|Before clearing blackberries. 5.10.16|
However, after seeing the results, my intent is to clear all of the brambles from this part of our property. Originally, blackberry thickets covered about 1/4 acre of this 1 acre parcel. I have cleared, maybe 2/3 of the brambles now.
|Before and after removing blackberries. 5.10.16|
|After removing an area of blackberries. 5.10.16|
Gradually, the land is cleared. Cut blackberry stems are like dry sponge. The seem to degrade fairly fast, easier than tree stems. I made some very large piles in an out of the way location, so they will compost themselves. The compost will be added to garden beds. Composting may take a year.
|Six months after removing blackberries. 5.10.16|
The photos are separate parts of the cleared and uncleared areas. I did not think to take actual before photos. The cleared area was actually worse than what I have not done yet - brambles were 25 feet into the trees, and the depth of the thicket was greater.
The hawthorne trees in this area are unstable, weak and falling. They look nice when cleaned up a bit, but I don't think they will last very long. We've planted cyprus to protect the soil, which a bit beyond this area slopes into a ravine and creek, and for privacy. Cyprus grow rapidly and thick, so the intent is to shade out any remaining blackberries - this photo faces south, with the forested area north of the cyprus trees. They are a hybrid cypress which does not make seeds so is not invasive.
There may be some cool mornings this summer when I can clear more. I'll hold up seeding more grass until then, when rains will help it establish. Meanwhile, ripe blackberries will be much easier to harvest adjacent to sections that I have already cleared.