Plot

Blackberry. Planting, growing and care

Blackberries are not yet as popular among Russian gardeners as raspberries. But over the years, its popularity is growing thanks to the delicious berries that literally cover the entire plant. In addition, when grown on a trellis, it creates a beautiful decorative hedge all covered with small flowers. In the article, we will consider the basic rules for growing blackberries and caring for them.

Content:

  • Blackberry is a sprawling shrub with long erect or creeping shoots of the Rosaceae family that grows throughout the northern hemisphere. This is a plant with a powerful root system that is able to penetrate deep into the soil, so it does not freeze even in severe frosts. Also, due to the deep bedding of the main root, blackberries can easily tolerate short-term droughts..

  • The stems have a lifespan of two years. In the first year, the branches grow back, and in the second they enter the fruiting stage, after which they die off. Bushes can grow up to 15 years in one place, after which they must be removed. Shoots and stems have sharp thorns. Blackberry blooms with white flowers, up to 3 cm in diameter, flowers are bisexual and self-pollinating.
  • Fruits in large round or cone-shaped berries, which are called polystyrene. Berries at the stage of full ripening have a rich black color, but breeders breed yellow-fruited and red-fruited varieties. Blackberries are considered the record holder for fruiting among berry crops, so from one adult bush per season you can get up to 25 kg of berries.

  • Bushes grown in sunny areas have a sweeter berry than those grown in shade and partial shade. Gardeners are very fond of blackberries because of the rich content of various useful elements in its fruits. The berries contain vitamins B, C, A, P, E, glucose, sucrose, fructose, fiber, organic acids and many micro- and macroelements. The plant is prized not only for its fruit, but also for its leaves, which are used as tea..

Place for planting blackberries

  • Blackberries prefer to grow in sunny, open areas. With insufficient lighting, the shoots are strongly stretched, the ovaries wilt, and the leaves fall off prematurely. In nature, the plant grows in humid forests, along the banks of small bodies of water. Therefore, the optimal conditions for growing blackberries in gardens are considered to be a temperate climate, fertile soil with a constant level of moisture and good drainage, as well as protection from strong winds..
  • The plantation site should be flat or located on a southern slope. Blackberries should not be grown on calcareous soils, since this soil does not contain elements important for its growth (in particular, iron and magnesium).
  • The root system of the bushes is quite powerful and consists of a thick central root and few roots-appendages. The main root in creeping varieties can go 150 cm deep, and in erect varieties up to 70 cm, the adventitious roots of almost all varieties spread close to the soil surface (up to 40 cm) within a radius of 50 cm.This feature should be borne in mind when preparing a place for planting.
  • Cereals and legumes are considered the best predecessors, blackberries planted after nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes) feel bad.

Blackberry propagation

In summer cottage practice, several methods of breeding blackberries are used..

  • Apical layers. This method is well suited for propagation of creeping varieties. In July-August, next to the mother bushes, grooves up to 30 cm deep are made and the non-lignified tops of the stems are laid in them, after which they are sprinkled with earth. Before winter, the shoots should take root, but not germinate. In the spring, seedlings can be separated from the mother plant and planted in a permanent place..

  • Seeds. Most varieties, when propagated by seed, are able to maintain maternal traits to the maximum extent. Seeds are harvested at the stage of full ripeness and placed in a cool place for stratification during the winter period. At the beginning of March, the seed is taken out, soaked for several days in melt water or in any growth stimulator, and then planted in boxes to a depth of 8 mm. Crops are regularly watered with warm water and kept at a temperature of 20 ° C. You can plant seedlings in open ground after the appearance of 4 real leaves. Plants that have become stronger by the fall are recommended to be transplanted to a permanent place. Blackberries grown in this way begin to bear fruit for 4 years.
  • Root cuttings. In September-October, the bush is completely dug up and all shoots are cut off, and the root system is cut into cuttings (up to 7 cm long and up to 1 cm thick). The prepared material is stored in a cool place, in moist peat or sand. In the spring, as soon as the ground warms up, cut grooves up to 15 cm deep and place root segments there, every 20 cm.The planting material is covered with loose earth and watered abundantly. During the summer, regular watering, weeding and loosening are performed. Strong seedlings will appear in the fall. Up to 300 new plants are obtained from one adult mother bush. When breeding thornless varieties, bushes with thorns grow, so this method does not suit them.
  • Root offspring. Each blackberry bush is capable of producing up to 20 young shoots from the root annually. In May-June, when the stems reach 15 cm, strong, healthy shoots are selected and carefully separated from the main bush, after which they are immediately transplanted to a place of constant growth. This operation can be performed in the fall, but such bushes do not always overwinter successfully..

