Scotty_TN
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Location: TN, USA zone 7a

Help with raised bed for blackberry

Since I don't have a lot of space, I decided to plant my blackberry bushes in a raised bed.

My plan is to make it 4ft wide x 10Ft long, using 2 X 10s. with newspaper or cardboard under the dirt to kill the grass. With 50/50 compost and topsoil.

I plan to grow Arapaho blackberry bushes which are erect thornless.

Any advice at all about this plan? and how many bushes should this space hold? Can I plant stuff like strawberries in between them?

The Natural
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Sounds like a decent plan. I don't see why it wouldnt work. If i were you i wouldnt plant anything with the black berries(just my opinion, i like too organize things :P ) A good cardboard layer will probably hold up till your blackberries start rooting good. But you can still put a nice pine straw layer around the plants for looks but i doubt you will need any weed guards doing raised planting.

Id also extend your bed 2 more feet longer. 4ft x 12ft long will give a good 3-4feet per plant with 3 plants. The roots will most likely grow into each other after a while.

You could also do individual beds per plant. Like 4ft.X4ft. about 2-3 foot deep. You could butt the beds up pretty close and not worry about root tangling in the future.
My Apache and Ouachita blackberry twigs both came in!!!!

-Gardener By Hobby

-Maintenance Man

Scotty_TN
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Oh thanks, I under-estimated the space needed. These bushes say 3 ft apart since they are erect. So I guess I should go 6 ft wide x 12ft long and have enough room for 8 bushes.

Another question is what type of wood do you recommend? I know we are not supposed to use pressure treated right? I could use cedar?
I also have some barn wood from an old barn but I don't know if it would be safe or not?

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rainbowgardener
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Cedar would be great, but expensive. Pressure treated wood is OK. It has been at least 15 years if not longer, since they used to use arsenic in the pressure treatment. Barn wood should be great.
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The Natural
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I like the idea myself. I had a bad experience with 2 goats over treated wood racked my brain for weeks trying too figure out what poisoned them. The mom ate a little treated in the mothers birthing house and i guess she passed it through the milk and a few days later 2 dead pygmy goats. Stiffened them up like a board, was heartbreaking. That was the only thing that i saw was nibbled on and they were on the same diet as the other goats with no weird weeds or anything.

If you have the money for a good water sealer id just stick with ole cheap untreated pine and put a few coats of sealer. I agree cedar is a good option for natural rot res. but is pricey.

I don't even know if the bushes would absorb treated, but im kind of watchful after that.
My Apache and Ouachita blackberry twigs both came in!!!!

-Gardener By Hobby

-Maintenance Man

JONA878
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Unless some form of treatment is applied to your posts they will rot off quite quickly.
It's not the part that's above ground that's at risk it's the buried part.
So if you are worried about pressure treatment...( although no commerecial grower would use nothing else )...then at least treat the below ground part with a protectant or use the metal post holders that are available now.
Modern pressure treatments are safe for plants.

We still use old half railway sleepers as main straining posts in plantations and they are creasote treated, with no detrimental results on soft fruit. Guess they are so old now that any leakage is so small.
An apple a day.....keeps me in work.

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Gary350
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Re: Help with raised bed for blackberry

You can not contain blackberries unless you have a cement wall about 2 ft below the soil to stop the roots from spreading. Blackberries will spread far and wide like bamboo. The plants send out roots like Bamboo do and new canes grow up all along the roots. It is very easy to mow down the new growth to keep blackberries contained with the lawn mower. Raised bed are no advantage for blackberry plants because they don't seem to care how good or bad the soil is. I have been growing blackberries for 40 years. Blackberries do best in full sun, if it is hot and dry as the desert no rain for a month they still do fine. Second year growth make berries. When canes die it is best to cut them out but that is a lot of work. I let my blackberry patch migrate to the east when the new patch starts making berries I mow down the old patch. After a few years I let the patch migrate back to the west when it starts making berries I mow down the old patch. I let it migrate back and forth over and over. I have tried compost, fertilizer, lots of water, better soil, nothing seems to be a problem for blackberries except too much shade. I have a 6ft by 25 ft blackberry patch at my Murfreesboro TN house. I can pick 5 gallons of berries from this patch real easy.

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ReptileAddiction
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Re: Help with raised bed for blackberry

IMO you could put a lot more than 8 in a 6x12 bed. They will grow naturally so close together anyway so you might as well put some more in there.

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ElizabethB
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Re: Help with raised bed for blackberry

Just some general information. This link is for Louisiana so the varieties may not be suitable. The rest of the information on plant selction, planting and pruning is generic. Good info at the beginning of the article on plant selection and general information then jump to page 21 for specifics on blackberries. Don't think companion planting is a good idea. Blackberries are brambles ie weeds.

https://www.lsuagcenter.com/nr/rdonlyres ... ghres2.pdf

Hope this helps. Good luck
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

Scotty_TN
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Re: Help with raised bed for blackberry

Thank you all for the advice. I finally got them finished and planted today. I used regular pressure treated lumber. I made 2 beds 3 ft x 8 ft. One bed for all four blackberries. and one for 3 tomato plants and 1 blueberry.
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The Natural
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Re: Help with raised bed for blackberry

Looking good so far.
My Apache and Ouachita blackberry twigs both came in!!!!

-Gardener By Hobby

-Maintenance Man

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