Cows vs. blackberry plants : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Do any of you cattle barons know whether cows will eat blackberry canes? I want to plant some alongside a pasture fence so that I can trellis the canes up the existing fence, instead of building a trellis. My neighbor grazes his cows on the other side of the fence, so I don't want to plant the berries if the cows are going to reach through the fence to get them. Any ideas?

-- Elizabeth (, March 27, 2001


Cattle will not eat blackberries. However, before planting them get your neighbors permission. If they ever have to upgrade the fence it is hell to do it through them.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, March 28, 2001.

Elizabeth, I had a Heinz 57 calf that would eat the leaves off of the wild blackberries in the pasture. Had them all picked clean by May. Only one I have ever seen do this. Maybe a fluke, but, possible.

-- Terri Perry (, March 28, 2001.

They will not eat the blackberry but will chow down on the leaves big time...My patch is in our pasture and produces very nicely thanks to a little fertilizer in the spring.. I haven't had a problem with them being totally stripped of leaves but that is because we never had a herd of cattle just a few at a time.. they like the honeysuckle leaves too..just wish they would get the vine!!!!!

-- Lynn(MO) (, March 28, 2001.

My cousin's cows and I have a race going on each summer to see who is going to get the blackberry fruit first. Last year, I won. Most years I don't. They will also eat the tender new leaves, but once the vine gets big spines they leave them alone. Domestic blackberry vines will have canes that can reach 12' so it might be difficult to pick them if trellised anyway. Folks here usually just plant them out in a row off to the side of the garden where they are out of the way. My former in-laws used to raise blackberries as their main crop. They used to have acres of berries all just planted in rows like you would corn, except further apart, of course.

-- Green (, March 28, 2001.

It depends on the cow, and the condition of the pasture. Some cows won't touch the things, others will eat them down to the ground. (Highlands and Longhorns have that reputation) If the pasture is sparse, they will be more likely to eat anything they can get.

If you want something that's easy to put up, I use extra long steel posts, high tensile wire, and the clamp on electric fence insulators. You'll need six bags of them, 2 short, 2 medium, and 2 long, with each set having one bag that clamps to the front of the post, and one set that clamps to the back. Set a wooden post at either end to support the tension, and drive your steel posts spaced to leave room for three plants between. To keep the wire from cutting the wooden posts, you can either buy thread on post insulator, or use short lengths of old garden hose. If you don't want to fool with the wooden posts, don't make the trellis any longer than two sections, and drive an extra steel post facing out on each end, with short clips for each level of wire. Space your insulators starting at about two feet from the ground for the short ones, the long ones at the top, and the mediums halfway between, each set having one clip facing each way. This will make a V of wire that you can thread the canes between for support. If you keep them pruned, they should be no trouble to tend or pick, and you can keep them mulched and mowed around to make things easier. I put up trellis for a dozen plants in just a few hours.

-- Connie (, April 03, 2001.

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