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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ok, I've got a situation that I need some guidance on.

The old pasture (turned to hayfield a couple of decades ago) around my house has become badly overgrown with blue stemmed briar/blackberry bushes. The previous guy that was renting the hayfields did nothing for the land...never fertilized, never spread lime, never... I kept bugging him about the briars taking over and he'd shrug it off. Well, I finally had enough and rented it to a different person who is more than willing to address the issue of the briars.

The new guy has already spread tons of composted poultry litter and will probably be putting some lime down this winter. What we haven't figured out is what to do about the briars/blackberries. The problem is that it's a hayfield and if not cut will definitely get to be an impenetrable mass of briars. Last fall (his first year with the field) he simply bush hogged it to get the bramble lowered...walking through the field afterwards was an exercise in continually removed briar stems from your shoelaces and pants legs. :pinch: But, at least you could walk through it.

This year the briars are back with a vengeance. They are already waist high and thick. The hay will basically be worthless as it is. You might say that the bees will love the blooms, but...if the bushes are mowed down next years blooms won't be that many...and if they're not mowed down it's a waste of land and I'm afraid the guy renting the fields might decide he doesn't need this patch...and it's what surrounds my house and apiary so I need to do something. :(

Within the field there are some asters and goldenrod that will be lost when I spray. I hate to lose that bit of close-by forage but I've got plenty of forage not much farther away so it won't be a devastating loss.

Bottom line...I need to spray. I'm looking at several options on herbicides...anybody want to suggest a herbicide?

I hate to spray but the briars have gotten out of hand. :(

Thanks,
Ed

 

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Thinking outside the box here. Could you bring in some goats to clean it up? They are more likely to eat the tough stuff as opposed to grass.
Would a goat be any different than mowing them? I doubt they're going to dig up and eat briar roots.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
As for the goats grazing the briars down...yes, it is possible for them to do that though it might take several years. I know that grazing kudzu down works...basically you have to graze it hard so that the plant starves from lack of food producing foliage....and again, it takes several years.

Years ago farmers ran cows through the "hills and hollers" and you could walk through the woods at ease. Not many do that now as it has become a "science". Now, in a natural stand of timber you will have a jolly good time walking down to the creek. Behind my house is a formidable stand of large pines with a jungle beneath it. When cows ran it, you could walk anywhere. :eek:

Ed
 

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We had a somewhat similar issue with the place we bought last fall. An acre out back had been logged about 15 years ago, then essentially abandoned. It had burn piles that never got burned, over the years they became compost piles. It was fully overrun by first quackgrass and blackberries, with a few alders standing as high as 8 feet when we started in January. First I had a big excavator in, got the place leveled and the scrub alders cleared out. In early May after it dried out enough, little excavator did some cleanup on the grades, and fixed up some ditching to get better drainage. Two weeks ago I had fencing crew in, and a fella with a rockhound on the bobcat. That gadget actually says 'landscape rake' on the side, but most folks around here call it a rockhound. That gadget served two purposes, it rakes out the worst of the rocks, and with them came a huge amount of roots etc. When all was said and done, this is what it looked like just before the seed went down.



The pile on the right that you can just see the corner of, is about 7 feet high, and it's a mixture of dirt and roots dug up by the machine while it pulled rocks and roots out. Still have a small burn pile, the bigger stuff that was waterlogged, and didn't burn completely when we burned the pile this spring. I'll finish burning that down later this summer, when it's dried out.

Our case was a bit different, because we needed to level the ground first, but that last machine that was in, did a dandy job of getting a lot of the scrub, roots and all. We put clover seed on Friday evening, then pulled a rake over it all with the lawn tractor. Theory is, what is left viable in any roots left behind, will end up smothered by the clover, only time will tell if theory and reality match up. But, it's going to be a fantastic bee yard now. That's a 7 foot fence with barb at the top, should keep both bambi and yogi out.

Dunno how much time / effort / money you want to spend on the project, but, a run over with the brushog to get it clear down to the surface, then run over with with that rake taking out roots like this one did, should give you a chance to get something planted that'll smother whats left of the brambles. That's the theory anyways, and if you aren't in a hurry, check back with me next summer, I'll be able to tell you if it worked.
 

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Let me see, a beekeeper who prefers grass to a gourmet honey crop flower source???? If you are hard up and need the hay maybe we can take up a collection.
 

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I have reclaimed several areas overrun with wild blackberries, english rose, oregon grape, small hardwoods and small cedars totaling about 3/4 an acre by regular mowing. (The first pass was slow going:rolleyes: with a chainsaw, loppers and a Billy Goat brush mower.) After a couple of seasons, the vines and canes give up.

I didn't spray herbicides because I was at the same time planting raspberries and thornless blackberries. In some instances I 'painted' full-strength glyphosate on cut [hardwood] stumps to prevent resprouting.

The herbicide Crossbow can be use to target blackberry plants and allow grasses to remain. A neighbor applied Crossbow to the areas along the heavily overgrown fence lines of a hayfield and I observed no damage to the hay area.

You may be interested in this page on blackberry control: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/node/580
 

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I would brush hog it all down low, then turn ground under (deep) let it sit for a couple of weeks then rake into a pile and burn. Plant it with a clover wild flower mix if you are wanting it for bees, for hay plant alpha/clover mix.
 

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if you are worried about killing your bees, just bushog it when they are not in bloom or at night and when the regrowth gets about 6in tall and no flowers spray it with whatever weed killer of your choice as the bees will not have any interest in it again.
 

