How to Get Rid of Wild Blackberry Bushes

Written by elizabeth chapin-pinotti
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Persistence is required to get rid of wild blackberry brambles. These plants can live for 25 years or more, smothering existing plant growth and providing a habitat for mice and rats and other rodents. They produce vines that sprout from a central crown or along their many undershoots. These tangles of thorny stems block access of humans, livestock, equipment, and vehicles to pastures, waterways and forests. They can injure both people and livestock alike and are difficult to eradicate.

Wild blackberry plants are tricky to control and multiple measures are often required to get rid of them completely.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Herbicide
  • Rotiller
  • Leather gloves
  • Pruning shears

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  1. 1

    Cut the bushes as close to the ground as possible. Make sure you wear strong leather gloves when you cut the bushes.

  2. 2

    Pile the bushes above the root system and burn the cuttings. Many areas of the United States require special burn permits or only allowing burning on certain days. Please check with the burn control unit or fire brigade in your area to determine when you can burn the bushes.

  3. 3

    Till the ash and soil with a rototiller and dig out the crown roots as you move along the patch.

  4. 4

    Pick out the roots and either chip with a chipper or burn again. You can also compost, but then you run the risk of birds picking at the sticks and stems and spreading the plants. Wild blackberries are spread by birds that eat the berries and you don't want leave any stray berries, plump or dry, around.

  5. 5

    Till the soil again. You will need to till the soil with a rototiller numerous times periodically to shift out the remaining roots.

  6. 6

    Contact a licensed herbicide specialist if the berries you are trying to remove are in areas where food crops are not going to be grown. Have him or her apply something such as Tebthiuron. It can be applied pelleted formulation and will need to be reapplied several times to be effective.

Tips and warnings

  • Goats are an alternative to cutting the bushes. Rent goats and they will eat the bushes to the ground. The crown roots will still be left to remove and the ground should still be tilled.

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