How to Remove Himalayan Blackberry a Step-by-Step Tutorial using common hand tools. The key to successfully getting rid of blackberries is removing the root nodule and as much of the attached roots as you can. This is easiest when the soil is moist and crumbly in late Spring, not when its rock hard after Summer's drying heat.
1 Starting on the outer edges of the plant trim each cane/stem of the plant back 8-12 inches at a clip using short to medium length handled loppers. Note, if you are going to be removing the canes from the site (vs simply letting them decompose on the ground) then cut them in convenient lengths for hauling away, e.g. 1-2 foot lengths if you are hauling them away in a wheel barrow or placing into a yard debris can.
Continue cutting until only one or two canes of about 6-8 inches are left standing above the ground.
2a Place the tip of your shovel about 3-5 inches in front of where the canes enter the ground and push the shovel into the ground as far as you can.
2b Tilt the shovel handle back to see if you can lift the root nodule out of the round. If not turn 90 degrees from your first "cut" with the shovel and repeat until the root nodule easily lifts above the ground.
3a If you are using a grub hoe, the process is similar. Swing your medium to long handled grub hoe so that the metal tines plunge into the ground about 3-5 inches behind where the canes of the blackberry come up out of the ground.
3b Then push the top of the grub hoe handle away from you to try and lift the root nodule out of the ground. Once you have the nodule above ground you should be able to easily pull it, and possibly some attached roots, out of the ground.
If the tines come up empty, try swinging them closer to the plant, and or rotate 90 degrees relative to your first plunge.
4 To prevent them from sprouting new roots, place the removed nodules and roots on weed barrier fabric, a nearby log, or any place they can dry out without contacting moist soil. The cane clippings can be left on the ground and will decompose and disappear in about a year or two.
Very young first year growth can sometimes simply be pulled out of the ground when the ground is still moist. If the cane breaks off above ground level you will then have to use one of the above methods to find and remove the buried nodule.
If the berry bushes are large and have already fruited one or more times you may have to repeat these steps each year until the supply of blackberry seed from earlier fruiting has been exhausted. It gets eaiser each year.
Special Thanks to Emily Dana who patiently posed for each of these photos and made many helpful suggestions. All photos by Victor von Salza.