When Blackberries Go Wild

Ripe, juicy, sweet blackberries: what's not to love? Blackberries are grown for us to eat and enjoy, but some species can be considered weeds when they take over home landscapes, roadsides and waterways, and other areas. The most problematic species are the introduced wild blackberries, cutleaf blackberry and Himalayan blackberry. Blackberries can be highly competitive, smothering existing plants with their dense stands. Accumulation of dead stems can create a dangerous fire hazard. 

In urban landscapes, blackberry brambles can create habitat and food for wildlife and birds, but also for rats and other pests. When invasive wild blackberries take over a landscape with their thorny, fast-growing stems, the fruit may seem less loveable. However, since people enjoy the fruit, wild blackberry plants can be controlled to a desired level. 

The newly revised Pest Notes: Wild Blackberries, authored by UC Cooperative Extension advisor Scott Oneto and emeritus UC Davis weed scientist Joe DiTomaso, includes detailed descriptions of the wild blackberry species found in California, as well as information on how to control blackberry populations using mechanical and updated chemical management strategies. 

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