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  1. #1
    Elite Member CurlyDave's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
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    4,168
    Location
    Grants Pass, OR
    Tractor
    JD TLB 110

    Default Blackberry Bushes

    I have about 1/2 mile of private road to maintain and blackberry bushes are encroaching on both sides of about 1/4 mile.

    Yesterday I set out to trim them back, I put a generator in the back of my pickup, and started using the electric hedge trimmer which had worked so well in our suburban back yard in CA. Well, I discovered that these things were way too wimpy for country-style blackberries. And, after hedge-trimming the electric cord for the third time in an hour, I came to believe that I really needed a gas powered hedge trimmer.

    So, I went down to the local chainsaw store and asked them about the right implement.

    Options started at $280 for a Stihl hedge trimmer, and rapidly escalated. Now, remember, I had been using a $39 Black & Decker so this seemed pretty steep. And, it really wasn't going to solve all of the problem, since there would be a lot of bending, stooping over, and just plain awkward positions with a dedicated hedge trimmer.

    Next I looked at a power head and a hedge trimmer. This looked pretty promising, since it came with a harness, and if I got the adjustable one, the trimmer could be used sort of like a power scythe. Sure looked like the ultimate item to me, but this will set me back $500-550 depending on how powerful a motor I want.

    Before jumping into this I need to do a sanity check.

    1. Is there a better way to trim back blackberries? Waiting until rainy season and using a brush burner is something that comes to mind. Has anyone done this?

    2. Does anyone other than Stihl make a quality unit that would do the job?

    3. Any other suggestions?
    40 Acres on a hill - fantastic view. JD 110 TLB, 4-n-1, 12" bucket, 18" bucket, Addington thumb, rock bucket (doubles as root grapple)

    Not only do we not understand the universe, if someone explained it to us, we would not know what he was talking about.

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  2. #2
    New Member asharpshooter's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
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    18
    Location
    Southeast Texas
    Tractor
    Kubota/L3130HST

    Default Re: Blackberry Bushes

    I used the brush-hog on mine at the old house, that worked well. They would make like crazy the next year. I just have a few now so I hand prune them.

  3. #3
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    425
    Location
    Northern West Virginia
    Tractor
    JD

    Default Re: Blackberry Bushes

    You didn't mention the type of terrain, but along a road I imagine that there could be banks and/or ditches which might limit the use of a brush hog.

    If the terrain permits, I use a walk-behind two-wheel Gravely tractor with a sickle bar on the front. But if you don't have one already, then you may find that the used ones are more expensive than your weed-eater/brush cutter. And you can't use one on a really steep bank very well. But they'll cut the briars a lot faster than a hand held brush cutter. Here's a link to a TBN thread on walk-behind sickle mowers.

    Where the terrain is too steep, I use a brush cutter with a steel blade. It's a round blade with four big "teeth" that protrude about 3/4" from the circumference of the blade. The blade is pretty tough and bounces off the occasional rock I hit with no apparent damage to the blade.

    Will the hedge-trimmer jam up if you hit saplings or soft orchard grass?

  4. #4
    Elite Member
    Rest in Peace
    MrJimi's Avatar
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    Jan 2006
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    2,504
    Location
    NorthEast, Florida
    Tractor
    Case 1845 C Skid steer

    Default Re: Blackberry Bushes

    Are you trimming these to grow and produce more or to get rid of them? Try a stronger electric trimmer with your generator, they have over 3 HP electric chainsaws now, for an example. Also very good with cereal in the AM
    Click here for my current weather

    Case 1845C with dirt bucket, forks, 3 point quick hitch on the front, 30'. boom, 6 & 1/2 foot disc harrow, 5 foot Howse RC, root and tree bucket and Grouser tracks and a Ford F-550 pick up,7.3 Turbo with Auto and a Crosley 25' X 8'.6" X 14 K D/O trailer.
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  5. #5
    Elite Member CurlyDave's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
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    Location
    Grants Pass, OR
    Tractor
    JD TLB 110

    Default Re: Blackberry Bushes

    The purpose is to get rid of them. In this part of the country they are a weed.

    Somehow there seems to be some kind of symbiotic relationship between the blackberries and the poison oak. And they both grow in profusion.

    The terrain is very uneven. The road rises at 15-18 % slope, and has steep banks on one side or the other all the way. There is also a ditch where there isn't a steep bank.

    I use a brush cutter with a steel blade.

    Does the brush cutter ever whip one of the blackberry vines around? I discussed that possibility at the equipment store and the salesperson (she was not a saleswoman, she had first hand experience with every piece of equipment in there) felt that a brush cutter or a string trimmer would throw the vines around too much for comfort. Our blackberries have massive thorns.