  • By dividing the bush. This method is used if the blackberry does not produce overgrowth. The bush is dug up and divided into 5-6 parts, each leaving 2-3 strong young shoots. The resulting material is planted in a permanent place. It is best to divide the bush at the beginning of autumn so that it has time to get stronger by winter.

Blackberry planting and care

Soil preparation

An ideal soil mixture for planting blackberries is considered to be loose sandy loam or well-drained loam with a rich humus content. You can prepare the soil yourself from the following components (per 1 bush):

  • rotted manure or mature compost – 20 l;
  • alumina – 40 l;
  • potash fertilizer – 70 ml;
  • superphosphate – 100 ml.

Instead of potassium fertilizer, you can use wood ash, which, in addition to potassium, contains calcium and phosphorus, as well as a number of useful trace elements – manganese, iron, boron and molybdenum.

Planting blackberries

  • The optimal time for planting blackberries is considered the spring period before sap flow, April or early May. Varieties with a good index of frost resistance are allowed to be planted in the fall, before the onset of frost. Choose strong seedlings with one or two stems and a developed root system. All dried or broken branches are removed. The distance between the bushes is at least 150-200 cm, it is better to leave more so that when harvesting, the approach to the blackberry is free, in addition, such a measure will provide the plants with the proper amount of sunlight.
  • The planting hole is dug up to 40-50 cm deep, the width will depend on the root system of the seedlings, which should fit freely in the hole (about 30 cm). Drainage is laid at the bottom and 2/3 are covered with a prepared soil mixture. It is desirable that the soil is wet, if it is dry, then 5-10 liters of water are poured into the pit. Before planting, the roots are slightly pruned, by 1-2 cm.The seedling is placed so that the root collar is at the same level with the soil surface or a little deeper.
  • The roots are covered with earth, which must be lightly tamped. To fill all the voids formed with soil, the seedling is slightly shaken. Small sides are left around the hole so that water does not flow out during watering. It is not recommended to water the blackberries right away, it is better to do this a week after planting, then the soil is mulched with humus or rotted sawdust.
  • After a couple of weeks, the seedlings are pruned, leaving shoots up to 25 cm.In the first year, the plants need constant care, weekly watering, weeding and loosening.

Blackberry care

  • It is demanding to care for, since if blackberries are improperly grown, not only a deterioration in their appearance is possible, but also a significant decrease in yield.
  • Blackberries are considered a warm and light-loving plant. Prefers slightly acidic or neutral soil. The soil for planting it should not be hard, and there should be no weeds in the aisles. During the period of mass flowering, it is important that the land is moist, but not to allow stagnant water, since blackberries do not tolerate flooded and wetlands.
  • After watering or rain, the soil must be loosened to a depth of 8 cm, while trying not to damage the small roots, the aisles are mulched with any loose organic substances. If blackberries grow on damp, poorly drained soil, then mulching is not recommended..

Bush formation

  • For the full development of blackberries, it is necessary to carry out regular pruning of the stems. This procedure is carried out twice a year – in spring and autumn. Blackberry stems are quite flexible, so the formation should not cause much trouble, but still, you should take into account the presence of sharp thorns and carry out all work with gloves.

Tip: blackberry bushes are planted at a distance of 1.5 m to 5 m (depending on the variety). It is necessary to maintain such a distance for the normal further development of the plant, densely planted bushes interfere with each other’s growth, in addition, this will make it difficult to care for them and harvest.

  • In the first year, they begin to form the future blackberry plantation, distributing young shoots in the right direction.

The bush is formed in several ways:

  • in a fan form – separating fruit-bearing shoots and young shoots;
  • in rope form – vertical placement of shoots on trellises;
  • in the form of weaving – twisting trellis with shoots, as if braiding them;
  • in bush form – in the center of the bush there is a support around which the plant is formed.

Tip: it is customary to grow upright varieties of blackberries on trellises. For their device, it is necessary to install supports up to 2 m high, every 5-10 m. 2-4 wires or twine are pulled onto the support posts every 30-60 cm. Blackberry branches will be tied to this wire..

