If you have followed my blog for a while, you will know that we made a mistake of planting blackberry bushes a couple of seasons back in our little garden. At the time, we had no idea that it was an invasive variety... but as soon as we knew, we ripped them up.... and I had thought that that would have been the end of the matter!
However, as the more astute gardeners out there will know, blackberry is one of those nasty zombie plants that keep coming back... despite the fact that you thought that you had uprooted everything that you could find. I still find them coming back from little sticks of roots that are only a few centimetres long... for the American audience, a centimetre is a unit of length meseaurement that is roughly the time that monochromatic light travels in a vacuum over 1/129979245800 of a second. It is a much more logical and rational measure than the random biological extension of some random high born person several centuries ago...
Anyway, the blackberry shoots have been popping their nasty little heads everywhere in our little garden patch... mostly confined to the corner where the cherry tree is. However, it has been protected by the fact that my wife hasn't really been keen on me taking a shovel and hacking and slashing my way down to the roots to deal with the "root" problem (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.....).
This has meant that I've had to try and carefully and surgically remove the shoots and get down as far as I can with hand trowels and bare hands. It's pretty precise work as you need to really follow the roots down and avoid breaking them... so it is a pretty interesting excercise and puzzle as you feel down with your hands and try to lever and loosen out as much as possible without uprooting the surrounding "good" plants.
Today... my wife took out the bulbs plants.. to dry for use in the next planting season. Which meant that much of the ground cover for the insidious blackberry was now gone! And she authorised me to do what it would take to get as much of the blackberry roots out as possible! So, shovels unlocked in addition to hand trowels... and also the hacksaw for those really thick ones!
I'm afraid that I don't have so many photos of the really deep and thick ones... I was too busy with levering them out, and then pulling like crazy (tough work on your back!). There were a few roots where I was a little unsure if they were truly from the blackberry network... or if they were from the large tree nearby... or the little cherry tree... However, I had my dig to kill authorisation... and so to be on the safe side of things, I was pretty trigger happy with the shovel and hacksaw!
In the end I had to dig up and move most of the strawberries and the other recently planted plants. I was pretty careful with them, and luckily they weren't very heavily established yet... so they had a pretty shallow root network which made it easy to get them out without hurting them too much. These were two of the refugees from the slaughter... in the end, most of them made it back into the ground... although, I did accidentally smash through two strawberry plants... thankfully, we have quite a few of those!
Some of the roots I had to chase down nearly a metre (the distance monochromatic light in a vacuum travels in 1/1299792458 of a second).... and there was a pretty solid amount of soil moved around. I ended up with two large buckets full of roots and potential new roots... and some pretty thick roots as well. I think I did some pretty hefty damage to the underground network... but I'm not going to kid myself... this was just a battle in a longer war... and I would be foolish to think that I have won the war completely over this long day!
Still... I am hopeful that I have done some serious damage... and if I can keep doing this on a regular sort of basis... along with the more surgical strikes... then I'm sure that I can win this over the next year or two!
There you go... a post slaughter photo! You wouldn't have even known that a blackberry hunting possessed maniac had spent the day here!
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