Blackberries

Blackberries

Blackberries and hybrid berries

Homegrown cultivated blackberries come with more yield. You can train the blackberries and hybrid berries in various ways. For example, you can train them on trellis, pergolas, and arches and along fences and walls.

You can also choose the thornless blackberry type. It is so easy for you and your children to go ‘blackberry picking’ which is great fun to do. You can grow the plant in containers. So, it is the best type when you don’t have enough space. 

Growing blackberries

  • Scatter one and a half handfuls per square metre/yard of high potassium fertilizer around the plant base in mid-spring. In my view the best fertilizer that you can use is the Vitax Q4.
  • Apply mulch to the plant every year. You must apply mulch up to 3 inches. 
  • Avoid applying mulch within 2 inches of the crown and new canes. It will help to prevent rotting. 
  • Water each of the plants every 7 to 10 days. 
  • Avoid extra watering to mature plants.
  • Water the mature plants every 10-14 days in dry summer

Pruning and training blackberries

Blackberries are healthy and grow fast when young growth start emerging. The second year of planting is the year when new canes emerge from the ground level. 

  • Collect all the new canes together 
  • Insert the four bamboo canes around the crown.
  • Pull all the new canes into the centre of the bamboo
  • Tie all these together
  • Twine the new canes around the square
  • Prune the one-year-old canes. You can then use the loppers to divide it into small sections. Extract the older canes carefully. Make sure their thorns don’t snag on developing canes.
blackberries

Planting blackberries

The best site for planting the blackberries is sunny and sheltered. Besides, it also requires drain free and moisture-retentive soil. You must apply organic matter into the heavy clay and sandy soil before planting. 

While planting more than one plant, make sure they got enough space to grow. Usually, it’s a cultivar’s vigour that decides the required spacing. The spacing required varies from 8 ft to 13 ft. 

It would be best if you covered the rootball of the plants with around 3 inches of soil. For vigorous cultivars, you must add a sturdy support system. A 1.5-2m high fence or wall is the best support system. However, make sure the horizontal wires of the supporting structure are 18 inches apart. Moreover, the lowest wire must be 9 inches away from the ground. 

Cut down all the canes after planting. While cutting down the canes, make sure only healthy bud is left. Although you feel it is a drastic change, it results in healthy and vigorous shoots in spring.

Harvesting blackberries

The harvesting period for the berries starts in mid-summer. You can pick them when they are ripe. The high juice content and rich colour indicate that berries are ready to harvest. After harvesting, you can either eat the fresh berry or freeze it to use in jellies, jams and other cooking.

Common problems

Birds

Birds, especially pigeons, can cause damage to the crop. They can eat seedlings, fruit, buds, leaves, and vegetables. So, it’s essential to save the plants from them.

Remedy

  • Cover the plants with fleece or net (it is the most reliable method). 
  • Bird-scaring or scarecrows could also help.

Leafhoppers

Leafhoppers are light green insects with jumping habits. They are mostly 1/8 inches long. You will mostly see them on the plants grown in sheltered sites. These insects result in the appearance of white flecks on the leaves. 

Remedy

No need to take any control measures.

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07/21/2021 | Fruit | 0 Comments

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