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Remedy ultra(triclopyr) is pretty effective on blackberries. Mow in the fall and then spray in the spring or mow now and spray in the fall. Fall spraying is supposed to be better. and spraying while berries are growing decreases success. Ypung leaves soak up the spray better, that is why mowing now and spraying later is good. I sprayed a grown up field this spring with remedy and it was very effective. Now it is in buckwheat and in September I will plant white and yellow clover. Bees will be satisfied with my efforts I think. Maybe Vance won't be though. Along the side of the field I sewed black eyed susans, joe pye weed, cosmos, poppies, salvia and a bunch of other wild flower seed.
 

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I have 70 acres in permanent pasture. Blackberries and especially dewberries had become a big problem in much of it. A few weeks ago I sprayed about 200 gallons of Remedy(don't mix another herbicide with it). Make sure you add the proper amount of Surfactant. Read the instructions and make sure you are at the proper ground speed for the correct dosage for proper coverage. Briars should not be bushhogged for at least 6 months and preferably a year prior to spraying. Remedy works on briars that are mature and does not do nearly as well on immature plants. It is most effective during or just after bloom. (Sorry, bees) I just extracted a bumper crop of honey. It shouldn't affect the bees much if at all. It seems to be working well. There were some young plants that I assume came from last year's seed and I expect some of that to regrow and have to do spot spraying next spring.

My info came from my local Agr Agent plus:

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ag238

http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-2145/ANR-2145.pdf

http://www.lsuagcenter.com/NR/rdonl...-48E1B2AB0E51/79078/2011BeefForageReport1.pdf

Good luck.

PS: My Ag Agent said proper lime (which I hadn't done) will help prevent the problem.
 

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Craigslist ad - just in time for fall planting - free organic blackberries, you dig - first come, first served

Will be gone in no time during the right time of year.
 

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WE have goats they eat the tops. Roundup kills them back but still the runners manage to survive. Best we do is dig up the root balls and keep at it. Burning off the rubbish only seems to make the next crop of them stronger.
 

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You've gotten some good advice on herbicides with Remedy and Crossbow. I think Remedy may be a restricted use herbicide, but it may not be, it's been a while since I bought any.

I don't mind blackberries on fence rows but I won't let them grow in one of our fields.

It's your land, don't let the naysayers dissuade you from doing as you wish.

Alfalfa was suggested as a crop in one post. Alfalfa won't make it in Crenshaw county. I have a nice little field of it here, but I'm 3 1/2 hours north of you and live on a mountain. Your two best choices to plant would be to sprig a good variety of bermuda, like Tifton 44, or to plant Bahia grass. I hate Bahia, but it does well in your area. Tifton 44 bermuda is an "open crown" bermuda, meaning that it's growth habit allows sunlight to penetrate deeply enough to plant a companion crop with it. If you want to make it bee friendly you could plant a Ladino clover, like Durana or Patriot with the bermuda. Having clover in the field will greatly limit your choices on herbicide treatments in the future.
 

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I second Brad Bee. The way this year is going for us, lots of rain and no time to cut, hay is going to be valuable. I've had luck with the 2,4-D and as long as you mix it right you won't necessarily kill the clover stands but it will stun them.
 

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I have a similar problem with wild plums at my mother's farm. I was thinking of using a contact herbicide like that used in the cranberry bogs. It is put on a foam roller, and since the weeds are taller than the cranberries, only the weeds touch the roller. This may be called a "wick" application.

I will contact my cranberry buddy, and reply back.

Crazy Roland
 

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I third Brad bee.
It is your land, manage it to your liking. I find a great healthy hayfield with grasses and white clover to be of great value to the bees. Some might see killing blackberries and goldenrod as a slight towards your bees. These are two hardy plants that can grow ANYWHERE. Goldenrod is a weed around here. Ditches are full of it, as they are with wild blackberries. Bushhog fairly high, 6-8", wait until the new leaves are emerging fairly good, 1-2 weeks here, then spray with whatever herbicide you want ( I choose not to recommend any specific products, just check the label). I would recomend waiting 2 weeks and re-applying the herbicide for a solid kill. Keep bushhogged at a lower setting and spray as needed for the remainder of summer. By the fall your field should be ready for no till planting of grasses and legumes. See your local extension agent. Ours has a no till tow behind planter we can use for free, just sign up. Keep in mind, this plan will obviously keep you from cutting hay this year, and probably next, at least not a first cutting next year while the new field gets established. However, in the long run you should have a productive hayfield for the future. From the looks of the pictures, no matter what you do you have no chance of harvesting hay of any value this year or in the future without serious changes. The changes outlined above, in my opinion are the most cost effective way to turn an overgrown pasture into a hayfield. Good luck. G :thumbsup:
 

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I have a similar problem with wild plums at my mother's farm. I was thinking of using a contact herbicide like that used in the cranberry bogs. It is put on a foam roller, and since the weeds are taller than the cranberries, only the weeds touch the roller. This may be called a "wick" application.

I will contact my cranberry buddy, and reply back.

Crazy Roland
I have found this wicking application to be good for certain weeds in hayfields, milkweed for example. My concern is the heavy establishment of the blackberries. I fear most if not all of the favorable grasses below them have been choked out. JMO. I think for a desireable hayfield there needs to be a fresh start. JMO. Good Luck. G
 
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