Since the pandemic started over a year ago about the only place where you can really feel free is outdoors. Many people enjoy the spring yard grooming, weeding, lawn mowing and planting. I have never been a yard or garden perfectionist. In fact I really don’t like that kind of work. I do enjoy the work of others though particularly when it comes to berries. I have always enjoyed eating just about any berry that exists. Whether it’s blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, Marion berries, blackberries or many other types of berries. I really enjoy eating them. That is the love side of this relationship.
The hate element sneaks in with the wild blackberries that have overtaken my yard again. Some of the many reasons why they got so out of hand are my changeable physical condition, the weather, and appointments that don’t give me the serious amount of time needed for a cutting session.
Exactly what is a blackberry? Wikipedia defines them as “an edible fruit produced by many species in the Rubus genus in the Rosaceae family, hybrids among these species within the Rubus subgenus, and hybrids between the Rubus and Idaeobatus subgenera.” “Blackberries are perennial plants which typically bear biennial stems (“canes”) from the perennial root system.” The next statement really does describe my situation. “Unmanaged mature plants from a tangle of dense arching stems, the branches rooting from the node tip on many species when they reach the ground.”
The plants do produce flowers in late Spring and early Summer with five white (in my case) or pink petals.
According to the Oregon State University Extension Service though many people (like me) look at all blackberries as an evasive weed “But they are actually thinking of the Himalayan blackberry, which is an invasive weed introduced to Oregon in the late 1800s that is very difficult to kill.”
There are many ways to deal with these thorny growths, but cutting them down seems to be the best option for me. There are too many animals in the neighborhood, including feral cats, for me to use the weed killer Crossbow® or other potent herbicides, and digging them up is way above my abilities, especially since there are so many of them. So, I took my trusty long handled pruning shears and began the difficult but necessary task.
According to the OSU Extension Service there are six varieties of blackberries that she recommends for Oregon gardeners. 1) Columbia Star (Not available in most retail nurseries yet, maybe in a year or two), 2) Black Diamond – a thornless variety, 3) Obsidian – a thorny variety, 4) Marion – also known as the marionberry and also thorny, 5) Boysen – also known as the boysenberry and thorny, and 6) Triple Crown – a thornless variety of blackberry.
There are many ways to deal with these thorny growths, but cutting them down seems to be the best option for me. There are too many animals in my neighborhood both domesticated and wild, including our semi-feral outdoor cat, for me to use the potent weed killer [email protected] and digging them up is way above my abilities, especially since there are so many of them. For those using Crossbow® it is, according to Love To Know Home and Garden’s article by Jenn Greenleaf, “an herbicide that specifically targets woody plants such as blackberry bushes, poison oak, and broad leaf plants.” It does kill invasive species, but does not kill grass. It’s main ingredient is triclopyr which is supposed to be safe for animals like dogs and cats as long as they don’t have direct contact with the sprayed vegetation when it is still wet. Sorry, but I can’t guarantee that all of the small animals will stay away from my yard until the herbicide has thoroughly dried.
I filled my recycle barrel and a spare old barrel of my own with cut up blackberry branches, but I’m afraid the as soon as the barrel has been emptied into the recycle truck I will have it filled up in no time and still have more branches to chop up.
The end result will be what to me is a never-ending struggle to keep the blackberries from overtaking my yard again, but that’s only after I get them all cut down now and recycled.
If you have an idea for a future topic let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can comment below or email me at: [email protected].