  • As a rule, in the second year, the bushes begin to bear fruit. Berries appear on last year’s side shoots. New young shoots should be oriented in the direction of growth of the main bush and slightly separated from the fruiting branches. After harvesting, the fruiting stems are completely cut out, replacing them with young shoots.
  • To obtain a bountiful harvest, the tops of the bushes should be pinched twice a year (in May and July), this procedure will lead to active branching. After the shoot reaches a height of 130-180 cm, it is cut by 8-12 cm. In this case, only strong lateral shoots are left, and the rest are removed. The inflorescences that appear in the first year after planting are best cut off so that the bushes gain strength and bring a bountiful harvest next year.

Double pruning blackberries

  • They begin to cut out old shoots at the end of summer, after harvesting, since this, firstly, will help to increase fruiting for next year, and secondly, the branches at this time are still green and can be easily pruned. The cut shoots must be burned, and in no case should they be left next to the blackberry plantings, otherwise this will lead to the reproduction of pests.
  • The formed bush has 5-8 strong stems; every spring, excess young growth is cut out, leaving strong shoots for replacement. If overwintered shoots have been damaged, then they must be pruned to a healthy place..

Watering

  • It is believed that blackberries are drought-resistant, but nevertheless, this is a moisture-loving plant, therefore, the soil should not be allowed to dry out, especially during the ripening of the berries. The aerial part of the plants suffers greatly from long-term drought, young shoots do not have time to grow properly, already laid ovaries begin to crumble, and the existing berries dry out and fall off.
  • In addition to constant soil moisture, blackberries also require a certain air humidity, therefore, during a prolonged drought, it is worth spraying the bushes in the evening..
  • Young bushes in the first year after planting must be watered, keeping the soil moist. Watering is carried out only with warm, settled water by the drip method. By the end of summer, watering is limited, and in late autumn, up to 30 liters of water is poured under each bush so that the blackberries do not freeze out in winter..

Fertilizer

  • Like any horticultural crop, blackberries need a balanced diet. Increased intake of nutrients is observed during the active growth phase, during flowering and berry formation. This is approximately May-July. At this time, the bushes are fed with mineral fertilizers. But do not overfeed the plant, as this can negatively affect the condition of the bushes and yield..
  • During flowering, blackberries require potassium, so any potash fertilizer should be applied, or the bushes should be watered with an ash solution (200 g of ash per 10 liters of water). During the period of pouring the berries, foliar dressing is performed with a complex mineral fertilizer, sprayed on the leaf with a solution with the addition of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Any mineral fertilizers are applied to the soil only after it is moistened..

  • Blackberry bushes grow in one place for 10-15 years, so it is important for 3-4 years after planting to annually apply organic fertilizers such as rotted manure, peat, sawdust or compost to the plants, as well as water during flowering with diluted chicken droppings.

  • Organic matter, as a rule, is brought in for the autumn digging. For this, the aisles are dug up and 1 sq. M. make up to 5 kg of manure, mixing it with superphosphate (30 g) and potassium sulfate (40 g). In the spring, as soon as the first buds appear, the blackberries are fed with any nitrogen fertilizer (ammonium nitrate or urea). At the end of summer, mineral fertilizers cannot be applied, as this will lead to active plant growth, which means that the bushes will not be able to properly prepare for winter..

Preparing for winter

  • Many gardeners prefer to leave fertile shoots for the winter, believing that they will help protect young stems from winter freezing. But do not forget that the longer the shoots remain on the bush, the more they consume nutrients, which means they weaken the plant..
  • To prepare young shoots for wintering, they should be untied from the support and bent to the ground so that the snow cap does not break fragile branches. Varieties that do not tolerate frost must be covered with spruce or pine spruce branches or wrapped in a covering material. It is not necessary to cover frost-resistant varieties for the winter period, it is enough to prune branches to a height of 120-170 cm.

  • In the spring, blackberries must be opened so that they do not spill out and begin to rot, this must be done before bud break. Then it should be carefully straightened, and then tied up again to the trellises. If the blackberry was laid along with the trellises, then the structure is lifted and strengthened on the supporting pillars.

