Before we bought our farm, this patch of blackberries was poisoned by the previous owners. Everything died, and it went to bare soil. Then the ever-unpopular tobacco tree, thistle, lantana, privet and you guessed it, more blackberries took over. Now readers, what…. is nature saying to us, albeit screaming to us?! Something is very wrong with the management. By poisoning it has created the PERFECT environment for weeds to grow. (A background to this story is the cattle that were grazing the farm were set stocked, re-grazing young grass never allowing it to reach maturity, creating an environment where pastures were overgrazed and not allowed to recover, which helped the blackberries proliferate.)

My solution: clean up slash as seen, with cut material acting as a mulch and covering soil, and use the cattle to mow, then let it fully recover. Longer grass will suppress weed growth and we therefore tip the balance back in our favour. (All these weeds struggle when pastures are suffocating then to death) If some weeds come back through, when it’s time for cattle to graze again, we will feed them some hay on that patch to create positive disturbance on the ground to break up vines. Then we let pasture recover again and repeat the process, inviting pastures to succeed, focusing on what we WANT, not focusing on what we don’t want and looking for a quick fix.

The irony of this whole thing?- the quick fix that was used…….turned out to be the hardest work of all