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    Landcare News Items

    Blackberry in the New England

    BlackberryIt is the responsibility of all land owners and managers to control weeds on their lands (Biosecurity Act 2015 – General Biosecurity Duty). With the recent enactment of the Biosecurity legislation in NSW it is also the responsibility of landholders to ensure they do not allow weeds to spread to neighboring properties. An example of unintentional weed spread is blackberries as seeds are largely spread by birds and animals that eat the fruit and excrete seed elsewhere. This highlights the need for all land managers to treat blackberry and other weeds on their land so as to minimise or prevent their spread.

    During the mid 1900’s the New England was so heavily infested with blackberries that stock could no longer access water in any of the creeks or rivers. They also harbored huge populations of rabbits which often out competed livestock for feed. This was the stimulus for the Governor of NSW to proclaim the New England Tablelands (Noxious Plants) County Council in 1947 and charge it with responsibility for eradicating
    noxious weeds on the Northern Tablelands. We now more commonly known as New England Weeds Authority (NEWA).

    Things have improved significantly since then but it’s easy to let blackberry get away, one good wet year and blackberries can take over. February to April is generally the ideal time to treat blackberry. Best results are obtained when blackberry is treated after flowering, when the leaves have hardened and the plant is healthy and actively growing. It is critical when spraying that you get thorough coverage of both leaves and canes to achieve best results. It is easy to kill young blackberry plants with herbicide, but well established blackberry have a large number of root crowns of different ages. The older and bigger ones are harder to kill and may require follow up treatment again the following year.

    When it comes to the use of herbicides for weed control NEWA promotes informed use – the right herbicide, at the correct rate and at the best time. Many areas of the Northern Tablelands are currently quite dry. If blackberries, or other weeds, are showing signs of water stress effective control will not be achieved. It is best to wait until the plants are healthy and actively growing. For help with weed identification and management please contact any of our Biosecurity Officers (Weeds) on 67703602, call into our office at 129 Rusden St Armidale or visit www.newa.com.au.

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