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Killing Blackberry when pulling isn't an option

Posted by kristimama SF East Bay Zn 9 (My Page) on
Sat, May 3, 08 at 20:52

Hi all,
I am wondering if there's anything OK to use, or at least not horrendously awful, to kill blackberry bushes? I know pulling is the best option, but pulling isn't really an option for us because of the slope and the way the ivy has grown into the other landscaping.

Basically, we have a hillside (a downslope, directly below my lawn and veggie garden) that is a tangle full of creeping rose bushes, ivy, juniper, and some scotch broom. It's a tangled mess but it looks wild and mature and it's not high on our list of improvements. And it provides a nice privacy hedge. I don't even mind the ivy, because it tends to stay out of the lawn.

But in the last 2 years, the blackberry vines have ingratiated themselves amidst that hillside and now they're climbing up and over and under and right into my lawn and garden.

They must go! LOL

The other shrubbery is so dense, and the hill so steep, that we can't really get in there and pull out the roots. I thought I read somewhere that there's something you can apply with a paintbrush just to the blackberry bush to wipe it out.

I should also mention that I'm 100% behind organics, but I am not growing organically for anything other than my own personal use. So I don't have to worry about any certification or legal definitions of "organic." I'm just wanting to grow safe, healthy home grown food.

Any suggestions?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Killing Blackberry when pulling isn't an option

Somewhere in old litetrature I read about, and then tried with moderate success, spraying weed leaves with saturated ferrous (iron) sulfate, which is sold as a powder in garden stores as iron fertilizer under the name "copperas." The fertilizer grade is pretty crude so I pour in hot water and let it sit overnight for the insoluble (nozzle clogging) material to settle and then pour the clear but highly stained (and staining) liquid into the sprayer. Just use the sludge as fertilizer. I use a gallon milk jug to mix in and easily pour from. Spray the leaves. It may take several times as the roots will sprout. You are adding iron to the soil too as rain eventually washes the leaves.

RE: Killing Blackberry when pulling isn't an option

If you cannot pull the roots out then you need to starve them so your only real option here would be to keep the above ground part of the plant cut so the leaves that would have cannot feed the roots. Any spray that you use would kill off any plant the spray contacts since they are not very selective in application, and I've not seen any yet that are acceptable to an organic gardener.

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