While the fruit sure tastes good, did you know that the blackberry weed is classed as one of the most notorious invaders to the Australian landscape?
Also known as Rubus fruticosus aggregate, blackberry weed is classed as a “Weed of National Significance” – or introduced weeds that attract enough attention thanks to their invasive tendencies, environmental impacts and ultimately potential for spread. Unfortunately the term “blackberry” covers at least fourteen different species of the plant including hybrids, which have now become naturalised within Australia – but if they all produce the fruit, why are they considered to be bad?
Why Farmers Hate Blackberry Weed
To the naked eye, the blackberry weed is just another large prickly shrub with dark coloured berries. However, it has also infested over 8.8 million hectares of Australia, has cost our economy an eye watering $100 million so far through control methods and lost production, and has even warranted its own state task forces – so why exactly is it so destructive?
Highly Invasive – Known for being incredibly hardy, even one small piece of stem or rhizome left in the soil can result in a new plant and over time, a new thicket. Infestations form dense thickets that out-compete most other plants
Expensive To Control – Traditional methods used to eradicate blackberry weed are certainly not cheap, and ultimately take their toll on the land. Chemical based herbicides, tilling and mowing don’t always work, but landowners are legally required to control it in most states.
Invite Pests – Not only does blackberry weed restrict growth for Australian native plants, it also provides food shelter for other undesirables such as rabbits, foxes and other rodents. While domestic animals may consume the blackberry, this only amplifies the spread.
Restrict Waterways – While the plant is highly tolerant, it thrives best in regions that offer warm summers and cool winters – which unfortunately, covers most of Australia. Even in drought conditions it takes hold in riverbanks, restricting waterways and access for livestock.
Fire Hazard – The brambles and bushes act as fuel for bushfires in Australia’s hot and humid summers, which is less than ideal for farmers when the conditions are just right. This is one of the many reasons why state legislation is in place in order to avoid a potential catastrophe.
How To Control Blackberry Weed
Opting for a glyphosate free alternative has become about so much more than avoiding this active ingredient. When it comes to sourcing a method to combat weeds and other invaders, farmers and home gardeners alike have united in their search for natural, organic and chemical free solutions that are safer for both their livestock and themselves.
Agronomist Logan Brown is an avid equine lover, and spends much of her time at home riding and training eventing horses. A more recent hobby of hers is retraining racing horses, so that they can compete in the same style of eventing. Needless to say – the arena on her Victorian property certainly gets a workout, and requires regular attention to keep it in top condition. In an effort to combat leafy invaders to her arena including the blackberry weed, Logan regularly uses Bioweed as an organic herbicide that’s safe for her horses to be around.
“There’s a lot of different methods that you can use. A lot of people prefer to dig out the plant, but I’m a little bit lazy and use Bioweed instead. It’s got the no-withholding period, so I know that I know that I can ride my horses in the arena straight after spraying without having to worry. It’s also got the seed control, so I know every time I spray I know there will be less popping up – for me, it’s really been a long term investment.”
Bioweed functions a little differently to conventional herbicide, so it’s best to pay special attention to which weeds it covers. For the blackberry weed, the best results are achieved at the younger stages of the plant’s growth with an application rate of 20% Bioweed into 80% water. If you would like to know more about organic weed solutions, please get in touch with us today at Bioweed to discuss ways we can help to combat weeds organically at your property.