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Mowing Blackberry thickets

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Bigfoot, May 6, 2009.

  1. Bigfoot

    Bigfoot Clack Co. OR Well-Known Member

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    I've decided that I'd rather have three acres of native grasses instead of the blackberry thickets that I currently have.

    What I've done in the past is knock em down a few times each year with the truck which keeps them low enough that I can walk through them. I see that in some areas if I drive over it often enough the native grasses will take over.

    I bought this place undeveloped, it isn't too rocky but it's still uneven. I've looked into herbicides,(pets) field mowers (getting too old for a walk behind) and goats (goats?) but I'd rather just cruise around on a mower. After I knock down the large canes with the truck, I assume that a standard style riding mower would control them but will the rocks and uneven ground beat it to death?

    The riding field mowers that I've seen look like beasts. Might be the way to go though. Don't know.

    I'm open to suggestions.

    Bigfoot
     
  2. the4thshake

    the4thshake Portland Active Member

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    There is a wonderful product called Crossbow that works wonders on blackberries and doesn't harm grasses.

    http://www.dowagro.com/usag/prod/003.htm

    If you mow them down they will just grow back.....they grow quick.
     
  3. Bigfoot

    Bigfoot Clack Co. OR Well-Known Member

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    Thanks the4thshake, you must have sleeping troubles too.

    I have a couple of quarts somewhere around here from when I first purchased the property. I had discounted it because the well is in now and I have pets to worry about too. And the raccoons and the two families of Blacktail that all tolerate me. Apparently the deer don't know that I'm a gun loony, and if I ever get really hungry.... An EPA document that I turned up says that Crossbow is a 2,4-D formulation and it's toxicity is fairly low to critters. I'll look into it some more. I'm generally not a big fan of poisons, on the other hand I do love driving things around.

    I also saw those roughcut mowers that you pull around with an ATV. Looks like a real good excuse to get an ATV. :D

    I'd heard and read that if you keep them mowed down and don't give them a chance to grow leaves they eventually die off. Not true?
     
  4. PDXGS

    PDXGS Aloha... yes, Aloha, Oregon Member

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    Goats are awesome. Logistically they may be difficult but they eat everything. I knew a guy who ran a rent-a-goat program in California for controlling poison oak and blackberry. He would drop 20 goats onto your property with a portable generator and electric fence and they would chew everything down to nubs in the course of a few days. If this interests you you might consider posting a GOAT WANTED poster on the message board at your local farm supply. Then you can hand spray whatever emerges with crossbow or roundup. You'll use fewer chemical and the goats produce great fertilizer! I believe the state ag dept can help point you to native grass seed...but I'm not certain.
     
  5. A2theK

    A2theK Olympia Member

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    You can get an old Ford tractor for about 1800 with a brush hog. That's what I got and it works great.
     
  6. rockwerks

    rockwerks Sekiu, WA New Member

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    second on the goats, you can rent a goat and herders fairly cheaply, it is how the forest service keeps the berry bushes in check at camp grounds etc
     
  7. Grubstake

    Grubstake Eugene Oregon Member

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    YES, Goats will eat blackberrys... They also will eat everything else, mainly what you DON"T want them to eat......
     
  8. slythorne

    slythorne Western Washington Member

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    Had to chime in about the goats... Yup, they will eat it all. Even some stuff that makes other animals sick. My dad had a problem with Vine Maples, Blackberries, and Scotch broom. Not any more. The downside, they ALWAYS think the grass is greener on the other side. They will find ANY weakness in your fencing. They are also stupid... leave them tied to a stake and they will find a way to get all tangled up. But they do a good job of lawn mowing. And make sure you get 2, as one is none when it comes to goats.
     
  9. Oro

    Oro Western WA Active Member

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    Horses will eat blackberry bushes and keep them at bay. And people in most places will pay you to let their horses live on your property. Could help offset the cost of the fencing and the purchase of a tractor over time.
     
  10. 9MilMan

    9MilMan Milwaukie Active Member

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    Another vote for goats (worked for a friend of mine), If that is not practical, Crossbow works well. I've used it.
     
  11. pencap

    pencap Oregon Member

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    My $0.02

    Rent goats.

    Sounds crazy, but it works.