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What do blackberries tell us?

 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Everybody knows dandelions mean compaction, and legumes mean nitrogen deficiency. But what do blackberry brambles mean? They don't seem the progress out. Is there a simple way to disfavor them? Changing pH or adding a mineral to favor something else. They will overtake pastures here and few animals will venture in.
 
Meryt Helmer
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Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
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I know they like acidic soil but I don't know of making the soil more neutral or alkaline will make them that unhappy. very good question. I have wild blackberry brambles all over the place.
 
Rhys Firth
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Blackberries tell you it is time to make jam.

Either that or it is time to bring in a few goats.


In my experience, even liming heavily doesn't discourage them once established and flourishing, but it does minimize the establishment of new bushes.
 
Meryt Helmer
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Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
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mine are native and in the forest they just wander along the forest floor but almost never go up high enough to make fruit. they are the one reason I need gloves. once I plant an area with my own stuff the blackberries are no longer an issue in that part of my garden.
 
Burra Maluca
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They tell you that the land is trying to convert to forest, and that you aren't feeding the pigs there.

Plus they are telling you 'Please don't get the pigs to dig us out. Here - have some of the most amazing berries you ever tasted!'

You need plenty of volunteers to pick them for you though...

 
R Scott
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Goats nip the buds and berries and somewhat slow the spread, but they don't control the brambles. Pigs don't help, either, unless you lock them in and make them really unhappy. Having pigs has too many other downsides here, not doing that again even if it means I have to do the pig's work.
 
Michael Cox
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Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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You can increase the yield of berries and do a reasonable job of controlling their growth by passing through a couple of times per season with a pair of secateurs and gloves.

The long rapidly growing tendrils will bear fruit on their tips in the following year. If you top these back to about 2ft long before they grow too large then the fruit will be at a nice manageable height and the overall patch won't grow to wild. If you don't top them then those tendrils will eventually touch the ground and root (spreading the patch by 6ft or more per year!) which stops them fruiting on that tip.

 
Patrick Mann
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
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spreading the patch by 6ft or more per year!

Ha ha ha ... here in Seattle the Himalayan blackberries grow up to 30 ft in a season. We do enjoy a bounty of berries though.
 
R Scott
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And when you can start measuring the patches in acres, you have a problem bigger than hand pruning.
 
Dale Hodgins
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These things can be difficult to quantify, if you have to remove plants that become invasive.

In Victoria, I advertise mowing of an acre of Himalaya black berries on difficult terrain, for $1500. Total eradication of English Ivy will cost you $50,000 for an acre that is completely engulfed.
 
Michael Cox
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Wow Dale - how does one even go about eradicating ivy? I've never tried to kill it with any determination, but it seems pretty tough. Start with goats to reduce the mass?
 
Joan Fassler
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Blackberries tell you the soil is very acid, moist but, well drained. Not compacted. Moss usually accompanies the black berries in shadier areas.
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Joan Fassler wrote:Blackberries tell you the soil is very acid, moist but, well drained. Not compacted. Moss usually accompanies the black berries in shadier areas.


Thank you.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Eradication of English Ivy in an urban environment usually doesn't include grazing animals.

I cut it and gather everything up to the thickness of a pencil. A potato fork or cultivator is dragged through the soil from every angle. Roots are gathered. Wait a month, do it again.
Wait a month, do it again.
Wait a month, do it again.
Wait a month, do it again. ...

Don't plant ivy.

 
Pia Jensen
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blackberries love regular water sources

they can be great for cutting out (tunneling) interior protective spaces for critters and secret garden plants (Rick Austin) that tolerate similar conditions and lots of water and filtered/low light conditions (like in shade bordering sandy banks near rivers)
 
Dawn Hoff
Posts: 379
Location: AndalucĂ­a, Spain
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Here in southern Spain they always live near a Spring, along with oleander. So if I see them growing I know there is water. I like them a lot better than Oleander. How about planting trees to shade them out?
 
Eric Hammond
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Location: SW Missouri
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Here is Missouri,blackberries and other thorny plants are an edge species. They try to close off light so that forest can emerge and spread. You hardly find them in thick woods unless the light is breaking the canopy. Eliminate or reduce edge to control them. I've often wondered if planting a thornless variety would fill the niche of the thorny plants and cause them not to germinate...?
 
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