Have you noticed plump blackberry bushes springing up in random corners of your property recently? Sure, having some wild plants around can be nice - but when it comes to pesky and fast-spreading blackberries, too much of a good thing can quickly become a problem.
While some native species of blackberries can be a welcome addition to a garden or a nice surprise on a hike in the forest, blackberries can also be a menace to other plants, local ecosystems, and your yard. One of the worst blackberry infestations to deal with are Himalayan blackberries. They’re distinguished from native blackberries by their heart-shaped leaves, five points, and serrated edges.
If not addressed early on, the thorns from these aggressive weeds can choke out other nearby vegetation, invade useful pockets of space in your yard, and destroy fences.
So if the brambles have started taking over your backyard in Snohomish, why put off until tomorrow what needs to done today? It's time to get those unwelcome visitors under control – especially before they rob you of more precious outdoor living space!
In this blog post, we'll outline 8 crucial reasons to start removing blackberry bushes in your yard, whether you choose to address them yourself or hire a blackberry removal service. Whatever you go with, the time to fight rapid blackberry growth is now!
1. They can take over an entire yard or garden
Blackberry bushes spread quickly, so if you wait too long to start removing them, it can be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. The canes of Himalayan blackberries can tower up to 10 feet tall and over 20 feet long in just a year—and other non-native invasive blackberry species can spread to double that length!
The longer you wait to fix the issue, the more money and time it will cost to remove them because they’ll have spread further into the surrounding area and become more deeply rooted. They could even spread into your neighbor’s yard. Starting your blackberry removal now means that you’ll save yourself time and money in the future.
2. They grow quickly and can choke out other plants
If left unchecked, blackberries have a vigorous root system that can choke out your other plants. Thickets can grow rapidly in any area with a moderate amount of sun and moisture — forests, along streams or rivers, roadsides, railroad tracks, and yes, even your own backyard.
Their canes can take over fences and cause wood rot that will lead to costly repairs down the line. Removing blackberries now will protect your home from potential damage in the future. The rapid growth rate of these weeds is a big reason why they’re so detrimental and difficult to get under control.
3. The thorns on the stems are very sharp and can easily puncture skin
One of the ways you can identify a blackberry bush is by its thick stem, ranging in color from green to a purplish red. The stems on blackberry shrubs are covered in stiff, hooked prickles. These thorns can snag and puncture skin easily — ouch! They have the potential to be quite dangerous, especially in larger untamed thickets. The more the blackberries spread, the more impassable any area infected by them will be. This poses a danger not just to you and your family, but also to animals like outdoor pets, stray dogs and cats, and wild animals.
4. The berries are sour and not very tasty
Not all blackberries are created equal. Invasive blackberries can be sweet, but they’re not nearly as tasty as native species. When they aren’t ripe, blackberries can be bitter and sour— once they ripen, they can be juicy and sweet. However, waiting for invasive blackberry bushes to turn ripe is asking for trouble, as they will grow to an uncontrollable size in the meantime and each berry contains dozens of seeds.
If you live in the Pacific Northwest, there are many other sweeter, tastier species to grow in your backyard: Pacific blackberries, salmonberries, marionberries, and olallieberries are much tamer alternatives that won’t conquer your yard space.
(Note: Be careful when eating any kind of wild blackberries, native or invasive. Berry bushes on the side of the road or on public or private property are often sprayed with pesticides and unsafe to eat.)
5. They can be a host plant for pests and diseases
Blackberry bushes can be hotspots for diseases and unwelcome pests. Inviting invasive blackberry bushes into your yard is a recipe for disaster — you may not realize you’re not just letting a plant in, but all other kinds of pests too! Japanese beetles, psyllids, stinkbugs, and spotted-wing fruit flies are all bugs that love flocking to blackberry bushes, laying their larvae in the fruit, and tearing up the leaves. These harmful bugs can spread to other plants around your home.
