Clearing out blackberry-zilla?


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Hello all. Now that the weather is breaking, its time for me to start doing some serious yard and garden work. One of the chores I'm not looking forward to is clearing out a massive blackberry patch. Its about 10 yards long and tall. Normally I'd just cut it back and/or leave it alone, but this one is parked right in a spot perfect for another garden location. A picture is below.

Anywho, I am doing some research on the best way to remove this thing, so figured I'd run it past the board to see what y'all thing. Thanks!

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If you are adverse to using nasty, carcinogenic compounds or various chemical cocktails the only thing I know for sure that will work is to solarize the area and from the pic that may be difficult as well because of all the trees.
 
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Indeed, I would like to avoid nasty chemicals, if at all possible. There is a decent amount of tree coverage in the area, but it does get some sunlight though.
 
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Indeed, I would like to avoid nasty chemicals, if at all possible. There is a decent amount of tree coverage in the area, but it does get some sunlight though.
For a good solarization you really do need a lot of direct sunlight and the heat of the summer. I am like you and try not to use anything that isn't 100% organic but sometimes you have to do what you gotta do. There is a product by (I think) Greenlight named Stump and Vine Remover. It comes in a little squeeze bottle and you use it one drop at a time on a fresh cut, in your case on a freshly cut main cane. Get a weed eater or mower and cut as close to the ground as possible. Then rake away all the debris, find the canes coming up from the soil and put a drop on each one. I had to do this on poison ivy and briars. It wasn't fun but it worked
 
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Excellent, thank you for the tip Chuck. I haven't heard of Greenlight before, but I am checking it out now. If its possible for me to do this on my own, rather than hiring someone, and avoid chemicals, that is great.
 
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Excellent, thank you for the tip Chuck. I haven't heard of Greenlight before, but I am checking it out now. If its possible for me to do this on my own, rather than hiring someone, and avoid chemicals, that is great.
That product is one of the nasty ones. I don't remember the active ingredient but I know it isn't good. After I was done I burned what was left. Berry vines have a robust root system which makes digging them up quite a chore...........at best. Good Luck
 
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The most natural way to do this would be to cut it down, dig over the area with a wider perimeter than the bush and remove all the roots. Do it as soon as possible. In a couple of months, have a look for any new sprouts and remove them and their roots. Whatever you do, don't use a rototiller or any mechanical device on the soil as you will chop up the roots into small bits and it may be harder to remove them.

It is a lot of manual labour to do this task correctly, but it will work if you are meticulous and it is chemical free and good exercise as well.
 
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Thank you both for the additional details. I'm not afraid of hard work or exercise, so no worries there. Time, as always, is a factor though.
 
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Thank you both for the additional details. I'm not afraid of hard work or exercise, so no worries there. Time, as always, is a factor though.
Looking at the pic and if it is 10 yards you are looking at something that in all reality is a bit much for back muscle and a shovel to use to remove ALL of the roots. You will need either a backhoe or a bobcat to remove the dirt completely and level the place out. Remember that berry vines will grow back from a piece of root Put the dirt somewhere on plastic and solarize it there. Then when the dirt is free of whatever all is in there use the dirt for something else like maybe raised beds. Either that or what I suggested before especially if you want to use it this year.
 
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My husband successfully removed a thriving raspberry patch about that size with only a shovel. The next year we had to remove a few that started to grow, but the third year nothing.
 
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When the ground is soft its the best time to dry and dig something out, even something as gnarly as a blackberry bush. If I was doing it I would cut my way into it until I could get to the point where it could be dug out. Or cut into it and then wrap a chain around it and drag it out of the ground with a tractor or another vehicle.
 
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Thanks all for the notes. The weather report looks like we're in for another six days of rain, so this one will have to wait. For this particular patch, I was indeed thinking raised beds.
 
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When we had to clear our back half lot of blackberries it was lopers and a long handled rake. It actually went fairly quickly, but prickly, sticky work. Then our old beat up lawn mower set on high (we use for shredding garden waste) was used to run over the entire area. Blackberries are actually pretty easy to get rid of because you just have to dig deep enough to get the bulbish top of the root, sometimes using loppers or a sharp shovel. The hardest part was getting everything mowed and flattened. Then you can leisurely start attacking the individual can root tops/bases.

At least this is how we removed our Himalayan blackberries. Still have to pull baby plants every spring because the neighbors have let their blackberries take overo_O
 

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