NWW5659 Blackberry top end McIntyre River east of Inverell NSW

NWW5659 Blackberry top end McIntyre River Inverell NSW

Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus agg. spp.) infests an estimated 8.8 million hectares of land in Australia. Its invasive nature and resistance to chemical control makes it a very difficult plant to eradicate. In northern New South Wales, blackberry is a major weed of the tablelands and slopes.   

NWW043 Blackberry clinging to this old shed Kings Plains area east of Inverell NSW

NWW043 Blackberry clinging to this old shed

Blackberry can completely invade grazing properties, waterways – even loves abandoned buildings!

EFFECT ON ANIMALS

The problem with blackberry is its invasiveness. Unimpeded, it has the potential to keep spreading until it reduces a property’s stock-carrying capacity to nil. Its growth pattern around waterways is so strong that it impedes stock access to water.

NWW56512 Blackberry on TSR Kings Plains area Inverell NSW

NWW56512 Blackberry on TSR west of Glen Innes NSW

Sheep can be trapped in amongst blackberry by the plants’ many thorns. Most breeds of goats, on the other hand, thrive on blackberry and can be effective in keeping the plants under control.

 IDENTIFICATION

Plants comprise stems or canes covered in prickles to deter animals (and humans!). The canes can grow up to 7 metres long, reaching out to touch and take root in new ground. The distinctive fruit is also an important key to identification. It’s easy to say whether the plant is a blackberry or not, but not so easy to actually identify which particular species it is. According to the National Blackberry Taskforce, there are 23 introduced species and 11 native blackberry species!

NWW5653 Blackberry fruit closeup

NWW5653 Blackberry fruit closeup

Blackberry normally flowers late November to late February, and produces its sought-after berries December to early April.

MORE INFORMATION:

  • Noxious Plants of Australia”, by Parsons and Cuthbertson (Inkata Press).
  • NWW5656 example of blackberry rust - CSIRO trials near Inverell NSW

    NWW5656 example of blackberry rust – CSIRO trials near Inverell NSW

CONTROL METHODS

According to NSW DPI’s excellent booklet “Noxious and Environmental Weed Control Handbook 5th Edition”, treatments for blackberry include:

Non-Chemical Options: Slashing of juvenile bushes, use of goats will give some control. Improve pastures with a vigorous perennial species. Biological: (photo right) the CSIRO has been involved in a major blackberry rust program – trials are continuing in various parts of E. Australia  – results to date have been variable…

Chemical options Rate: Spot/Boom Comments
Triclopyr+picloram 200 g/L+ 100 g/L  eg Grazon DSH® 500 ml per 100 L of water Late spring to autumn treatment. Use an adjuvant.
Glyphosate 360 g/L Various trade names 1.0 to 1.3 L per 100 L of water Flowering to leaf fall. Use higher rate on old dense infestations
Glyphosate+metsulfuron methyl 835 g/kg + 10 g/kg Trounce® 1 measured pack (173 g) per 100 L of water Apply from flowering until before leaf yellowing. Do not apply to bushes with mature fruit.
Metsulfuron methyl+glyphosate 63.2 g/kg + 760.5 g/kg Cut-out® 1 measured pack (95g) per 100 L of water Apply between January and April when bushes are actively growing. Do not apply to bushes with mature fruit.
Metsulfuron methyl Various trade names eg Brushoff® and Ally® 10 g per 100 L of water Apply when bushes are actively growing. Thoroughly wet all foliage and canes at commencement of flowering.
Metsulfuron methyl+picloram 200 g/kg + 240 g/kg Crossbow® 30 g Part A plus 0.15 L Part B per 100 L water plus wetter Wet all foliage and canes. DO NOT apply to plants with mature fruit.
Hexazinone 250 g/L Various trade names eg Velpar L® Undiluted (4 mL per spot) Bushes up to 1 m in height.
Picloram 600 g/L Tordon®  granules 35-35g/m2 Apply granules over an area extending from main stem to 30 cm outside the drip line.
Triclopyr 600 g/L Various trade names eg Garlon 600® 170 ml per 100 L of water Late spring to early autumn actively growing bushes. Do not use under dry conditions
Triclopyr+Picloram 300 g/L + 100 g/L. Various trade names 350 or 500 mL per 100 L of water Late spring to early autumn when bushes are actively growing. Use the higher rate on plants which have been damaged by grazing stock or insects.
Picloram 45g/kg Vigilant® Undiluted Cut stump/stem injection application. Apply a 3–5 mm layer of gel for stems less than 20 mm. Apply 5 mm layer on stems above 20 mm (see label)
Triclopyr 300 g/L + picloram 100 g/L + aminopyralid 8 g/L Grazon Extra® 350 or 500 mL per 100 L water Treat in late spring to autumn. Use an adjuvant

Blackberry is a hard plant to eradicate. If possible (and of course, subject to bushfire restrictions at the time) burn plants about 12 to 18 months after treatment. This removes the bulk of the dead canes, tidies up the area, makes regrowth easier to find, and minimises quantity of herbicide needed for follow-up treatments.

IMPORTANT:  USE OF PESTICIDES – ALWAYS READ THE LABEL Pesticides must only be used for the purpose for which they are registered and must not be used in any other situation or in any manner contrary to the directions on the label. Never use a herbicide in any way contrary to the label recommendations.

DISCLAIMER The information contained in this web site is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. However, because of advances in knowledge, users are reminded of the need to ensure that information upon which they rely is up to date and to check currency of the information with the appropriate officer of North West Weeds or the user’s independent adviser. LRT 05/03/2016