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Something that could out compete blackberries

 
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Hi All

Don't know if it's possible, but would like some ideas on plants that could out compete blackberries and prevent them, or at least reduce them from growing back.

Ive ripped and dug out blackberries as best I could and have tried smothering the ground with thick newspaper and a thick layer of mulch, trouble is this eventually breaks down and then any blackberry canes Ive missed grow prolifically.

I was wondering if there was a plant, or even a combination of plants I could put there, which would if not prevent any missed canes from growing back, then at least retard their growth and reduce their vigour...and not become major problem themselves...

I live in a warm temperate climate, the spot where they are growing is in part shade and is on the fence line.

Look forward to any suggestions!
 
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Location: Rockledge, FL
fish fungi urban
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I can't think of any plant that could outdo it without being as much of a problem in the end (That's just me, someone here might know of one). What I did when me and my mom moved into a house that had this issue in the front yard was to get rid of any leftovers, sift out anything as big as a pinkienail. Then every couple days till for about 2 weeks then let it sit for a week and see if there are any growing. Repeat one more time wether or not there are any growing just in case and then it should be good (repeat if not remember it takes as much persistence as the plant has). Mind you it took forever to find this method and I found out from my grandfather (rest his soul) and it was in 98 so I'm sure there are more practical methods now I just haven't run into this issue since then.
 
Anthony Minot
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Location: Rockledge, FL
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Renee Banks wrote:I live in a warm temperate climate, the spot where they are growing is in part shade and is on the fence line.



How deep is the fence? did the roots come from there?and if so from under or next to it?
 
Renee Banks
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Yes there are some that unfortunately coming from the otherside, from underneath my neighbours fence,  though most are on my side, the ones on his side are my escapees. The fence isnt deep, its a wooden fence tha sits at ground level.
 
pollinator
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Oregano.  I have blackberries that come up anywhere and everywhere EXCEPT in the oregano patch.  Oregano is more well-behaved, it's not going to pop up 20 feet away like a blackberry, but it does spread (slowly).
 
Renee Banks
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Oregano, thats one id like to try, thanks.
 
Anthony Minot
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Location: Rockledge, FL
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John Elliott wrote: I have blackberries that come up anywhere and everywhere EXCEPT in the oregano patch.


Would It do to plant on, or around then inwards for the vicinity of the invasion? A fresh layer of soil with mixed in germinated oregano seeds should do good if they are as effective as that I would think. Then at that point it would be just weeding for BB sprouts. Try to see if your neighbor wouldn't mind planting some on thier fence edge as a just in case. (These are just thoughts on what I would do)
 
John Elliott
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Anthony Minot wrote:
Would It do to plant on, or around then inwards for the vicinity of the invasion? A fresh layer of soil with mixed in germinated oregano seeds should do good if they are as effective as that I would think.



Germinated oregano seeds is not going to cut it.  I should expand on my previous comment by saying that I have oregano patches that are going on 7 years old.  They all started from a couple of 3" pots I got from the markdown rack at the nursery.  It doesn't spread much each year, but it is tenuous.  If you want to get good coverage (it makes an excellent ground cover, even out-competing centipede and bermuda grasses), you need to get some healthy plants in 3" pots and space them maybe every 8-12" and let them fill in.  It takes quite a while, maybe 3-4 months for oregano seed sown in a 3" pot to be ready to set out, so this is one occasion where going to the nursery will cut down on your frustration level.  

Once it is established, you can run over it regularly with the lawn mower, and it will still be spreading and evicting grass plants.  Fortunately, it spreads so slowly that I haven't had to get serious about cutting it back.  And if you do, you can always just dry it and shake it on your pizza.
 
Anthony Minot
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Ok makes sense, great info for future planning.
 
gardener
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Nootka rose can beat out blackberries and is native to the Pacific Northwest.
 
Renee Banks
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Daron Williams wrote:Nootka rose can beat out blackberries and is native to the Pacific Northwest.



Theyre a pretty plant, not sure if I can find them here in Australia but good to know, thanks.
 
pollinator
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I would consider some kind of rank, fast, climbing vine that could run up and over the blackberry thicket and shade and smother it.  A vigorous variety of winter squash, running cowpeas, grapes, velvet beans or some other annual legume might be worth trying.  Replant the annuals every year around the edges, densely, and try to provide them with a competitive advantage in moisture and fertility.  The ultimate player, of course, would be kudzu, but that might be replacing one problem with a worse one!
 
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I planted two or three oregano plants a few years ago on our last property and they in two or three years became a lawn cover over a rather large area. The blackberries were unaffected but they were quite a distance uphill from the oregano. We had bumper crops of blackberries for close to ten years running. The thorn-less cultivars out produced the wild ones at the back edge of the property. My husband was more than willing to pick those from the former but no one really wanted to be stuck with thorns so we generally left the wild ones for the deer and birds.
 
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Last spring I went all around my rental's yard pruning black berries off at the ground.  I repeated once or twice a month.  At the start I was just thinking about reducing the weight of blackberry vines crushing down on the more decorative bushes.  Now most vines are gone, or come in all soft and tender.  It used to be hard work, this year it seems very minimal, it might be possible to eliminate it if I spent another few years doing it.  With selective pruning of only black berry vines all the other bushes seem to have done better.  It even turns out there was ivy and wisteria under the black berries!

