are long gone.
 
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