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Replacing wild brambles with cultivated soft fruit?

The westerly boundary of our allotment is currently full of wild brambles. Approximately 1.5m x 8m is covered in them. They are under grown by nettles, docks and bindweed. But they are very fruitful and we made several jars of jam from them last summer. 

My fiancée and I are novice allotmenteers. We’re debating whether to remove all of this and replace it with a cultivated soft fruit area. This would be my preference. 

In favour of doing that: 

- We can plant something less vigorous and thornless 
- It can be different soft fruits of our own choices
- Get the weeds under control 
- I like order and structure and can use the existing fence for training the new fruit
- I’m planning an adjacent flowerbed and don’t fancy pulling suckers out of it all year round
- Should reduce some late afternoon/evening shade on the veg beds

Against doing that: 

- We know they grow well and once they’re out, they’re out
- They give us privacy as the boundary runs along a footpath and there is a communal tap there 
- It’s going to be a lot of work to clear it 
- If I dig them out now (which is my plan whilst my work is less busy given current events) then we won’t get a crop this summer

We’d be grateful for any input!

Many thanks 


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,852
    If that’s on your boundary my instinct would be to leave the blackberries but keep the long branches trimmed back so ther don’t invade the allotment. There’s no fruit with as good a flavour as wild blackberries ... and they’re brilliant for wildlife 😊 

    I’d grow some gooseberries and black currants etc in another part of the allotment ... keep the area near the blackberries for crops that will need regular cultivation so it’s easier to stop the blackberries from invading. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286
    I would opt to keep the wild berries. We have a 'tame' wild blackberry bush in the garden, the taste, well nothing like it. Treat them like a cultivated variety, the rewards are great.

    They won't be the easiest thing to clear. I've only done it successfully using chemicals such as root out, then waiting a long time for the roots to rot out before cultivating the land.
  • Thank you both. Looks like the missus wins this one! I’ll need to figure out how to get them under control and sort out the weed situation underneath them. 
  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,478
    And she's still only your fiancée?  If you pm me on nickatipixnetdotcom I can do you a good turn with your runner bean row?
  • mrtjformanmrtjforman Posts: 331
    edited April 2020
    you say you realize it is a lot of work but whatever work you think it will require, multiply it by 10 and then re-evaluate if it is worth it.

    On top of that consider that any fruit bush you plant in its place will take 3-5 years to become "as productive" - I write that in quotation marks because some varieties have superior taste but rarely outperform a wild growing plant.

    Lastly losing your cover to the public and the privacy might be worth more than you realize and once it's gone it's gone.

    Wild berries provide food for birds (and jam) which will make bird leave your crops alone. You destroy their food, they will eat your crops instead.

    Lastly if it is accessible from the footpath, brambles are the best kid deterrent - better than a fence. Last thing you want is for kids to go exploring your allotment at night.
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