Blackberry - Loganberry - Tayberry
Blackberries; are tolerant of most soil conditions, and will produce a reasonable crop of berries even when grown in deep shade. However, the best berries will be produced when they are in full sun.
Thorny varieties are the stronger growing than the thornless varieties making them a better choice where conditions are less than ideal.
Week 10: If weather conditions allow, give plants a top dressing of 30gms Sulphate of Potash, and 15 gm of Sulphate of Ammonia per square metre (1 oz & ½oz per sq yd)
Week 15: Sever rooted layers and plant out in permanent quarters.
Check over plants and subject to what new growth has formed or been damaged over the winter months some light pruning can be done to tidy up the plants.
Week 22: Ensure that plants get plenty of water and don't dry out between now and the fruit ripening.
Week 26: Spray plants that have yet to flower with a fungicide to deter cane spot disease.
Tie in new shoots as necessary.
Weeks 28-32: Propagate new stock by layering the tips of new shoots.
If shoots are not required, follow the stems back to their point of origin, and dig out the roots.
It is useless just cutting the shoots off because they'll soon grow back stronger than ever,
It is recommended that you wear thick leather gloves when carrying out this task, particularly if dealing with a thorned variety.
If ripe; pick the fruit little but often, to encourage the formation of more fruit.
Frequent picking will also reduce the risk of the fruit over-ripening and rotting.
The best time to pick blackberries is when the weather is dry, wet blackberries do not keep longer than a day before they begin to rot.
As soon as the berries are harvested place them out of direct sunlight in a cool area.
Blackberries do not ripen when picked and they should be eaten within a day or so of harvesting.
Week 35: Prune plants after fruiting by cutting out all the canes that have borne fruit.
Week 37: Prepare the bed by digging in as much organic matter as possible to aid moisture retention.
A bed that has been well prepared is less likely to need watering during the summer months.
Blackberries can be grown on wires, in the open, against walls, or grown as single plants up supporting posts.
Example: For wire support use 10-12 gauge set at 900, 1200 & 1500mm (3' 4' & 5') above ground level.
Use vine eyes to secure wires to walls.
Allow 3-4 metres (12-15 ft) between plants.
Tie the fruiting shoots to the wires with string or twists ties.
For single posts, use 2.5-3.0 metre long 100 x 100mm (9'-10' x 4"x4") posts.
Insert them so that 2-2.5 metres (6'-7') is above ground level and tie the shoots into the post.
Allow 1.5-2.0 metres (5'-6') between plants/posts.
Training: Select young canes for training to the wires.
Keep one and two year old canes separate for easier harvesting and pruning.
One method is to train the old and new canes to run in opposite directions along the wires.
Loop canes vertically between the horizontal wires to save space but allow space between the canes for light and air penetration.
If space is limited, new canes can be bundled together to one side in their first year, and trained to the other side in their second year to replace the fruited canes once these are pruned out.
With a fan, one half should be old canes and the other half new canes.
It is harder to separate old and new canes when growing canes over a garden arch or wigwam, so consider a thornless cultivar if doing this.
Week 44: Plant out new plants any time from now until March if conditions allow.
Grow in sun or partial shade in soil that is well-drained but retains moisture and is either slightly acid or at least free from lime.
Because they do not flower until June, they can be grown in areas that might be subject to late frosts.
In most cases, plant out 2.4m (8ft) between plants and 2.4m (8ft) between rows.
Planting distances can vary according to type e.g. vigorous types can be planted as much as 4m (13ft) apart, less vigorous varieties may only require to be 1.2m (4ft) apart.
Dig a hole about 125-150mm (5"-6")) deep and of sufficient width to allow the roots to fully spread out.
Spread the root system out in the hole keep the crown of the roots level with the soil surface.
Cover them with crumbly soil or compost, firming it down with your hand.
After planting, water area well to ensure they get sufficient moisture for the initial stages of growth.
Finally,cut canes down to a good bud around 225-300mm (9"-12") above ground level.
Do not be tempted to leave the canes longer,in the hope that they will produce fruit in their first year, they won't - Blackberries fruit on two year old canes.
Week 51: Complete pruning as soon as possible, but avoid days when shoots are frosted.
Remove all shoots that have fruited in the currrent year down to ground level or cut back to a low-placed strong new shoot.
Do not cut new growth produced in the current year, this will bear fruit the following year.
If pruning thorny varieties wear a good pair of gardening gloves.
A long sleeved jacket is also advisable to protect your forearms.
Pests and Diseases:
Aphids (green/black fly)
Infestations usually appear on the tips of new shoots.
Control with a general insecticide.
The fungus can live over the winter in the canes, on leaves or attached to canes.
Symptoms of a rust infection include purplish circular leaf spots with a tan or yellow center.
The fungus will also produce yellowish-orange pustules on the fruit, flower buds and canes.
As the fungal infection worsens, the leaves will begin to curl from dehydration.
Fruit, flowers and leaves will eventually fall off the plant.
Monitor your plant after periods of humidity and heat during the spring months.
The fungus spreads quickly when temperatures rise after winter and gets worse in the fall months.
To prevent the development of more spores prune out the diseased portions of the plant after harvesting the fruit.
Make your cuts a couple of inches into the healthy canes.
Dipping your pruners in a mixture of 70-percent denatured alcohol and 30-percent water after each cut will help to reduce the risk of tranferring the disease to new growth.
On completion, remove all fallen fruit, leaves and debris from around the plant/s and burn it.
Spray the plant/s with a fungicide containing either lime sulphur or copper.
Apply the spray in the winter to treat the infected portions of the plant.
Re-spray the plant in the spring then again in autumn to prevent reinfections.
Brown spots on the blackberry stems which get bigger as the disease progresses, Grey mould eventually forms. (see Grey mould).
Circular dark purple spots on the blackberry stems which start to appear in early summer.
Affected stems will eventually die.
These should be pruned out to ground level and burned.
A light grey powdery substance appears mainly on the stemsand spreads to the leaves and possibly the fruit.
This is generally caused by poor ventilation around the plants.
Thin the plants out at pruning time to alleviate this problem in future years.
As the mame suggests this pest can also affect raspberries.
The symptoms are: the fruit dries and shrivels up, plus the fruit is usually smaller than normal.
The problem is caused by a brownish-white grub, up to 8 mm (¼") long, that nestles inside the fruits and feeds on the stalk end of the fruits.
In late summer, the fully fed larvae move into the soil where they overwinter as pupae.
The 4mm (1/8") long adult beetles are pale brown and they lay eggs on the flowers in May to mid-July.
Spray with a suitable insecticide when the first flowers open.
Apply insecticides in the evening when bees are not active on the flowers.