One thing I regret is that I planted two mint between my raised beds and the bramble groves.  Now there are a few black berry tendrils coming up in the beds and a lot of mint.  At least it works in smoothies and mojitos and doesn't leave alergic scratches all over my hands.
 
Renee Banks
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Alder Burns wrote:I would consider some kind of rank, fast, climbing vine that could run up and over the blackberry thicket and shade and smother it.  A vigorous variety of winter squash, running cowpeas, grapes, velvet beans or some other annual legume might be worth trying.  Replant the annuals every year around the edges, densely, and try to provide them with a competitive advantage in moisture and fertility.  The ultimate player, of course, would be kudzu, but that might be replacing one problem with a worse one!



I like the idea of legumes.  Im thinking I will try oregano to cover the bulk of it and also an annual legume near the fence line, ill have to try a few and see which one thrives in that spot.  I like the idea of things I can use in the  kitchen.  I may also trial a globe artichoke plant there as well as I know they grow like weeds with zero maintenance in my backyard but Im not sure how theyll do in part shade.

If all else fails i guess i could put canna lillies there, they also thrive in my yard with zero maintenance but I already have them in a patch near the back and dont really want more.  But theyd be better than the blackberries which are unfortunately thriving right near my clothesline and things can get caught on windy days...
 
Renee Banks
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Genevieve Higgs wrote:Last spring I went all around my rental's yard pruning black berries off at the ground.  I repeated once or twice a month.  At the start I was just thinking about reducing the weight of blackberry vines crushing down on the more decorative bushes.  Now most vines are gone, or come in all soft and tender.  It used to be hard work, this year it seems very minimal, it might be possible to eliminate it if I spent another few years doing it.  With selective pruning of only black berry vines all the other bushes seem to have done better.  It even turns out there was ivy and wisteria under the black berries!

One thing I regret is that I planted two mint between my raised beds and the bramble groves.  Now there are a few black berry tendrils coming up in the beds and a lot of mint.  At least it works in smoothies and mojitos and doesn't leave alergic scratches all over my hands.



Its good to know that pruning to the ground works in reducing their vigour.  Some of the blackberry roots are in such awkward spots (under a concrete path, and on the other side of the fence that I cant rip them out completely.
 
pollinator
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actually the only thing I know that can outcompete brambles is ........a goat
 
pollinator
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I have the same problem. At the creek on public land the council sprays. I run over and chase them away. I would like to borrow a goat but then if I tether her I would be afraid that she gets hurt...A brush cutter seams to be too dangerous.
 
Renee Banks
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David Livingston wrote:actually the only thing I know that can outcompete brambles is ........a goat



Lol I wish I could bring a goat into my backyard, it would be in heaven!
 
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I know this solution is a little off topic, but for persistent plant control I have found epdm roof liner or pond liner over a freshly mowed or hacked down area to be highly effective.  Make sure to get as close to the ground as possible and stake down the edges with zinc coated metal stakes.  One year should kill the vast majority of problem plants, two is better if you are patient.

The epdm rubber blocks out sunlight and water, and it bakes in the sun.  Try to keep it from being punctured anywhere other than where your stakes are.

It takes time but the material is designed to be outside and UV stable, requires no pesticides, and is easily reusable.

Word of warning...the stuff is heavy.
 
pollinator
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Welcome to Permies, Jordan.

I like your smothering technique much more than I do the post from a couple of years back that suggests that you need to till the hell out of the patch multiple times, and then again, just in case.

But when I think of times I have used an epdm layer, or even a triple-thick cardboard layer, which is my preference because it is easily colonised by fungi and breaks down into soil, I am reminded of a line from a famous movie that ends, "...It's the only way to be sure."

I think that the next time I have to deal with cane berries, I will probably excavate all around the patch, adding the soil to the cane berry mound in the middle and around the perimeter. I will then fill the trench, which I would hope to make two to three feet deep, with wood chips surrounding larger pieces of wood, like a buried wood doughnut. Some topsoil would be sifted back over the wood and chips, but the idea would be to have an aerated compost extract and fungi-inoculated moat of woody matter surrounding the invasive berries, to both contain them, making it easy to pluck seedlings out of the chip path, and at the same time, help them to thrive through times of drought, and act as a soil life bioreactor.

But mine is a containment strategy, for the continued harvesting of berries, rather than an eradication plan. For containment, I would go with the oregano, and perhaps other interesting mints, both discount pots from the garden centre and germinated seeds, or better yet, oregano-guild seed balls, or just the oregano seeds themselves, moistened and rolled in a mixture of powdered clay and fine sifted compost. I would also look at comfrey.

And I have heard that the ultimate eradicator is a small herd of goats, and the best containment for cane berries is a goat-proof fence to protect what you wish to keep, while the goats eat everything else they can reach.

-CK
 
pollinator
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I am not a fan of salal berries but they definitely compete well with blackberries and like similar conditions, so if you like them, that's something else to try.
 
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