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Help- blackberry vines taking over field

Discussion in 'Natural and Organic Husbandry' started by Talithahorse, Mar 24, 2015.

  1. Mar 25, 2015
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master

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    Best answer /\.
    I can't say much more since I promised I wouldn't say much in the organic/all natural/no chemicals/no antibiotics etc section, but a plant's growth is science, and if one wants to control or eradicate an invasive, one has to approach it thru the same medium--science. It can easily be eradicated in a single season, or take several years, with either approach both doing exactly the same thing, and in the same manner, exept one takes a LOT longer. Both, are depriving the plant of something, at he the proper time, that it has to have to grow and reproduce--and it isn't leaves.
    Hint-blackberry is not an evergreen--it goes dormant in fall.
     
  2. Mar 25, 2015
    Southern by choice

    Southern by choice Herd Master

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    Science is great until more science comes along to show you the old science was wrong.

    Been happening for hundreds and hundreds of years. ;)

    Funny, all our wild blackberrys are gone. I never sprayed them.
    Our cedars that the meatgoat bucks like to chew the bark off are also gone. Dead trees standing, eventually falling over. Never sprayed those either.

    But if it makes y'all feel better our lawn maintenance provider sprayed weed killer by my mailbox.
     
    mysunwolf likes this.
  3. Mar 25, 2015
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master

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    Do you understand why the blackberries are gone?

     
  4. Mar 25, 2015
    Talithahorse

    Talithahorse Chillin' with the herd

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    I want to thank everyone for your suggestions. My reasoning was to know ALL the different options so that I could make the best decision for our situation. With a background in science I know that all chemicals are not the same and that is the research that I was hoping to find out. I also know that as a general rule, nature knows best and if nature has figured out a way to "check" something, it is usually the way to go. Of course as a hobby farmer I do not have 5 weeks to spend digging the roots out, nor do I have the capital to purchase and take care of twenty or so sheep or goats for their lifetime when I really am only looking for a few "maintenance" goats. Getting a feel for how long it will take 3-5 goats/ sheep, as well as the benefits/ effects of using carefully selected chemicals will help me to make the best decision.

    It hurts my heart to know that I might have to resort to chemicals but I am also a realist and know that sometimes it takes more extreme methods. For example due to my unwillingness to use chemicals on my food crops, I have not gotten a single peach out of 6 trees in 14 years, nor have had a single year where the grass doesn't eventually win out in my garden. I do not take using chemicals lightly but I cannot afford to lose this field as well. I am trying to afford to get it fenced for goats and cows.

    Thank you again for sharing all sides of this story. Anybody have specific examples (IE 5 goats, 3 acres cleared in two months or one spray of such and such chemical and my field stayed free for such and such years?)
     
  5. Mar 25, 2015
    MsDeb

    MsDeb Loving the herd life

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    Geez, we have one side of our land that is half lined with blackberry bushes that must have been there for years. The thorns are so long and the vines are so tangled it's impossible to get to any berries but the ones on the very outer edge. Then I fear that they are going to grab me and drag me in. The goats stay far away from them. Some have liked the berries but I have one that will go into sneezing fits if I even touch her nose after picking the berries. I wish they could clear some of them out but I shudder to think what would happen with all those thorns.
    I don't like using chemicals either if I don't have to. How deep do the roots go? I don't want to get rid of all of ours since they form a great privacy fence between us and the guy next door, but it would be nice to thin them out.
     
  6. Mar 25, 2015
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    What about bush hogging them down, then letting the goats manage the regrowth?
     
  7. Mar 25, 2015
    Mike CHS

    Mike CHS Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    I have one 5 acre section that had them so thick that I had to cut at a crawl speed and even then had to cut it twice when I first started trying to get my overgrown pasture under control. I don't have goats but I do have a fair size herd of deer that loves the new shoots and it seems to be dying out slowly.
     
  8. Mar 25, 2015
    Talithahorse

    Talithahorse Chillin' with the herd

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    We do have a bush hog and will cut it down. I am encouraging my DH to bush hog more than twice a year this year now that DD is old enough to mow with the riding mower this year. That means two of us to handle the small mower freeing DH to run the bush hog.
     
  9. Mar 25, 2015
    OneFineAcre

    OneFineAcre Herd Master

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    This is the Best Answer.
     
  10. Mar 25, 2015
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master

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    Here's what I was getting at. To manage invasive or undesirable plant species, we have to think about what is happening with those plants, their seasonal life cycles, how they grow and reproduce if we are going to (control or eradicate them) *--and it doesn't matter whether you use livestock to do the management or chemicals. They both do the same thing and they both work for the same reason, and it's not specifically because the plants have had their foliage removed.
    Imo, mowing is counterproductive if not done right and done at the right time of year, reason being, you are also cutting down valuable forage your animals need. In many cases, mowing doesn't stop growth of invasives--it encourages growth--and reproduction, unless you use good sound management practices based on what that invasive is doing, and what makes it so stubborn.
    * control or eradicate There IS a difference, and even the most successful herbicide and/or organic recommendation resources recognizes this. In many--if not most cases, people who think they have eradicated a perennial invasive (or in the case of blackberry--a biennial) simply have it under control. It's still there, with it's root system stored full of starches, waiting to come back, and they can do it for years and years, playing the waiting game. Depriving that root system of it's starches, whether with chemical application or intensive grazing is imperative in KILLING it. Otherwise, it's simply being controlled. Starch storage enables the plant (even trees) to be able to kickstart growth in the spring or early summer--the plant converts the starch to sugars--energy. Nothing in the plant world grows without energy. Starch storage begins near the end of the foliage and fruits/seed bearing season. With trees and woody brush (including blackberry) it happens in the few weeks right before the leaves begin changing colors, and by the time the leaves have dropped, the root system is filled with starch (in blackberry, starch is mostly stored in the root crown and just below the crown) . The exception of course, is evergreen, but even they store starches in winter--they stay green, photosynthesis continues, but at a reduced rate.

    This website desperately needs a forage and pasture section, one in which all methods of growth and management can be openly discussed without the risk of getting a nastygram from moderators or admin. Regardless of what forage eating species we raise, we are are grass farmers first, and livestock producers second. If we can't or don't raise grass, we can't raise forage eating, milk producing animals