Thursday, 7 November 2013

A Thorny Issue

Wednesday was dull, dry and not too cold so I decided it was time to try and get our blackberry thug under control on the allotment. It’s a thug in more ways than one as it has vicious thorns which grab clothing or skin refusing to let go at any cost and it grows rampant taking over a large part of the plot. Sue cuts back all the old canes every spring and ties in all the new shoots.
The only reason the bush hasn't been consigned to the compost heap years ago is that it produces an excellent crop of large juicy berries. This year we picked just over 4kg with plenty left over for the birds. The problem is come autumn time this is what we are left with.
We do our best to keep it clear of the path on the right as this shared with our plot neighbours. Those vicious thorns make it a bush not to be messed with through summer especially on a warm day with sleeves rolled up. The result is it get left to its own devices.

We've decided to make a determined effort to try to improve the situation over winter so we don’t end up in this situation next autumn. The plan is to cut down the blackberry to ground level, remove the supporting wires and dig the ground beneath before replacing with a new set of supporting wires and using weed control fabric around the roots of the blackberry itself. It more than likely means we will have to accept that we won’t get any fruit next year.
After a couple of hours I’d manage to cut back about two thirds of the blackberry bush. Not only were there the blackberry thorns to avoid but tall nettles which had grown up through the stems of the bush.
There’s going to be a rather large pile of debris to burn once the job is finished. I'm not really keen on having garden fires but in this case with all the thorny prunings to get rid of in that’s what I intend to do.


  1. I'm guessing you're bloodied and torn! It may surprise you with some fruit next year, they're so vigorous. I'm lucky to have an escaped cultivated blackberry in the hedge at the bottom of my allotment. The berries are absolutely massive. And mostly the vine stays on the other side of the fence. I still end up with some serious scratches every time I pick from it though.

    1. I cannot resist going for a berry that looks better than all the rest but is just out of easy picking range. Then the blackberry attacks and I wish I hadn't bothered.

  2. Do you replant the black berry bush every spring? I have no idea about this. Here in the highland, there is a plant like as a black berry bush. I'm not sure if they are the same species.

    1. No it doesn't get replanted every spring but all the old wood is pruned out just leaving new canes which then go on to fruit in autumn.


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