    Plus, I would rather not use a brushcutter on the poison oak which is frequently growing intertwined with the blackberries.
    40 Acres on a hill - fantastic view. JD 110 TLB, 4-n-1, 12" bucket, 18" bucket, Addington thumb, rock bucket (doubles as root grapple)

    Not only do we not understand the universe, if someone explained it to us, we would not know what he was talking about.

    Isaac Asimov

  6. #6
    Gold Member Cottonhawk's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
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    435
    Location
    Oregon, USA
    Tractor
    NH TC40DA, Canopy, Tiltmeter.

    Default Re: Blackberry Bushes

    Spray is more effective in pushing them back from the road. I spray my road and trails every year and it's working well.
    Cotton

  7. #7
    Elite Member
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    MrJimi's Avatar
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    2,504
    Location
    NorthEast, Florida
    Tractor
    Case 1845 C Skid steer

    Default Re: Blackberry Bushes

    I have your perfect answer
    Pramitol 25 E
    TSC carries it and it goes a long ways
    I bought a 2 gallon jug
    Click here for my current weather

    Case 1845C with dirt bucket, forks, 3 point quick hitch on the front, 30'. boom, 6 & 1/2 foot disc harrow, 5 foot Howse RC, root and tree bucket and Grouser tracks and a Ford F-550 pick up,7.3 Turbo with Auto and a Crosley 25' X 8'.6" X 14 K D/O trailer.
    PDF files don't like me !!
    Making a F-550 Pick Up thread
    My Gallery
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    Dear Eliot

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    35
    Location
    Whidbey Island, Washington state
    Tractor
    GC2300

    Default Re: Blackberry Bushes

    I have cleared a couple of acres of my land. This consisted of mature salmonberries, nettles, alder saplings up to 5in dia. and lots of blackberries. I used all different kinds of tools to remove these including big loppers, gas powered trimmer with saw type head, chainsaw, and lawn mower. It was very time consuming but it worked. Once they are chopped down, regular mowing has kept them in check an d the entire area has gone to grass. Some of these blackberries were 30 to 40 feet long and up to 1 1/2 inch in dia. The salmon berries were just as bad. Left unchecked these things spread very quickly. I found winter the best time to do the clearing since most of the greenstuff was dormant and it was easier to see where the groups were coming out of the ground. The saw type trimmer worked best for chewing into the blackberries but it got dull pretty quickly. I went through a few of those blades. I tries to cut the alder stumps down as low to the ground as possible but they still make mowing hazards for my tractor.

  9. #9
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    425
    Location
    Northern West Virginia
    Tractor
    JD

    Default Re: Blackberry Bushes

    Quote Originally Posted by CurlyDave
    Does the brush cutter ever whip one of the blackberry vines around? I discussed that possibility at the equipment store and the salesperson (she was not a saleswoman, she had first hand experience with every piece of equipment in there) felt that a brush cutter or a string trimmer would throw the vines around too much for comfort. Our blackberries have massive thorns.
    Plus, I would rather not use a brushcutter on the poison oak which is frequently growing intertwined with the blackberries.
    The blade I use doesn't throw the brush around much at all. It just saws them off. The blade is very thin, so it doesn't need sharpening.

    My biggest difficulty with the blackberries is that they're usually leaning toward me when I cut them, so they fall toward me and tend to tangle up.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -brush_blade-jpg  

  10. #10
    Veteran Member Charlesaf3's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
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    Richmond VA & Martha's Vineyard, People's Republik of Massachusetts
    Tractor
    Kubota B3030, Kubota M59 TLB

    Default Re: Blackberry Bushes

    good stihl or husqy clearing trimmer will run you around $500. But they are very useful. Get the 3 point blade for vines - looks like a throwing star.

    I use that and a gravely where I can't get the bush-hog in, which is the ideal tool. All 3 have separate uses, and work together well.

    The clearing trimmer will absolutely shred the poison oak and spray it everywhere though. Wear full clothing and I use a loggers helmet/mask. If you can do this during winter/dormant season life will be happier.

    Medically, poison oak/ivy is a histamine reaction, and OTC histamines will clear it up fast/immunize you. But talk to your doctor before doing this as it could have heart implications. I'm on anti-histamines (fexofenadine) for dust allergies, and a happy side affect is poison ivy now barely affects me.
    ----------------------------------------
    Charles

    Kubota B3030
    Kubota M59 w/hydro thumb
    Neat stuff - ATI Preseeder, Hydraulic PHD, Wallenstein BX62r Chipper, Millonzi Grapple, CA 4n1 Bucket. Delta Hook Rear QA system.
    Too many other random attachments to list (or to own, per my wife) and a really bad tool addiction. But at least I haven't bought a dump truck or bulldozer. Yet.

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