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brambles

BRAMBLES

At a glance...

raspberries
Well drained soil and full sun, raspberries do not like wet feet.

Spacing:

For raspberries: 18”-24” for reds and yellows
For black raspberries: 3'-4'
For blackberries: 3'-4' apart

For all, 3'-6' between rows, depending on maintenance plan

PH: 6.5-6.8 (general garden soil)

Watering:

Maintain good soil moisture until the planting is established with 1”-2” of rainfall or supplemental irrigation.

Weed Control:

Regular cultivation around plants during the growing season is needed. Careful not to cultivate too deeply as bramble roots systems are shallow. Mulching is important to help with weed suppression. A 2”-3” layer of mulch can be laid down after weeding. Use local bark mulch or ramial wood chips. Mulch within the beds or rows, but do not mulch between the rows or beds, since this will encourage the unwanted expansion of your raspberry patch into the rows.

The details...

Bare root plants should be soaked in a pail of water with some liquid seaweed at least 2 hours before planting. The fine root system should not be allowed to dry out during the planting process. Plant the canes several inches deeper than they were in the ground at the nursery. This is indicated by the soil line on the stem of the cane. Care should be taken that the hole is wide enough to allow the entire root system to be covered by soil. Spread the roots of the plants out in the hole/trench. Do not plant the canes too deep. New growth on raspberries may not appear for 4-6 weeks. The cane portion of the plant may never leaf out but the roots are likely to send up new shoots. It important to keep the new planting well watered. Do not water everyday, once or twice a week is sufficient during dry periods.

The most common mistake with raspberries is planting them too deeply. Raspberries are woody perennials that send up shoots from the ground every year. The little white buds near the base of the plant need to be above the soil line when planting.

We suggest that all brambles be supported by some sort of trellis. A trellis keeps the canes upright and the fruit off of the ground, makes picking easier and helps with good aeration which helps with disease control. We have been successful using a T bar trellis system for our raspberries at the nursery. The T bar trellis supports 2 wires, 12” apart at 3'-4' above the ground. Some varieties that are taller may benefit from a trellis with 2 T bars, one at 3' and another at 4'. Blackberries and blackberries can be staked as individuals or trained to a 4 wire trellis, see diagram.

PRUNING:

Summer bearing varieties

These varieties carry one crop on the over-wintering canes during the summer months. For best yields prune out the canes that carried fruit directly after harvest for the season has ended. Thin the remaining new growth to 6-8 strong,healthy canes per running row foot. A good method is to see if your hand will fit between the canes.

Fall bearing/Everbearing/Primocane bearing

These varieties will have two crops. The largest crop will be carried in the late summer and early fall on the tips of the canes that grew that summer. A second crop is then carried lower on those canes early the following summer. If you would like to have two crops then the pruning should follow in the same manner as for summer bearing varieties.

Most ever bearers will produce the best crop if not allowed to fruit in the early summer. To treat these plants as true fall bearers, mow off all the canes after the canes have lost their leaves in the very late fall, or you can mow them in the early spring. Be sure to cut the canes as closely as possible to the soil's surface, leaving as little a stub as possible above the ground. The new, strong canes that regrow again that summer will bear a crop that same fall. You are giving up the summer crop but the fall crop should be earlier and heavier.

Black and Purple Raspberries

Prune plants to 4-6 canes per plant cluster. Head back to maintain a manageable height of 5-6 feet. Heading the plants will encourage lateral buds to break and branch out. Heading back these lateral branches by 10-15 inches and pruning out winter damaged buds can help to increase berry size.

Blackberries

Canes that have fruited should be pruned out after the berry harvest is complete for the season. Thin the number of canes to 6-8 per running yard of row.

T-trellis
Courtesy of Ohio State University Extension

4-wire trellis
Courtesy of Ohio State University Extension

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Text by Effie Elfer - Fruit Drawings by Gabe Tempesta
Text and fruit drawings © 2009 Elmore Roots

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