On a side note what do you guys think of adding some blackberries/rasberries in my landscape? Is it really necessary to give them support and would I need 2 varieties?
Can't give you any help re. blueberries. We had *one* blueberry bush in Berkeley (left there in 1997), but that was before I knew about the acidic soil they require. So we would get just a few berries each year. They *may* also need a second bush as friends, but I don't really know.
However, I can tell you more than enough about blackberries. We kept them in bounds in Berkeley and we're working to keep them in bounds here, too.
I can only imagine
what they'll do in SoCal. Do not
, repeat not
, plant these unless you can contain their roots. Blackberries spread by
--seed dispersal via birds and other creatures
They are true survivors, I.e., extremely invasive. Shall I quote Sunset
for you (she asked rhetorically)? (Sorry, this is from my 2001 edition; the more recent 2011 edition is upstairs ATM.)
[after some text about how to pamper these poor dears
and fertilize (!) them, Sunset
finally gets down to the truth on p. 225, top of the column] "Keep down weeds and pull out suckers; above all, don't let plants get away from you
." [emphasis supplied]
DH and I are waiting for a dry day very soon--really, within the next 10 days or so--to cut our just-fruited-this-year canes to the ground and disentangle next year's fruiting canes from their neighbors. We missed doing this one year (I'm pretty sure I had bronchitis, and this is a two-person job with our small patch of non-trellised blackberries), and really paid for it the next December/January.
Use flashing or other metal/non-decaying material to prevent the roots from spreading. Be vigilant about the prostrate canes rooting into the ground at the tip. There's nothing that can be done about birds eating the berries....
Someone else will need to speak to the raspberry question; I have no experience with raspberries.
IMHO, the key to understanding both roses and blackberries is to discover that they both belong to the Rosaceae family.
Once I "got" the concept that roses are related to blackberries, I became a much more vigilant pruner of my roses and an incredibly ruthless pruner of the blackberries. The roses get black spot and powdery mildew much less often now, and the blackberries haven't expanded beyond their allowed bounds. Yet.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9