Blackberry Growing advice

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by BluegrassBerrys, Jul 7, 2005.

  1. BluegrassBerrys

    BluegrassBerrys Member

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    Hello,
    I am a commercial Blackberry Grower in Lexington, KY I am new to homesteading. Anyone have any questions regarding growing Blackberries???
     
  2. dugan

    dugan Well-Known Member

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    Will wild plants produce well if transplanted.Also do you prune and when. Can they be planted in the fall. thanks
     

  3. dot

    dot Well-Known Member

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    Is there any way to keep the japanese beetles out of them? There are really bad in this area. We've tried different sprays but they keep on coming.
     
  4. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    In your opinion, which is the best type of thornless blackberry? I can sell all that I can grow, but I could grow and pick much more if it wasn't for all of those #$#$&* thorns!
     
  5. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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    When and how should I prune them?
     
  6. BluegrassBerrys

    BluegrassBerrys Member

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    Before I get into some answers we need to learn a little bit about the Blackberry plant. Blackberries produce canes from their roots, canes can either grow from a main "crown" root or they can spontaneously appear from any root node. Some Varieties spread more than others and it has to do with this spontaneous rooting... A Cane lives for two years, in its first year of life it is called a Primocane, in its first year it does not produce fruit, it just produces leaves and delivers energy to the roots, over the winter during its dormancy period, it undergoes a change and produces the cells necessary for producing fruiting laterals in year two this cane is called a Floricane.


    To prune or not to prune.
    This is a very involved science that requires intense study and understanding. But if you are a backyard gardener you just need the basics. There are many reasons why we prune Brambles.....Primocane suppression for intensive Berry production, increasing cane strength for some of the weak cultivars. and Removal of dead Floricanes in the fall.
    For the home gardener the simple thing to do is to only prune once in the fall to remove the dead Floricanes. This is a very effective production method, keeps disease pressure low, and keeps your field clean. There are commercial growers that use only this method and it is fine.
    For the advanced grower, in established plantings you can suppress the new primocanes for a month or two so that the plant puts all its energy into fruiting floricanes.
    Some varieties of Blackberry like the thornless Arkansas varieties(apache, Navaho, Ouachita, etc.) should be topped at shoulder height several times a year. The only reason to do this is to keep the canes from breaking off at the base.
    To avoid this you can build a trellis, it does not need to be complicated a row of posts with string on either side of the plants will keep them from falling off at the base.
    "Triple crown" a semi-erect variety can be mildly pruned and is trained extensively on a trellis to support the long canes.
     
  7. BluegrassBerrys

    BluegrassBerrys Member

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    Out of all the Blackberries that I have tried. "Triple Crown" is absolutely the best. AND IT IS THORNLESS!!!! Others may be earlier, others may be higher in Soluble solids (sugars) But Triple crown is the best overall, it has very good size, excellent flavor, and the prettiest berry shape. It is sweeter than others that have more soluble solids because it has a higher PH. So for you carb counters out there that means it's sweeter and has less carbs.
    I grow the Arkansas varieties because they are early but they are not that great. The only thing that I keep in my freezer is Triple Crown....
    My opinion,
    BluegrassBerrys
     
  8. BluegrassBerrys

    BluegrassBerrys Member

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    Wild Blackberries are decendants of modern Blackberies. They can be transplanted with just as much success as cultivated varieties. But why would you intentionally plant them when they are so abundant without all the work???
    And I really don't miss the thorns........
    Bluegrassberrys
     
  9. BluegrassBerrys

    BluegrassBerrys Member

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    Japanese beetles are a constant problem. Sevin is a good product that you can use on brambles to kill them. just make sure you spray seven days before you harvest. You may be amazed how many carcasses you find on the ground.
    Dont use the pheremone traps they will attract them from miles around.
    I have heard that some people try physical removal of the beetles with some success. They pay young boys (or adventerous girls) so much a bucketfull to go out and catch beetles.
    Please let me know if you find a magic organic bullet I am interested in finding it.
    BluegrassBerrys
     
  10. BluegrassBerrys

    BluegrassBerrys Member

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  11. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    My five acres is a hill, sloping from the road at the top to the creek at the bottom. The "yard" is cleared at the top by the road and is heavily wooded at the bottom by the creek. It is nice loamy topsoil with "forest mulch" on top for the first 10 inches or so, under that nice loamy topsoil is heavy, sandy clay. The entire hill is covered in wild blackberries. Their growth is heavier at the top of the hill, I'm guessing due to the extra sunlight, but there are even brambles at the bottom of the hill under the oaks and hickorys.