Diseases and pests

In order to regularly receive a bountiful harvest, it is necessary to monitor the health of the blackberry bushes, to prevent the presence of weeds in the aisles, long stagnation of water or prolonged drought. If the first signs of the disease appear, then they immediately begin treatment in order to prevent mass infection..

The main sblackberry diseases are the following:

  • Anthracnose – a disease that affects berries, manifests itself from the end of spring, outwardly looks like uneven ripening of fruits, control measures include spraying the affected bushes with Bordeaux liquid.
  • Rust – a disease that affects young shoots and leaves looks like brown spots, reduces the yield to 60%, the control measures include spraying with copper sulfate and the destruction of affected plants.

Pests that damage blackberry bushes and berries:

  • Blackberry mite affects the leaves, which leads to a decrease in yield; control measures include spraying with a carbaphos solution.
  • Medvedka affects the root system of blackberries, the drugs “Matador” or “Prestige” help to cope with it.
  • Weevil damages buds, hibernates in fallen leaves, spraying with chlorophos solution helps.

A number of rules should be followed when dealing with pests and diseases:

  • Chemical preparations should not be used during the harvest and pouring of berries..
  • Fungal diseases are treated in early spring, for which the bushes are sprayed with copper-containing preparations or Bordeaux liquid.
  • Biological products are used to control pests. With regular inspection of plantings, insects are quite easy to notice in the early stages of their spread, which means that it is possible to collect them manually.
  • Infected stems and leaves are removed immediately after detection, and in the fall it is advisable to collect fallen leaves and burn them.
  • To destroy the larvae of insects wintering in the soil, in late autumn it is necessary to dig up the aisles.

Lack of nutrients

With a lack of minerals, the plants look weakened, and the yield can drop up to 60%.

External manifestation of a lack of trace elements:

  • nitrogen – slow stem growth, deformation of the berry, brittle shoots;
  • boron – brittle shoots, few ovaries, small berries;
  • iron – leaves turn yellow or turn pale;
  • potassium – leaves of a pale blue hue, with a brown rim, berries ripen unevenly;
  • calcium – young leaves turn yellow, apical buds dry out, the ovary falls off;
  • magnesium – premature reddening of leaves and their falling off;
  • manganese – the veins of the leaves first turn yellow, and then acquire a reddish tint, after which they die off;
  • copper – seeds disappear from the berries, the growth of shoots slows down;
  • molybdenum – spots appear on the leaf, the veins turn pale, and then the leaves curl and dry out;
  • phosphorus – slow development of bushes and leaf tarnishing, early leaf fall;
  • zinc – deformation of berries and leaves, the tips of the shoots become brown, the fruits become smaller.

As a preventive measure, the introduction of complex fertilizers is recommended..

Popular varieties of blackberries

Blackberries can be grown on a personal plot as a cultivated or ornamental plant. In nature, there are two main species, from which breeders have bred more than 300 different hybrids..

  • Kumanika – upright shrub, with powerful shoots covered with thorns, the mass of berries reaches 4 g. Sufficiently frost-resistant species, with a large number of root shoots.

  • Rosyanika – a creeping shrub, with long shoots, completely covered with thorns, the mass of berries reaches 12 g. A non-frost-resistant species that does not give root shoots and reproduces by apical cuttings.

In addition, there is a semi-creeping blackberry, the stems of which do not have thorns, and the berries reach a mass of up to 6 g, such a blackberry can be propagated both by root processes and with the help of apical shoots..

Almost all known varieties have been bred from these main species, the most productive and least whimsical are:

  • Thornfree – a half-growing, thornless bush, the stems of which can grow up to 3 m, the variety can withstand light frosts up to -18 degrees and prolonged drought, high yield (from a bush up to 8 kg), fruit ripening dates July-August, berry weight up to 5 g;

  • El Dorado – an erect bush, the stems are covered with soft thorns, an early ripe variety, with a berry weight of up to 10 g, resistant to rust;
  • Abundant – late-ripening variety, average yield (from a bush up to 4 kg), practically does not give root suckers, in one place without reducing fruiting can grow up to 15 years, frost-resistant.

Photo of a blackberry variety Izobilnaya

A good harvest of garden blackberries depends on many factors, but by providing the plants with proper care, you can always be sure of regular and abundant fruiting of the bushes, and if you choose varieties according to the timing of their ripening, then delicious berries will be on the table from late June to early October.