How to Remove Blackberries From an Allotment

How to Remove Blackberries From an Allotment

Blackberry bushes are considered a noxious weed in some areas because of their ability to spread quickly and form dense thickets of thorny canes.

If you have a large thicket of blackberry bushes in your garden, there are several effective ways to remove them. You can dig, cut, burn or use herbicides to get rid of them.


Blackberries (or brambles) take over waste ground if left unchecked, and in some cases they even form thickets along railway lines or cycle paths. They are a great problem for many gardeners, and often have to be removed completely by hand, but with the right technique and time, they can be eradicated from your allotment.

You can remove blackberries by digging them up with a spade or fork, and if you’re really determined they can be cut down with pruning shears or loppers. However, this method is best used for small patches of bushes in your garden or allotment.

A more effective way to destroy a large mass of blackberries is to dig them up, and then burn them using herbicides or fire. This will destroy the roots and berries, but it’s very labour intensive so you may want to add other methods of eradicating the blackberry plant to your gardening routine.

For pot grown plants, it is a good idea to plant them to the same depth as they were in their containers, and for bare-rooted blackberries, dig a hole wider and slightly deeper than their spread of roots, then sprinkle a handful of blood, fish and bone fertiliser over the top of the soil in the hole and crumble some more around and over the roots. You can also mulch the planting with a shredded piece of green waste compost, which is great for the worms, and should give your new blackberry plants a good start.

When you’re planning your allotment, it’s important to make sure you have a free draining and well drained soil that retains moisture. You need to avoid chalky ground as this can cause problems with root growth and development, and you can improve your soil by adding sulphur chips before planting.

You should also plan your garden so you can grow the best fruits for your area and climate. For example, blackberries are not recommended in hot and dry conditions, but there are many soft fruit varieties that do well in these areas.

One of the most popular allotment crops is berries, which are easy to grow and produce a bumper harvest in the late summer months. Whether you choose to plant raspberries, purple blackberries or strawberry varieties, your allotment is guaranteed to produce an abundance of tasty fruits.


Blackberries are a popular garden fruit, often used for jams, jellies and pies. They ripen from late summer to autumn and are easy to pick. However, the fruits can bruise very easily and should not be eaten raw or crushed to prevent them from staining clothing.

Blackberry plants are biennial (they come back from year to year). This means that the canes they produce fruit on in one year will be pruned back to the ground in the following year to give room for stronger canes that produce more fruit. They do not need pruning until the plant is overgrown or they are producing lots of fruit and they can then be cut back to a manageable height.

The first pruning step is to remove any old canes that have not produced fruit. These canes should be cut back to about half their original length. Keep the new growth apart from the older canes to avoid fungal diseases from spreading in between them.

Once you have pruned the canes to a manageable size, the next stage is to train them into position. This is best done on a trellis or support, and can be made easier if you have a trellis already installed. Consider a two-wire system, with a top wire five to six feet above the ground and a second line 18 inches below the top.

Thornless varieties are available, such as Loch Ness 1.8 m (6 feet) and Oregon Thornless 2.5 m (8 feet). These have been bred to produce larger fruit with less thorns.

Almost all ground is suitable for blackberries, although chalky soils are best avoided as they do not like water-logged conditions. They need a free draining soil that retains some moisture.

A good feeding of compost and manure is essential, to encourage roots and give them a boost before planting. Bare-root plants (stools) should be soaked in water before planting and then buried up to the old soil mark, firming the soil in as you go.

Generally, blackberries grow vigorously to the point of becoming rampant and are better kept under control by regular pruning. A thornless variety is recommended, so that they can be pruned easier and more comfortably. They also crop more heavily, making them a valuable addition to any garden or allotment.


A bonfire is an excellent way to clear away blackberry bushes and other thorny plants. It can also be used to rid your garden of perennial weeds and thorny prunings. However, be sure to burn in a safe place that will not cause any problems for other people or animals, and make sure there are no hedgehogs around before lighting the fire.

Burning works best on small areas of blackberry bushes that aren’t densely populated. If you have a large area that needs to be cleared, it is recommended that you use a weed burner as this can effectively clear out a large number of thorny plants. This process is often faster and more effective than hand weeding.

The burning process can remove blackberries and other thorny shrubs, but the plants will recover quickly once the burn has ended. This is because they release nutrients into the soil and stimulate the germination of new seedlings. It is important to follow up with a herbicide application and subsequent burnings to control blackberry populations in the future.

When burning is not possible, you can remove a single plant by cutting it with a sharp pruning knife. This will cut through the leaves and stems of the blackberry, leaving only the roots and crown. This can be an easy, inexpensive way to remove a small blackberry bush from your property.

For larger bushes, you can plant them up a trellis or train them on a wire between posts. It is best to cut the canes back to ground level at the end of the season, as this encourages fresh growth and fruiting next year.

You can also grow blackberries from cuttings. These are a simple and inexpensive way to get started with this popular fruit. The procedure is simple – take a healthy looking blackberry branch in mid-September, bend it down so that the tip is touching the ground, and dig a hole to place it in. Cover with some dug up soil, and wait for it to root over the following spring/summer.

Blackberries can be grown in most soil types, though it is best to choose a free-draining soil that retains some moisture. They are vigorous enough to grow in shady conditions, and can be trained along a fence or wall.


Herbicides are a very effective method for controlling blackberry, but they should be used wisely. A herbicide spray applied in the wrong way can cause damage to nearby trees.

Herbicide treatment should be aimed at killing the plant in all its parts, including lateral canes extending beyond the main body of the thicket. This is because the roots of the weed may not take in enough herbicide to kill the plant.

This can lead to re-growth of the blackberry plants and increase the population in the future. Herbicide application is a long-term strategy, so you should repeat the treatment at least once a year to ensure that the blackberry plants are dead and that they don’t come back.

There are several herbicides available to control blackberry, some of which are registered for use in the state. These include Grazon* Extra, which is a foliar spray for woody weeds and noxious weeds, as well as Gusto, which is a high-volume handgun spray for a range of woody weeds including blackberry.

Ideally, spray the blackberry when it is active growing, usually from January to May. This is because the sap flowing back down to the roots boosts the uptake and translocation of the herbicide.

The best herbicides to use are those that have the ability to penetrate the thorny stems of blackberry. Those with this capability are called Group I herbicides. Herbicides in this category also have the capacity to kill the leaves of blackberry plants, so they should be applied at the highest rate possible.

Another good herbicide for blackberry is a triclopyr/picloram mixture, which is suitable for spot-spraying along fence-lines and for treating in pastures. Using this mixture, you can prevent seedling establishment and avoid damaging the grasses which would otherwise be more competitive against the blackberry.

For best results, mix the herbicide with water and apply it at a rate of 350 or 500mL per 100L of water. Alternatively, a lower rate can be used on older dense infestations. Depending on the product you use, it is important to cover all of the foliage to just short of run-off to achieve the best kill possible.

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