Three experiments were performed to determine the effect of amending the soil surface layer and mulching with hydrophobic kaolin particle on weeds and blackberry (Rubus subgenus Rubus Watson) plants. In the first study a processed kaolin material (product M-96-018, Engelhard Corporation, Iselin, N.J.), was incorporated in August into the top 3 cm of freshly roto-tilled field that had been in pasture the previous 5 years. The following spring, dry weight of weed vegetation in the control treatment was 219 g·m–2 and was significantly higher (P = 0.05) than the 24 g·m–2 harvested from the treated soil. In two other studies, planting holes for blackberry transplants were either 1) pre- or postplant mulched with a 2- or 4-cm layer of 5% or 10% hydrophobic kaolin in field soil (w/w), or 2) postplant treated with a) napropamide, b) corn gluten meal, c) a product comprised of hydrous kaolin, cotton seed oil, and calcium chloride in water (KOL), d) hand weeded, or e) left untreated. Although untreated plots had 100% weed cover by the end of July, herbicide treatments, 4-cm deposition of hydrophobic kaolin particle/soil mulch, and KOL all suppressed weeds the entire establishment year. Preplant application of hydrophobic kaolin mulch and postplant application of KOL reduced blackberry growth and killed transplants, respectively. In year 2, blackberry plants produced more primocanes that were on average 10-cm taller in weed-free plots (herbicide, 4-cm kaolin soil mulch, and mechanical weeding) than in weedy plots (control and 2-cm kaolin soil mulch). In year 3, yield was significantly lower in control plots (1.5 kg/plant) than in plots that were treated with napropamide and 2- and 4-cm hydrophobic kaolin mulch, or hand weeded during the establishment year (4 kg/plant). The results showed that 4-cm hydrophobic kaolin mulch applied after planting can suppress weeds without affecting blackberry productivity. These kaolin products are excellent additions to the arsenal of tools for managing weeds in horticultural crops.