Unwelcome mammals like possums, raccoons, squirrels, and mice will also make a feast out of blackberry bushes, and they might invite themselves into your trash cans, garden, or your home while they’re at it!
6. Untamed bushes make your yard look unkempt and unattractive
Although blackberry bushes can start out looking small, they grow fast. Unruly thickets of thorny blackberry bushes can be an eyesore on any property, especially your home. Hungry pests that eat blackberries also end up littering the ground with unsightly stains and debris. They take up valuable bed space you could be using. They can choke out and dry up existing plants that surround them, turning a lush backyard or lawn into a dried-up husk.
7. Invasive species of blackberries threaten local habitats
The long-term damage these plants can cause is massive. Himalayan blackberries are considered one of the most invasive and harmful non-native shrubs on the Pacific Coast. Invasive shrubs like blackberries are the bullies of the plant world — they displace native wildlife by overtopping and out-competing them for space, water, light, and other nutrients.
Not only does this hurt biodiversity, but it also impacts livestock and animals who need grazing space or rely on other native plants for food. Blackberry bushes that grow along lakes or other bodies of water choke out and prevent native trees and keep them from producing oxygen. Shrubs can also clog up creeks and create flooding issues.
Blackberry plants can cause havoc if left unchecked. The best thing you can do to help save your local environment from invasive blackberry species is to get rid of them as soon as possible. You’ll not only be improving the integrity of your yard, but also doing a good deed for the environment.
8. They're difficult to get rid of once they've taken root
Because blackberries spread so aggressively and have such thick roots, it’s extremely difficult to dig up large, established plants. Worse yet, the roots will often snap off in the group, allowing the plant to regrow. The root balls of plants make these weeds infuriating hardy — they can withstand all kinds of above-ground conditions. Their long, trailing canes can resprout and form new plants wherever the tip touches the ground. Animals that eat the berries, such as birds, can also spread seeds all over and lead to more overgrowth.
How to Remove Blackberry Bushes
There are several different ways to address blackberry bush overgrowth. One way is with chemical pesticides— the chemical glyphosate has proven particularly effective in fighting against blackberry plants. You can find this chemical in many common weed killers available at hardware stores. Make sure you wear long sleeves and gloves if you use this method. The downside to the chemical method is that it’s non-selective, and will kill any surrounding plants that are in the crossfire of the area you spray. Be sure to check with your local jurisdiction as many areas have banned the use of harmful herbicides
The easiest solution is mowing and keeping them down. Unlike grass, which can stay healthy while only a few inches tall, blackberries need to grow over a foot in height to produce enough leaves to take in the sunlight needed to survive. Once you take a giant patch down to ground it is much easier to maintain, many times a regular lawn mower will do. Just like any other plant, if you deprive it of nutrients for long enough it will wither out and die. The key here is to stay on top of it. Once the plant pushes out new leaves it will begin to take in sunlight and recover.
The last solution is physical removal but is the most challenging. Mowing down canes and then digging up the root balls is an effective method to get rid of blackberry infestations. Mowers and brush cutters are used to get rid of canes, while pickaxes and shovels can be used to dig up root crowns found at the base of each cane. Be very careful in doing this as the tips of roots are known to snap off and regrow if left in the ground. Worse yet, one root ball can have five or more roots - each of which can regrow into its own ball. This process is time-consuming and very hard labor for the average gardener or homeowner.
Leave Blackberry Removal to the Professionals
That’s where hiring blackberry bush removal services can come in handy. If you want to effectively eradicate these pests on your property, hiring professionals is the best way to safely remove blackberry bushes.
If you’ve been searching for “blackberry removal near me” or “blackberry removal service near me,” we’re here to help! Tame the Jungle is the blackberry removal service in WA that you’ve been searching for. We offer brush removal, brush mowing, and field mowing, all at transparent prices. You can get a free quote today to find out how we can transform your yard! If you’re dealing with blackberry bushes springing up in your yard, it’s best to act fast, before the issue gets out of hand. Contact us now to see how we can help!