blackberry (Rubus fruticosus)

Size: 
Thickets of blackberry can reach several metres in height and can cover many square metres in area.
Form: 
Ground Cover
Natural Distribution: 
Native to Europe, North America and Asia. It was introduced to Australia in the early 1830s and now covers more than 8.8 million hectares.
Description: 

Blackberry is a WONS weed (Weed of National Significance).

All Tasmanians are familiar with blackberry. It is probably the most widespread invasive weed in the state. It occurs in disturbed areas, and for this reason, is often seen along roadsides, tracks, fencelines, degraded pasture and any areas of neglect. Left uncontrolled, blackberry thickets become impenetrable infestations which smother native vegetation.

Blackberry, briar rose and boxthorn are the most painful weeds TEN volunteers have the 'pleasure' of dealing with. TEN have controlled most areas of blackberry infestations along the foreshore, with the exception of a small patch near the sewerage works which occurs on unstable land, and therefore out-of-bounds for us at present. Taroona Park also has isolated patches, particularly behind the Bowling Green/Skate Park and along the southern boundaries of the DPIPWE and IMAS properties. The Taroona High School bushland contain several small infestations in its gully. 

Blackberry does have habitat value. It provides food and shelter for several pest species (rabbits, feral cats, feral birds) and native animals (penguins and bandicoots). For this reason, where large infestations occur, staged removal of the plants and replacement with native species is performed so that native animals are not left without refuge.

Dispersal:  Blackberry fruits are eaten and disperse by animals and birds,

Control:  Small plants can be pulled or dug out (it is essential that all roots and stems are removed). Larger plants can be cut and pasted, but often will re-shoot and require follow up. Very large infestations must be sprayed with herbicide. Plant material should be bagged and removed. 

Please note:  If spraying blackberry, it is ILLEGAL to spray fruiting plants. 

(Blackberry photo from DPIPWE website, Klowa Fenner.)