DRT
Full Member
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2011 1:59 pm
Location: Kentucky

Blackberry & Raspberry help

I have 3 blackberry bushes and 4 raspberry bushes. I belive all the raspberries are everbearing, and the 2 of the blackberries are thornless and one has thorns.

Blackberries first. I cut them back this spring as suggested by several youtube videos, fertilized with 13-13-13, and they have really greened up but have not grown very much at all. My boss didn't cut his for nearly 2 years and that thing grew 20 feet around his fence. Did I do the right thing or should I let it go next year. I also feed with miricle grow 1 time a week or every other week depending on weather. The only other variable that I can think of is weather, we have had large amounts of rain and cool weather.

Raspberries - Everything I planted last year that lived has new canes coming up that are now around 4 to 5 inches tall. I also set out a couple of new ones. I have fertilzed with 13-13-13, and would water with miricle grow if it wern't raining every other day. In the past I have had a problem getting the raspberries started and producing. I hope that the ones that started coming out this year are established well enough. Is there some different fertilizer to put on raspberries or anything different about them and blackberries. Seems like the blackberries do much better than the raspberries.

All advice appreciated.

David

JONA878
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1014
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:14 am
Location: SUSSEX

Hi DRT.
13-13-13 is normaly a fert that is perfect for veg growing...but I think that it is a little low in Potash for fruit and perhaps a little too high in Nitrogen. So a 10-10-22 would perhaps be better.
High Nitrogen on fruit can induce too much growth at the expence of fruit production.

Re your blackberries.
You say you cut them back...do you mean that you cut the whole lot back?
Blackberries crop on the cane that grew the year before.
If you cut it all back you are removing the cropping cane for the next year.
So you let cane grow. Tie it to some form of support and it crops the next year.
Meanwhile new cane grows to replace this cropping cane the following year.
So you only remove the cane that has already cropped or cane that is excess to your needs.

Raspberries ...by 'everbearers' I take it you mean Primo-cane rasps. Ones that crop through the year on one year old cane instead of one big flush on two year old cane.

Again once they start to fruit up I would give them a burst of Potash fert to help with the production.
Remember too that Rasps like plenty of water but will not tolerate wet feet.

Blackberries are far more prolific in their growth than rasps are but even so Rasps will romp away once they are happy with the growing conditions.

Good luck.
:D
An apple a day.....keeps me in work.

DRT
Full Member
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2011 1:59 pm
Location: Kentucky

I didn't cut back the canes to the ground I just cut the secondary canes (the ones that grew off the main cane) back to about 10-12 inches. Also the thornless berries have 1 heafty cane with no new canes yet this year, but the thorny berry has several. When I cut the thorny berry I removed all new canes that weren't within 12" of the orignal bush.

And yes the raspberries are suppose to be the kind that you cut off at the ground every fall after you harvest the berries and they grow new canes the next year and bear fruit in the fall. I have clay soil so I was going to start treating the ground around them and the blackberries with gympsum which is suppose to aeriate the soil in time. I will try the 10-10-22 when they begin to fruit.

I guess it depends on the soil and what you do to help, but how long does it normally take to get a berry bush established and producing.

User avatar
farmerlon
Green Thumb
Posts: 671
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:42 pm
Location: middle Tennessee

I never fertilize my Blackberries with chemical fertilizers. I just keep the ground around them thoroughly mulched with grass clippings and wood chips. As that mulch continually breaks down, it feeds the soil (and earthworms and microbes) which in turn feeds the plants.

To this point in time, my Blackberries have always been very healthy plants, and they bear heavily.
I'm not trying to tell you what to do, because what works for me may not suit your gardening philosophy or style; but, that might at least give you an option to consider.

In the Fall, I prune out all of the canes that bore fruit this year (Floracanes). Those are easy to spot at that time, because they have "died out" and turned brown.

gumbo2176
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3065
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:01 am
Location: New Orleans

I'll second what Jona said. Don't cut back the new canes since they will give you next seasons crop. I've just planted my blackberry plants in January of this year and they were pretty sparse at the time. I now have quite a few new canes climbing my trellis that will bear fruit in 2012. Once they bear fruit, I'll cut the off and train any new canes that come in next year for continued production.

The original canes did set a few fruit this year, not many, but they are sooo good. Nice and plump with a combination of tart and sweet for excellent flavor. I can't wait till next summer.

DRT
Full Member
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2011 1:59 pm
Location: Kentucky

farmerlon wrote:I never fertilize my Blackberries with chemical fertilizers. I just keep the ground around them thoroughly mulched with grass clippings and wood chips. As that mulch continually breaks down, it feeds the soil (and earthworms and microbes) which in turn feeds the plants.
I put mulch around mine but I haven't tried the grass clippings. So what do you do just add grass clippings a couple of times a year?

User avatar
farmerlon
Green Thumb
Posts: 671
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:42 pm
Location: middle Tennessee

DRT wrote:I put mulch around mine but I haven't tried the grass clippings. So what do you do just add grass clippings a couple of times a year?
I suppose that I add the mulches on an "as needed" basis, whenever it is starting to get thin or if I begin to notice bare soil or thick weeds showing.
I probably add grass clippings to the whole area at least twice a year, and then I will occassionally fill in any spots where the mulch looks sparse.
I also usually add a layer of wood chips, about twice a year.

For any spot that seems especially weed-prone, I will usually rake away any existing mulch, pull the weeds, put down a layer of newspapers or cardboard, and then apply mulch on top of that.

