WANTED FOR: TRESPASSING
ON PRIVATE PROPERTY, OVERRUNNING DESIRED PLANTS
Rubus procerns; Rubus discolor
Hangout: Sunny to partly shady areas with wet to moist soil
Physical Features: a few inches to several
feet high; stems are thick, sprawling canes with piercing thorns; leaves
are dark green with notched edges; flowers are small, white blooms that
turn to edible berries
begins in spring, with new growth spreading rapidly, overtaking plants
in the way. New growth can sprout where prickly canes touch the ground.
One square yard can have over 500 canes! The root system is huge, storing
food and sucking up water needed by other plants. Sweet-tasting berries
ripen late in the summer, full of seeds ready to hitchhike in animals'
stomachs to new ground. Birds are often accomplices to these perpetrators,
since seeds that pass through their digestive systems may actually sprout
more easily. In the winter, many leaves die back, but there's no killing
this monster. It can survive on food stored in its roots.
NEW GROWTH CAN SPROUT FROM PIECES OF ROOT OR CANES, SO REMOVE AS MUCH
OF THE PLANT AS POSSIBLE.
Leave the Brambles in Shambles!
1. Patrol the area
- Check out areas where accomplices
like birds hang out.
- Search out defenseless seedlings.
- Make rounds frequently to
nip any problems in the bud.
- Take some notes on what
you see, and especially where you see it so you can remember to return
to invaded areas.
2. Make a positive I.D.
- Other, less intrusive blackberry
bushes can also be found in the Lake Whatcom area.
3. Do a thorough background
- This perpetrator may penetrate
property perniciously, but it can be picky about the place. Himalayan
blackberry shows a preference for wetter areas.
- Seedlings are much more
vulnerable than older plants, so destroying them when they're young
is the key to warding off blackberry intruders.
4. Determine the danger
- Himalayan blackberry is
extremely aggressive. It spreads quickly, crowding out plants in the
- Think about where the offensive
plant is, what other plants are near, how big it already is, and if
you want to contain it, destroy it, or leave it alone.
- Some people like having
a small patch of berries to make jams, pies and syrups. But be careful,
Himalayan blackberry is always ready to conquer new territories.
5. Make a plan
- Do-Nothing Method
-Dealing with an intense criminal like Himalayan blackberry may be overwhelming.
However, not counterattacking such a forceful intruder will guarantee
a continually larger attack each year. Focus on cleaning up a small
area and then keep working outward.
-The larger a blackberry patch gets, the harder it is to get rid of.
So if you're thinking you might want to take steps against this villain
someday, don't procrastinate.
- Manipulative Measures
-Don't hesitate-send in the S.W.A.T. team! Tear seedlings out of the
ground as soon as you see them. Little seedlings are less likely to
bounce back from attacks than bigger and stronger plants.
-Starve the robust root system by continually cutting down above-ground
growth. You can mow large areas, but hoeing is better if the area is
small enough. It may take a few seasons, but eventually the scoundrel
will starve to death.
-Counterattack invasions after blackberry bushes flower, but before
berries are produced. Repeatedly destroying above-ground growth at this
point is key because underground food storage is at a low and new seeds
have yet to be produced.
- Secret Agents
-Lots of critters eat blackberry, but unfortunately even their combined
appetites aren't big enough to control this thorny scoundrel.
- Armed and Dangerous
-If you decide to use chemical weapons, the best method is spot treatment-think
of it as sharp shooting. For example, cut back the above-ground blackberry
bramble as far as possible. Then only apply the herbicide directly to
freshly cut canes.
-Do not use chemicals near blackberries that will be eaten.
Always read and follow the directions for use, storage and disposal
6. Evaluate the results
- Write down in your gardening
records when and where you treated for blackberry. Keep returning to
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