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Gardening Answers Knowledgebase

Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Goats, Blackberries, Weed control--Pacific Northwest

I am wondering about an environmentally sensitive way to get rid of blackberries. I understand that mowing them consistently for 4 years works, but unfortunately this is not an option because of the terrain. If an herbicide is our only option, can you recommend one that has minimal impact? The area is quite large - a mile long and 20 feet wide.

Answer:

Invasive.org has produced a document entitled Controlling Himalayan Blackberry in the Pacific Northwest. It includes manual removal, shading, grazing, biological controls, and last-resort herbicide information. (We cannot recommend any specific herbicides, as we are not licensed pesticide handlers.)

The Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides has information on nonchemical blackberry control.

For additional information, phone the Master Gardener's DialExtension (King County) at 206-296-3425 (or 800-325-6165, ext.6-3425) and listen to tape #1274 about removing blackberries. However, the solutions given in this tape may apply to smaller areas, rather than the larger stand you mentioned.

An interesting idea that some people are trying locally is the use of goats. This article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer mentions Healing Hooves of Spokane. There is at least one company on Vashon Island which offers this service as well. Another P-I article mentions Rent-a-Ruminant.
This document from Sound Native Plants contains contact information for several such services.

Date 2017-04-15
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City Goats by Jennie P Grant, 2012

Reviewed by: Brian Thompson on 2013-04-01

City Goats book jacketJennie P. Grant brings a full measure of enthusiasm to "City Goats," a combination how-to manual, goat keeping manifesto, and love story, made all the better by its Seattle setting. While much of the care-giving information would apply to goats anywhere, the author's campaign to legalize her herd is especially compelling because of its local connections.

I'm not likely to start my own herd, but I couldn't help getting hooked by the exploits and personalities of Brownie, Snowflake, Maple, and Eloise. Is this a gardening book? Perhaps not, as the author makes it very clear that your goats and your roses are not good companions. However as the model of the urban farm continues to flourish, you may embrace having your own source of milk and veggies, from securely separated sites, of course.

Excerpted from the Spring 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

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August 01 2017 12:36:01