The problem is weed control. Plasticulture is the typical weed control used for blackberries. The plastic or fabric does not break down quickly thus making soil moisture and soil enrichment very difficult to regulate. Also, the plastic can heat the plant roots systems too quickly in spring making the plants susceptible to frost damage.
I propose using a biodegradable barrier, such as “heavyweight paper weed barrier.” The biodegradable paper should smother weeds within the first and second year as the blackberries spread and become established. The paper will also break down into the soil, thus enriching the soil with organic matter and promoting even soil moisture.
Project objectives from proposal:
I will measure the percent of weeds versus the amount of berry canes within 1 square meter. There are 6 rows of 150 ft. each. Each row will be split in half: one half will be biodegradable paper barrier and the other half a plastic barrier. I will compare the two weed barriers on the six rows.