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July 12, 2005

The Day of the Blackberries...

My standard line about our property is that it has two acres in grassland (a good deal of which is taken over by the Dread Armenian Yellow Star Thistle in August and September), two acres in seasonal creek and creekside oak forest (plus about fifteen twenty year-old redwoods planted in a location that is not quite moist enough for them), and one acre of blackberry thicket.

My description is now out of date.

It is now 1.5 acres of blackberries.

They have been slowly expanding for a while. But the pace has accelerated. The blackberries have used scrub jay-transported air assault to establish an airhead on the property just to the south of ours, have consolidated their hold, and are now coming through the fence--sending runners across the driveway asphalt.

Under cover of the extraordinarily wet and long spring, the main body of blackberries has sent runners out down the creekbed. Advancing this spring at a pace of nearly 3" per day, they have established outposts throughout much of the creekbed which they are threatening to consolidate--especially just upstream of the rude bridge by the small swingset.

Our local deer are useless--they are desperate to get even semi-ripe blackberries, but they won't seriously chomp on the thorny stems at all.

And we have only one truly heavy-duty long-handed clipper.

Clearly a trip to the garden store and a mid-summer counteroffensive are in order...

But what aobut the long term? Should we talk to the genetic engineering people about possibilities for blackberry control via special blight? Should we be thinking about contracting with Goats 'R' Us?

Posted by DeLong at July 12, 2005 03:07 PM