Growing blackberries in your yard can be satisfying: these plants are prolific producers under the ideal conditions. However, seeing all of your efforts going to waste can be devastating. If you notice something is off with your plant, don’t despair. If you wonder: “what is eating my blackberry leaves?” look no further.
Here, you’ll find all you need to know to identify what could be the problem with your plant (and how to solve the issue).
Insects that Like to Eat Blackberry Leaves
Just like humans love the sweet taste of blackberries, insects won’t think twice about attacking your plants to feed on them. Different bugs can severely damage your crop.
Before we get into what you can do to prevent (or minimize) the problem, you should know what insects tend to attack blackberry leaves:
- Spider Mites
- Japanese Beetles
- Leaf-footed Bug
Depending on how severe the infestation is, you may need to use different control methods. Jump to the following section to learn more about treating blackberry plants for insects.
How to Treat Blackberry For Insects
If you can, always prefer organic remedies over chemical ones. You shouldn’t use pesticides unless the infestation is severe. After all, even if applying an insecticide is an effective way to eliminate bugs and insects, you might cause damage to other plants and harm beneficial insects.
There are a few commercial sprays you can use to protect your blackberry shrub from insects. Don’t forget that the appropriate product depends on your needs and which bug is causing your troubles.
Also, always follow instructions to avoid causing more damage than good to your plant.
Some products you can safely use on your plant include BTK, Malathion, Aliette, or Altacor.
Look for pesticides that contain glyphosate or triclopyr to get effective results without damaging your plant. BTK is our favorite choice because it falls under the “organic treatment” category.
Because you’ll be eating the berries, we recommend you “stay natural” and avoid dangerous compounds.
But if the infestation isn’t severe, you should have a go at natural remedies that can keep the bugs under control. To begin with, consider adding some companion plants (such as herbs, sunflowers, or black-eyed Susan) to attract beneficial pollinators and keep insects away from your blackberry plants.
Also, hand-pick the infected leaves to prevent further spread. Netting might also help prevent most pests from munching on your blackberry plant’s leaves.
If you are dealing with beetles, one of the best things you can do to eliminate them is spray dish soap on your plants. Do so in the early morning to get effective results. Don’t forget to repeat the process until you eliminate all the bugs.
Animals that Like to Eat Blackberry Plants
Besides bugs, animals also like to eat your blackberries. The species that might attack your plants depends on where you live. But usually, the animals that most likely won’t hesitate to attack your plants are:
How to Stop Animals from Eating Blackberry Plants
Don’t forget that some animals, like birds, can be a pest and an ally in your yard. Depending on which animal is causing you problems, you’ll have to take different measures.
Birds can help eliminate bugs and insects, including caterpillars, mosquitos, and mites (because they feed on them). But they might also find your blackberries more attractive and decide to attack your shrubs instead. You can stop them from harming your plants by adding bird neds to protect your berries.
If you live near the woods, you might be familiar with deer visiting your yard from time to time.
If you have a dog, let him outside during the night to scare away these mammals: they love feeding on blackberries and might cause severe damage to your garden if you don’t take the necessary precaution to keep them out. Alternatively, consider installing a tall fence.
When raccoons are the problem, we recommend placing motion-activated sprinklers near the plants you are trying to protect. It will scare these mammals away before they get to taste your blackberries!
You might also scare squirrels and raccoons by spreading blood meal or fox urine granules around your yard: the odor will deter them from getting to your garden. And if you have cats or dogs, they will help you keep these animals out of your property.
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