En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Sunday - January 25, 2009

From: Fair Oaks, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives, Problem Plants
Title: Clearing out non-native Himalayan blackberry
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can you recommend a way to clear an area of Himalayan blackberry? We have cut the canes back but wish to eliminate them completely so that we can replant that area with native plants attractive to wildlife. I live in the Sacramento area and have a property that slopes to a creek and then to the American River Parkway beyond. Any suggestions would be most appreciated. Thanks very much!

ANSWER:

We are not sure where the Himalayan blackberry got its name; likely some commercial nursery was looking for a name that would evoke thoughts of clear mountain air and fresh, pure fruit. They probably did not want the customer to think of the thorny thickets that reproduce aggressively, take over stream beds and shade out more desirable native vegetation. We found the plant identified with three different scientific names, Rubus procerns, Rubus discolor and Rubus armeniacus, none of which are native to North America.

Your state has been particularly unlucky with this plant. See this website from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park Invasive and Non-Native Plants - Himalayan Blackberry.That site details the problems and has some suggestions for holding it at bay, if not destroying it. Ways of distinguishing this aggressor from less invasive native blackberries are listed, with pictures. 

Another site with information about the Himalayan blackberry in the Northwest is this one from Washington State University The Ten Most Un-Wanted Pests Himalayan Blackberry.

Both sites agree that persistence is about the only way to actually get rid of the plant. Constantly cutting off the canes at the ground will eventually starve the plant, but it can sucker from stems lying on the ground, and quickly spreads. One suggestion is to cut off the canes close to the ground and immediately paint the raw stump with an appropriate herbicide. It should be painted within 5 minutes of the cut, in order to get the material started to the roots before the cut begins to heal over. Another idea is to cut off the canes and then grub out the roots. Keep an eye out all the time for fresh suckers and yank them off the minute they are spotted. Don't spray herbicides as the spray can easily drift to a more desirable plant, and certainly never spray around berries that might be eaten. 


 

More Non-Natives Questions

Nativity of Salvia coccinea (scarlet sage)
September 14, 2011 - Is Salvia coccinea native to Florida? In wikipedia they say it is native to Mexico.
view the full question and answer

Care of non-native Oleander
June 11, 2008 - I want my oleanders to bloom but they keep getting attacked by tiny orange aphids that clump up on the newest growth. I read that oleanders only bloom on old growth but those orange mites/aphids are ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning practices from Austin
May 16, 2013 - I need to do some pruning in my front beds and I know nothing about plants. From what I have been able to identify I have bicolor irises, plumbago, Japanese Aralia. I don't even know where to begin o...
view the full question and answer

What's invading my bermuda grass?
June 11, 2013 - Our grass is being totally overrun by this weed.(I don't know what the name is identify it by the description. It is in Bermuda grass and the only way to describe the weed is to say it looks like big...
view the full question and answer

Care of Dracaena fragrans, cultivar
July 09, 2007 - I just recently purchased a tree which I was told was called a Dracaena or also corn plant. I can not seem to find a site that will inform me on how to take care of this tree. If you can please let ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center