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Himalayan blackberry

Himalayan blackberry

Himalayan blackberry

(Rubus armeniacus)

Priority: -  Control

Tags: Terrestrial

Overview

Identification:

Dense, evergreen shrub that grows in thickets. Canes grow to 3 m in height and up to 12 m in length. First year canes produce leaves only and can root at the tips, producing daughter plants. Second year canes grow from the axils of first year canes and produce flowers and fruits.Stems are stiff and five-angled with large prickles.

Leaves are grouped in fives or threes.

Flowers are small clusters, white to pink, stalked, and five-petaled.

Reproduction:

Himalayan blackberry is mostly biennial and reproduces by seed, vegetatively by rooting at stem tips to form daughter plants, and sprouts from root buds. Plants begin flowering in spring with fruit ripening in midsummer to late August. Thickets can produce 7,000-13,000 seeds per square meter, and seeds can remain viable in the soil for several years. Fruiting stems generally die back at the end of the season, but non-fruiting stems may persist for several years before producing fruit. Seeds are dispersed by birds and omnivorous mammals. Dispersal also occurs with root and stem fragments.

 

Habitat & Ecology

Found on disturbed sites, roadsides, pastures, stream-banks, and forest edges.

Impacts

Outcompetes native vegetation, prevents growth of native trees, prevents access for recreation, has prickles which scratch rip clothing and scratch skin, reduces aesthetics, thwarts restoration efforts, increases erosion, reduces sigh lines on roadways. Fruit flies overwinter in Himalayan blackberry berries, which when they emerge in Spring, impact agricultural berry crops.

Management

Manual/Mechanical Control:

Mowing is effective, but can also damage native species. If roots are not manually removed, mowing several times per year for 3-5 years is necessary to exhaust root reserves. If mowing is only conducted once per year it should be done as plants begin to flower.

Persistent tilling or cutting in combination with mowing can be effective. This method is most effective if followed up with spot applications of herbicide or removal of entire root system.

If plants are cut, all plant material must be collected in bags and incinerated or buried deeply at a landfill.

Click here for a manual/mechanical management prescription for Himalayan blackberry.

 

 

Chemical Control:

Chemical control using a wick, selective foliar spraying, or stem injection/cut and paint application is most effective prior to Fall leaf discolouration.

Click here for a chemical management prescription for Himalayan blackberry.

Resources

Download the Invasive Species Council of BC's TIPS sheet on Himalayan blackberry here.