    I'd guess, but may be wrong, that the top of the hill would be a perfect place to clear out and plant some more refined brambles such as Triple Crown Thornless Blackberries. If I am correct in my assumptions, what would be the proper procedure for establishing a bed? I would have to build a trellis, but can that wait until later? What about soil improvements? I've read your post on the barter board, but will they really transplant well in July in Alabama? How much water will they need? Every day? An inch a week? What about ongoing fertilizer? What kind, how much, how often? Would I get a crop next year?

    Your Ebay listing is for 10 plants, what if I only wanted 5? How much will shipping be to zip 35125?
     
  12. BluegrassBerrys

    BluegrassBerrys Member

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    Hmmmm,
    If you only want to grow a few plants of Triple Crown and you can irrigate, planting now should give you great success. Yes, Spring is the ideal time to plant. But Blackberries are pretty tough, they may not look like they are doing much during the summer, but underground they are preparing for cooler weather by putting out lots of roots. Just don't let them completely dry up before they get established. That will kill any plant.
    For commercial orchards we usually don't count on berries in the second year. You will get some but not like year 3. I got about 1 1/2 quarts a plant from a 1 year old spring planted patch of Triple Crown last summer. I was pretty tickled with that.
    PM me if you have any questions about my Blackberries for sale.
    BluegrassBerrys
     
  13. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    What do you use to support your triple crown blackberries?

    It is the wrong time of year to plant them in my area, but I might be interested once the annual summer drought breaks.
     
  14. oberhaslikid

    oberhaslikid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have been searching for an answer for the problem I have.I bought 2 Doyles 2 years ago and last year they produces a little.I was looking forward to gallons of berries.Then my neighbor that has 2 also, ask if I had looked at my plants? He said his were dying.I went to investigate and found that mine also were dying off.The leaves were mottled a yellow and green as if they were dowsed with bleach. the stems looked as if they were stung and swelled and died from that point on.I dont think that we had any Locust.I finally had to cut the whole plant fearing to spread this to my other plants.My neighbor lives at least 300 yards from me.His has the same thing.it spread to his other plants.The Extension office said it was due to a warm up we had in the winter and then freeze again.Any Ideas?
     
  15. TabletopHomestead

    TabletopHomestead Well-Known Member

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    What's the best way to propagate erect blackberries?
     
  16. BluegrassBerrys

    BluegrassBerrys Member

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    The best propagation method by far is Tissue Culture. That gives you the most uniform and vigorous plants. You can also propagate erect blackberries by soft and hardwoord cuttings, or just by taking advantage of their spreading habit and digging out extra plants in a well established bed.
     
  17. BluegrassBerrys

    BluegrassBerrys Member

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    We have had a hard time in Kentucky with unseasonably warm winter weather. that is possibly the problem. If they look stung and swollen you may have raspberry cane borers, or red necked cane borers. I cut out infected canes in the winter. You can spray for these but the only effective time to spray is when the adults are laying eggs.
    Here is a link to the Midwest small fruit pest managment handbook. Noone except an entymologist can be an expert on all pests. Here is a book that lists various pests and managment practices.

    http://ohioline.osu.edu/b861/

    Bluegrassberrys
     
  18. mrglock27

    mrglock27 Well-Known Member

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    will cuttings from the stem get roots?
     
  19. shawnee

    shawnee Well-Known Member

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    Our property has Chester blackberries on it and we planted 36 Triple Crowns this spring we purchased from Indiana Berry. Wow! bloomed like crazy and has some berries on it that are even bigger than the Chester's! We haven't build trellis support yet because we heard it would needs be heavy duty. We've heard 6ft. high at least and 3 strands of wire instead of 2. Our plants are 8-10 ft. apart and we have black breathable plastic around them. How complicated do the trellis systems have to be? I've heard the word wooden "posts" quite often. Is this true?
     
  20. Randy Rooster

    Randy Rooster Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have a small row of about 15 Navaho thornless berry plants. This is its second year. I would have gotten a decent crop this year but the deer are gobbling up my plants, topping them off at about knee height. Any suggestions? Would a plant with a thorn discourage them?