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Langley volunteers freed up native plants from invasive blackberries

More initiatives to enhance Bertrand Creek coming up

Shrubs and trees on the banks of Bertrand Creek in Aldergrove were freed from invasive berries last weekend, thanks to concerned community members.

On Saturday, residents in the neighbourhood, Bertrand Creek Enhancement Society members, and Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS) volunteers geared up to destroy the Himalayan blackberry canes, and in doing so free up native flora.

Many native roses, like the Nootka and Baldhip, were planted at the site, but have not been getting appropriate resources to flourish, explained Lisa Dreves, stewardship coordinator for LEPS.

 RELATED: VIDEO: Battling invading plants in Langley

“These roses are excellent native plants, feed bees with their flowers in the spring and their rose hips in the fall and winter are enjoyed by the birds,” said Dreves.

Formally addressed as Rubus armeniacus, the Himalayan blackberry should not be confused with the two blackberry species native to Canada, the trailing blackberry and the salmonberry, she elaborated.

The Himalayan blackberry is a tenacious, fast-growing Eurasian biennial plant that was imported to Canada in the mid-19th century. It was valued for its fruit, which was larger and sweeter than other varieties, but it soon grew out of hand, with birds and other animals devouring the fruit and spreading the seeds.

During the two-hour cleanup, the team of volunteers chopped the blackberry canes to less than 30 centimetres.

Dreves explained that the invasive species were not cut off from the roots as they were mixed in with the native plants. She added that blackberries have less chance of successfully rooting when trimmed.

“It is so satisfying to see the trees freed after working so hard and getting prickled by the blackberries,” said Angela Wonitowy, a member of the enhancement society.

READ MORE: Ideas that make Langley farms more sustainable could get some green

Bertrand Creek Enhancement Society, a more than 25-years-old organization, is working to enhance the banks of the creek, which flows south through the community of Aldergrove in the Township of Langley, and is a cross-border tributary of the Nooksack River.

Dreves said the society had gained numerous active members in the past few years, joining a team that is frequently stepping up to make a difference in the community.

The Langley-based society wants to hold more such cleanups in the coming months. For more information, people can visit their website, Those interested in helping out can contact Dreves through


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Tanmay Ahluwalia

About the Author: Tanmay Ahluwalia

Tanmay Ahluwalia is a journalist with a digital mindset and a proud alumnus of the University of Delhi.
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