Best of luck with your Blackberries! :D

DRT
Full Member
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2011 1:59 pm
Location: Kentucky

I will try and take some pics of my current setup this weekend and post them for you guys to look at. I went out yesterday and took a close look at my berry bushes. Looks like I have new canes growing from one of the two blackberrys I planted last year, and I'm not sure about the other. It looks healthy but I don't see any canes growing yet. The one I planted this year seems to be doing well. I only had one raspberry make it from last year and it has 2 small canes coming up the others were just planted this year. If it doesn't quit raining soon they all might drown.

DRT
Full Member
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2011 1:59 pm
Location: Kentucky

Here is my throney blackberry planted last year the new canes have been there since last fall.
[img]https://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b353/kykiller/Gardening/IMG_1333.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b353/kykiller/Gardening/IMG_1332.jpg[/img]

And my thornless blackberry planted last year. I think the closeup of the ground shows the new canes comeing up.
[img]https://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b353/kykiller/Gardening/IMG_1331.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b353/kykiller/Gardening/IMG_1330.jpg[/img]

Here is the only raspberry that made it last year. I think it is a fall yellow. This is what has regrown out of the ground this year so far.
[img]https://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b353/kykiller/Gardening/IMG_1335.jpg[/img]

Here are the ones I planted this year. The first is the only one I think will make it. The others look worse today I think they have drowned.
[img]https://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b353/kykiller/Gardening/IMG_1334.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b353/kykiller/Gardening/IMG_1337.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b353/kykiller/Gardening/IMG_1336.jpg[/img]

I planted these in the lowest spot in the back yard. It was the best space for them to be against the privacy fence so I didn't have to build a trulace (what I get for being lazy). Every spring I struggle to get new plants to live because of to wet conditions, I started with just raspberries and just tried blackberries last year they seem to be tougher. If it doesn't rain alot they die off quick in the summer if I can't water them often. I have a spot in mind next to my strawberry bed that is normal a part of my vegtable garden. I was going to try and transplant all of these next week when I till my garden. I was going to put the 3 black berries in a row and the 2 raspberries and maybe buy 1 more (I like even things). How do you think they would respond. I understand that they would probaby abort all fruit this year but if they woudl live and get established I would consider it a victory. As always any help is greatly appreciated.

User avatar
farmerlon
Green Thumb
Posts: 671
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:42 pm
Location: middle Tennessee

My biggest concern is that fence... is it on the North side of the plants?
Blackberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Strawberries, pretty much any "small fruit" plant, needs full sun.
If that fence keeps the sun off of the plants, even for a relatively short portion of the day, I think those plants will never reach their full potential. Also, air circulation could be a problem; making the plants more prone to having disease issues... especially since you already stated that area tends to stay too wet anyway.

If that's the only location available to you, I understand.
But, if you have a more open and sunny location available, I would try some plants there for the sake of comparison.

DRT
Full Member
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2011 1:59 pm
Location: Kentucky

I went ahead today and moved them on one end of my veggie garden. I can put up some trellis and put some mulch around them. I'll re-sew grass seed inbetween and it should look nice. There is still plenty of room for my garden.

I hope everything makes it after the move. One of the raspberry plants was almost dead, but I hope it can pull through. I should have planted here in the first place but oh well, live and learn.

DRT
Full Member
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2011 1:59 pm
Location: Kentucky

Looks like a good choice so far to move the bushes. It's rain alot since I moved them and they haven't had that wilted look like they had in the lower part of my yard. I started building trelises yesterday but my drill died on me. Hope to get that done by the end of the week. My blackberries are pretty big.

I water with miricle grow every other week is this ok or should I hit them with some 10-10-10 (or whatever)??

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Watering with MG if it is at full (recommended) strength every other week is too much and as noted above may tend to promote growth at the expense of fruiting. Also if your plants are struggling and/or newly transplanted, feeding them chemical ferts just weakens them -- forces growth that they aren't ready for, because root systems aren't well established yet. I would lay off the MG at least until your plants are well-established, healthy and growing well.

I'm with farmerlon. I have raspberries that are thriving and threatening to take over my yard and covered with berries and I have never fertilized them.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
Runningtrails
Senior Member
Posts: 184
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 2:52 pm
Location: Barrie, Ontario,Canada

My raspberries are taking over too, spreading like crazy and I have never fertilized them, either. I'm considering adding a bit of manure around my blackberries, only because it is a new bed and hasn't had anything added to it yet. But even that will have to wait for drier weather and more time.

User avatar
Just Whisper
Full Member
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 3:34 pm
Location: Pensacola FL

I have been growing thornless blackberries for about 5-6 years. I started with 2 plants and now have about 13. Three of them are planted as DRTs were, right up against the fence, providing them with only partial sun. They have still managed to thrive and give us large crops of berries. Because I have so many plants only 2 of my plants actually receive full sun all day, and they do seem to do a little better. Farmerlon gave good advice about moving them if possible, and it was good you were able. I almost never fertilize mine. They are all surrounded by a heavy layer of that red garden mulch. Because it is very hot, dry and humid here and almost never rains at my house I water them occasionally. As you guys already noted, I cut the old canes back completely when dead, but I also keep my new ones cut back to about 5 feet and keep them all tied upright. They are easier to manage and help keep the berries off the ground. My berries are always about an inch to an inch and half in length and about an inch across, vines so loaded it is amazing. Blackberries are probably one of the easiest fruits to grow, requiring almost no maintenance. But good luck keeping the birds away. LOL.

jnmoore
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:34 am
Location: Knoxville, TN

Moving them would be good, but you may not need to fertilize them as much/at all. Raspberries and blackberries are hardly more than weeds and will tend to themselves 9 out of 10 times. If you do need to fertilize them, use something slightly acidic. Fruit bearing plants generally like more acidic soil and these aren't any different.

Hope this helps, DRT!

Return to “FRUIT FORUM”