Weeding out … Blackberry

2020 12 21  Media Release Image - Blackberry.jpg

Council’s ‘Weeding out’ campaign aims to share important information on our region’s priority (unwanted) weeds. This week we’re focusing on blackberry as our weed of the week.

As we head into the warmer months, Snowy Monaro Regional Council is calling on all community members to get to know our region’s unwanted (priority) weeds so we can understand how to play our part to protect our environment, help our farmers and support our community.

The impact of weeds on natural vegetation can be devastating and is estimated to cost the NSW economy about $1.8 billion annually (NSW Department of Industry, 2018).

What is blackberry?

Blackberries (Rubus fruticosus agg.) were introduced into Australia from Britain in the 1840s for fruit and for making hedgerows. Shortly after, they escaped into the wild and by the 1880s had become significant weeds.

Blackberries thrive in a wide range of habitats, invading both grazing lands and natural ecosystems. Seeds are spread by birds and foxes and carried along waterways. Blackberry is a Weed of National Significance and a priority weed in the Snowy Monaro Regional Council area. Integrated weed management is most effective in controlling blackberry.

Why is blackberry a problem?

Blackberry is a priority weed that spreads rapidly and infests large areas.

• It forms dense impenetrable thickets

• It dominates cultivated lands, native vegetation and in particular, waterways

• It reduces biodiversity and habitat for native animals

• It fuels bushfires

• It provides harbour for vermin such as rabbits and foxes and abundant food for introduced bird species such as starlings and blackbirds.

It is difficult to control the spread of blackberry. Blackberry reproduces by seed, root suckers and at stem tips. Birds, animals and livestock eat the fruit that then spread blackberry.

What can you do?

• Learn to identify and effectively control blackberry.

• Search your property for new germinations or regrowth of blackberry.

• If you have a small number of plants to control, you can remove the fruit before digging out or spraying.

• Herbicide application is widely used and effective. However, it is most effective when implemented as part of an integrated weed control program in conjunction with manual removal, mulching, burning and/or intensive grazing with suitable livestock species.

• Australia does have a few native species of Rubus. Be aware that native blackberries do occur on the Monaro. These are generally smaller, fine leaved plants and not invasive weeds. Council’s Biosecurity officers can help you determine which blackberry you have on your lands and how best to manage it.

• Download the free NSW WeedWise app for detailed information on how to identify and manage local priority weeds. https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/biosecurity/weeds

• Visit Council’s website to understand how we can help you with weeds management. https://www.snowymonaro.nsw.gov.au/140/Biosecurity-and-Weeds

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