blackberry and other weeds

August 27, 2016

going bush

Blackberry !

When we saw the property in May there were some sizeable areas of blackberry.

When we settled the property in August the blackberry had doubled, at least. There has been so much rain the landscape is an iridescent green, which is unusual in Australia.

Blackberry loves wet. It’s a shame that it’s been allowed to take hold. The previous owners liked making blackberry jam, but blackberry is classified as a noxious weed and you can be fined for having it on your property.

Our tallest patch of blackberry. The boy standing in front of it is 138cms tall.

Our tallest patch of blackberry. The boy standing in front of it is 138cms tall.

We now have acres of blackberry brambles. And it is wicked. This stuff was built for survival.

The tendrils grab hold of your clothing. The thorns stick into your skin which take weeks to recover. Wherever the tendrils touch the ground they take root. The roots run under the ground for metres. And it grows and grows and grows.

We are running ourselves ragged trying to remove the blackberry before it fruits in November, because every berry contains up to 80 seeds. We haven’t worked so hard for years, so we are getting a good workout. Whilst we are working we have the opportunity to get to know the place a bit better.

Stopping work to take a look at the view across the bottom paddock.

Stopping work to take a look at the view across the bottom paddock.

A lone kangaroo came up to see what was going on. He was a young male, and it’s unusual for kangaroos to be on their own. As it is almost Spring, maybe he was kicked out of his mob? We also watched the resident eagle riding the thermals and looking for some tucker. The soil on the property is lovely with lots of big, fat worms.

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Above: The first patch of blackberry we attacked with the brushcutter.

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Above: And so it goes, on and on.

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Everybody, it seems, has a theory on how to get rid of blackberry.  From all of the primary industry documents we have read, you just keep at it until it gives up. Goats eat it, and we would love to have some goats, but we can’t justify having livestock unattended as we are not on the property full-time. My husband wants to poison some of it but I am not impressed with this option. The blackberry is closest to the dams and watercourses on the property and there are many frogs and possibly yabbies. I don’t want three-headed frogs. So, he is using a brushcutter to cut it down to the ground, whilst I grub the smaller outbreaks with a hoe. When we buy a tractor, we will slash the new growth. We have also just purchased a flame weeder, and it is an experiment. We know, it is going to take years to get it under control.

The spring-fed dam surrounded by blackberry

The spring-fed dam surrounded by blackberry

Apart from blackberry, we have a bit of scotch thistle, pattersons curse, and African boxthorn. On the whole, apart from the blackberry, the place isn’t too weedy.

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Above: Anyone know what this weed is? It has spikes.

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Above: How about this one? No spikes.

 

Related articles

http://rachel-the-gardener.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/bramble-removal-how-to-do-it.html

https://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/invasive/weeds/publications/guidelines/wons/pubs/r-fruticosus.pdf

Brambles Gone Wild: How to Remove Blackberries

 

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