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When these wild and unmanageable bushes have taken over your garden, you will want to eliminate them. So, how to kill blackberry bushes?
There are different ways to kill blackberry bushes quickly, including:
- Mechanically (without chemicals)
- Plant a Perennial Plant, Including Grass in The Area
- Biological control
- Chemically (with chemicals)
- Best Herbicide For Eradicating Blackberry Bushes
Read on and find out everything you need to know to efficiently and successfully kill blackberry bushes quickly.
How To Kill Blackberry Bushes Quickly
Killing overgrown blackberry bushes can be challenging because they have millions of seeds in their fruit and various means of propagation. And additionally, they possess underground nodes that grow into tiny plants and stems that touch down and take root.
Therefore, to successfully kill blackberry bushes, be persistent and try different techniques in combination. According to Oregon State University Extension, it can take years to exterminate large blackberry bushes because many of their seeds survive in the soil even after the plants are gone.
In addition, blackberry bushes can also be challenging to kill because of their tremendous and effective potential to disperse. Birds and animals disperse the berries and, therefore, seeds over long distances, allowing blackberries to reinvade an area, according to Oregon State University Extension.
Here are the best techniques to kill blackberry bushes quickly.
How to Kill Blackberry Bushes: Mechanical Control
If you are looking for effective ways to kill blackberry bushes, here are my best tips:
Dig around and down the root ball of the bush. As blackberries can propagate through rhizomes, digging up the root ball won’t remove the plant. But, it will make it easy to till the soil. To destroy any new blackberry growth, till the soil regularly. Till the soil whenever you see new plantlets or tilling it once a week will do too.
Digging up or plowing under can kill existing blackberry bushes and create an ideal seedbed for the next generation of plants.
Digging up the root crowns and primary side roots is slow but effective on small infestations. It is most effective with first-year plants and works best after rain or in loose soils where the canes are suppressed.
How To Successfully Dig Blackberry Bushes:
- Cover your hands with gloves and cut down the stems of the plant to the root ball.
- Now bundle the stems in a trap.
- Make sure that you don’t leave behind any bits of the plant on the ground. Because short-stem cutting can make new bushes grow.
To obtain long-term control, burning should be followed by:
- Herbicide treatment of resprouted canes in the fall following burning subsequent burning
- Revegetation with fast-growing or shade-tolerant plants.
Mowing is another way to kill blackberry bushes without chemicals because it removes the leaves so the plant can’t turn sunlight into food.
Mowing is not an effective method for killing blackberry bushes, but it gives a short-term solution encouraging the growth of grasses and broadleaf plants.
How to Kill Blackberry Bushes With Mowing:
- For mowing, you must clip back tall stems at their bases and carefully dispose of the cuttings.
- With the help of a lawnmower, cut the plant to the ground.
- Repeat this process weekly.
- The plant gradually starves without leaves for photosynthesis, while mowing stimulates the formation of suckers and the growth of roots.
The blackberry plants vigorously resprout from rhizomes. Though burning doesn’t provide you with long-term eradication of the blackberry bushes, it provides short-term canopy reduction.
If you decide to use herbicides such as glyphosate, burning or mowing 40 to 60 days after applications will increase control and contribute to good pasture establishment by removing stem debris.
Like mowing, burning is not an effective long-term strategy because blackberry bushes vigorously resprout from rhizomes. But is still burning, giving short-term canopy reduction.
See also: Here’s How Gardening Will Save You Money.
4- Plant a Perennial Plant, Including Grass in The Area
For long-term control, planting perennials, including grass in the area, is better for killing and preventing blackberry bushes because it adds competition with new weed seedlings.
This method benefits from providing competition with new weed seedlings, and your soil surface is no longer disturbed to bring up new seeds.
How to Kill Blackberry Bushes: Biological Control?
Biological control is the intentional introduction of animals, including insects, mammals, or other organisms, adversely affecting the target plant varieties. Biological control is generally most effective when you combine it with other control techniques.
Effective biological techniques to kill blackberry bushes include using goats and chickens:
- Goats may effectively clear or control blackberry re‐growth from a year to four years old.
- Grazing goat must be consistent, or else re‐growth will occur.
- Keep in mind that animals may prefer other forage available; therefore, try to reduce available plants.
- Add a fence to protect any native or other valuable vegetation.
Chickens can also potentially lower the seed bank in blackberry-cleared areas by browsing on the seeds.
How to Kill Blackberry Bushes: Chemical Control
Herbicides are used to kill blackberry bushes chemically. The chemical applications to kill the blackberry bushes demand repetitive treatments.
In general, blackberry plants usually regrow after herbicide application; therefore, repeated treatments might be required for effective long-term control.
Things you might need
You may need the following things when dealing with the chemical control of killing the blackberry bushes.
Now, let’s discuss how to kill blackberry bushes with herbicide. Take a topical herbicide like triclopyr or glyphosate, and apply it to the leaves and stems of the bush. There is a time of year when the plant moves sugars from its leaves to underground storage, so it’s important to spray the bush at that time.
As stated by the University of California, it is crucial to spray the bushes that consist of primarily first-year canes in the late summer. While on the other hand, you should treat the bushes that consist of mostly second-year canes in the fall.
You can apply herbicide on the soil as well. Herbicides such as tebuthiuron are good for treating the soil around the bush. But you need to be very careful while applying it onto the soil, as it’s nonselective and can kill flowers, grass, or other shrubs near the targeted blackberry bush.
Tips On Applying Herbicide to Kill Blackberry Bushes:
- Be careful not to spray herbicides on blackberry plants whose fruit might be consumed.
