How to Keep Blackberry Bushes Under Control: The Ultimate Guide

Many people LOVE blackberry fruits, but not many of us realize how they are difficult to control or kill off! Some blackberry varieties are known as invasive plants, meaning they are notorious for taking over your property and growing all over. This can be bad for your other plants and landscaping, as it would push new plants through and out of the soil.

With that in mind, how can you maintain your blackberry bushes and prevent it from getting out of hand? Read on as I show you methods and tips on how to keep blackberry bushes under control now!

how to keep blackberry bushes under control

How to Keep Blackberry Bushes Under Control

When you want to keep your blackberry bushes under control, it all boils down to care and maintenance. If left unchecked, it will quickly spread in pastures, reducing the growth of over plants. With that in mind, here are some tips and methods you can follow:

1. Remove All Canes and Plant of the Weeds

This is one of the first things you can try doing, as this is proven effective.

Remove all the brown and briefly deal canes every time spring comes by. When the canes die, the bush most likely replaced them with newer and healthier canes.

It’s important to maintain and clean it out every new season. If you leave those canes on the bush, it would starve your blackberry bush from the nutrients it needs, since roots will supply all the canes the nutrients, including the dead ones.

When removing the dead canes, you should also weed around the bush’s base. Remove any weeds or plants that compete or would hinder the bush’s growth. While this sounds counteractive in controlling its spread, it helps produce fruit!

Just make sure that you combine this method with proper care and maintenance, as well as pruning, which I’ll talk about in the next section.

2. Prune Your Bush To Maintain Its Health and Shape

You will need to prune your blackberry bushes at least once a year, or as needed. Two weeks after harvesting, one the bushes enter dormancy, get a pair of hedge clippers, cutting back your bushes.

You need to remove at least 1/3 of the bush’s mass, clipping off canes that stray from the plant’s natural shape, as well as the canes that impair the bush from receiving light from the sun.

3. Other Useful Methods

Besides the main methods mentioned above, there are other extra tips you might want to try doing, such as:


You can try to mow the bushes, which is somewhat effective slow the spread of blackberry bushes until you can apply chemical control products. This can also reduce the sizes of old bushes, removing dead old canes while encouraging new canes to grow. It would be more helpful especially when you combine it with chemical control products.

As you reduce the size of older bushes, it’s also helpful to make it easier when applying herbicide. However, don’t apply herbicides too soon after mowing, as this will give you inconsistent results. Before applying herbicides, let your bush have a lot of leaves and show active growth activity.

Herbicide Application

Once you’re done mowing, you have to know when to apply herbicide for effective blackberry bush control. Blackberry is sensitive to herbicides, especially when it blooms during the late spring and in fall, right before the frost.

When applying herbicide, do not do so after winter dormancy emergency, or while it’s fruiting, as this is less effective as well. Furthermore, don’t let the plants be stressed from drought, which is why it’s best to apply herbicide and chemical controls are during recent rains and the optimum stage of blackberry growth.

Before applying herbicide, wait for six months of active regrowth. After six weeks, you can begin removing dead canes.

What kind of herbicides or chemical control should you get, though?

Look for effective herbicides that have metsuluron or triclopyr ester. You can safely apply this during blooming, though you will need to retreat it after a year for better control. The herbicides may cause blackberry defoliation and can control weed and brush species.

4. Kill Off the Blackberry Bush

Another way to control your blackberry bushes is to prune them. This would cut the plants back, or kill it overall if you don’t want it in your area anymore. If you’d like to do this, follow these steps:

  1. Wear your work gloves, especially when you have blackberry bushes with thorns. Begin from the bush’s edges, or the tangle of bushes, working inward and towards the center. This will allow you to see what you’re cutting.
  2. Cut off all the outer canes and blackberry vines, about 12 inches of it. This will leave some of the canes for proper growth next year but would remove the part of the vine that’s creating the tangles. Set aside all the cut stems you cut to avoid stepping on it.
  3. Continue cutting and working inward from the bush’s outer edge, cutting every cane until it measures 12 inches. Remove dead canes from the ground level when you find them during the process.
  4. Thin out canes that are six inches or closer to one another when you want to keep the blackberry bushes. It will grow into each other later on. Remove pruned canes to destroy them, eliminating the spreading of pests and diseases.

Do you want to learn more about how to keep blackberry bushes under control? Check out this informative video:

Wrapping It Up

Blackberries are such delicious fruits and if you own one, you’re going to need to understand that you need to keep it under control. Without proper maintenance, it can end up with your blackberry bushes dominating your entire gardening area. Fortunately, the methods to keep it under control aren’t difficult to follow, it’s all about proper care.

Hopefully, these tips on how to keep blackberry bushes under control helped you out! If you feel like your blackberry bushes are starting to grow more than expected, utilize these methods to prevent it from being like a weed now.

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