- Strictly follow application instructions for any herbicide you use. And always refer to the product label for specific directions for use on blackberry.
- Mix herbicides in the concentration suggested by the manufacturer. And remember that stronger concentrations do not kill plants faster.
- Plant a broad-leafed perennial or an aggressive grass to compete with the blackberry bush.
- Blackberry bushes subjected to drought will not transport sugars properly; therefore, topical herbicides might not be effective.
- Keep children and pets off the treated area until the herbicide dries.
- Don’t apply herbicide on a windy day.
- Generally, it is best not to cut down blackberry plants before applying herbicides unless they are too big to reach with spray equipment.
Best Herbicide For Eradicating Blackberry Bushes
Triclopyr ester (0.75 to 1% solution) is the most effective triclopyr on thimbleberry and the other three species of wild blackberries, according to Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
|Herbicide||When to Apply it||Caution|
|Streamline||Apply to actively growing woody blackberry bushes||Even at low rates, streamlining can kill nontarget shrub species and trees, so avoid applying within a range equal to the tree height of the sensitive plants. Also, do not allow the spray to drift off the target.|
|Metsulfuron||Apply to fully leafed-out plants before fall leaf coloration.||Constantly stir while blending the product in water. Consult the product labels since application sites may differ between products.|
|Glyphosate||– Glyphosate can provide good to excellent control of wild blackberries when used in a 0.5 to 1.5% solution.|
– Apply in September through October when canes are actively developing and after berries are formed. And, before fall treatments, you must kill frost first.
– Late summer or early fall treatments provide better control than treatments before or throughout flowering.
|Glyphosate controls well grasses in the treated area. You need to be persistent and may be required re-apply the products several times for complete control, particularly in the fall. Trailing blackberry is more challenging to control.|
|Picloram (Tordon)||Apply in late spring after leaves are fully formed.||– Apply when foliages are thoroughly wet. You will be required to re-apply the product as blackberry plants grow back.|
– Do not contaminate water.
– Plants, such as beans, potatoes, and many other broadleaf crops, are sensitive to picloram.
– Do not use picloram in cropping areas with different plants.
|Triclopyr ester or Triclopyr amine||Apply when blackberry plants are actively growing.||– The timing for control of wild blackberries with triclopyr is earlier than that suggested for glyphosate. Similar to glyphosate, apply triclopyr when foliages are particularly thoroughly wet.|
|Dicamba||Late summer applications will give you good control of wild blackberries||Be persistent because applying dicamba might provide only adequate control and will result in resprouting.|
Now that we’ve discussed how to kill blackberry bushes, you may have some questions, such as whether vinegar kills blackberry bushes or not or whether bleach kills blackberry bushes or not. Read on to find that out.
Will vinegar kill blackberry bushes?
In general, vinegar will kill blackberry bushes, but you need to handle it carefully. We have listed below the steps that you need to take while using vinegar to kill blackberry bushes.
How To Use Vinegar To Kill Blackberry Bushes:
- Put on a breathing mask and garden gloves.
- Take a watering can or a bucket that you think you won’t need to use again.
- Pour the horticulture vinegar onto it.
- Don’t use a spray bottle because there are chances that vinegar will touch other plants if sprayed.
- Pour the vinegar onto the blackberry bush that you want to kill. You may wait for a sunny and warm day to do so because horticulture vinegar works best in warm weather and a clearer sky.
- You need to prevent the vinegar from splashing onto the nearby plants or on you. For this, keep the watering can or bucket just above the foliage of the bush and pour the vinegar slowly.
- It will take one day for the bush’s leaves to turn brownish-black, which indicates the death of your plant.
What Is The Best Blackberry Bush Killer?
Glyphosate and triclopyr are the most used ingredients in many weed-control brands. The weed-control brands such as Eraser, Ortho, and Roundup use glyphosate as an active ingredient for their very effective blackberry killer. You can easily find it at big-box stores or on Amazon (here is a link to purchase it)
Triclopyr, on the other hand, is used as an ingredient in brands as well. According to the University of California, Triclopyr ester (0.75 to 1% solution) is the most efficient triclopyr on thimbleberry and the other three species of wild blackberries.
Will Bleach Kill Blackberry Bushes?
Generally, bleach will effectively kill blackberry bushes because it’s a more handy solution when none of the organic ways for killing the blackberry bushes are working.
How To Use Bleach To Kill Wild Bushes:
- You need to choose a sunny and warm day to kill blackberry bushes with bleach.
- Mow or cut back the long or tall weeds as it’s necessary because bleach can kill the plant if sprayed near the roots.
- Now, rake away what you’ve cut off or mowed. Doing this will ensure that bleach doesn’t only end up on the part of the plant you’ve cut off but also on the part of the plant with roots in the soil.
- Take a hand-held spray bottle and pour the household bleach into it. You may wear a mask and gloves if you want to.
- Now, spray the weeds and cover as many leaves as you can with bleach.
- If you accidentally spray bleach onto the area where you didn’t need to, clean it off with water right away. Because bleach can kill it.
- Don’t walk in the area of these weeds until at least a day has passed. The brownish-black color will indicate their death.
- If you want to plant something in the bleach-sprayed area, wait for a week at least. Because bleach can kill some microbes in the soil.
Blackberry is a deep-rooted perennial that is challenging to control. Additionally, it generally takes many years for blackberry bushes to become noticed as a problem.
Hence, it usually takes more than one herbicide application to eradicate blackberries in any given pasture. Above all, to effectively kill blackberry bushes, you need to be highly persistent and might require using several techniques.