How to grow a blackberry: cultural history, agricultural technology, protection against diseases and pests
Blackberry is a very close relative of the well-known raspberries, but in our gardens it is not too common. In recent years, new high-yielding blackberry varieties have appeared, which has aroused the interest of many gardeners in this crop. In order to get a good berry crop annually, you need to choose a variety suitable for the region and properly care for it.
Blackberry Growing History
From time immemorial, blackberries have been used by humans for food. Wild bushes strewn with small fragrant berries were ubiquitous. But at the same time, the blackberry remained a bog plant for a very long time.
It was only in 1833 that the American breeder William Kenrick published an article about blackberries in the popular New American Gardener. He was amazed that valuable and high-yielding berries did not find a place with gardeners. Soon after, the first cultivated blackberry varieties with sweeter berries appeared in North America, and by 1919 21 thousand hectares were allotted for berry plantations. Until now, blackberries are bred in the United States in vast areas, using berries for fresh sales and for industrial processing.
Blackberry cultivars differ from wild parental forms in larger and sweeter berries.
In Russia, work on the cultivation of cultivars began only in the last century. The first to note the promise of cultivation of blackberry I.V. Michurin. He took two American varieties - Logano and Lucretia - and based on them he developed new forms of blackberries that are more resistant to local conditions. As a result of painstaking selection work in 1904–1908, the first Russian varieties appeared:
- Updated Lucretia;
Currently, there are about 300 varieties of cultivated blackberries, they are most common in America and Western Europe. In the CIS, about two dozen varieties are grown that are best suited to frosty winters. But so far only three items have been included in the State Register of Achievements of Domestic Breeding.
Table: Blackberry varieties in the State Register of Breeding Achievements
|Blackberry variety||Berry mass, g||Average productivity, kg / ha||Frost resistance|
|Agave||4, 5–5, 0||99.8||average|
|Thorn Free||4, 5–5, 0||77.8||low|
The main stages of agricultural technology
Blackberry care includes regular watering, fertilizer, timely pruning of bushes, as well as protection from diseases and pests. Most cultivars need shelter for the winter.
Planting a blackberry
Blackberry seedlings grown in containers can be transferred to a permanent place at any time. Plants with an open root system suffer more from high temperatures and lack of moisture. Therefore, it is better to plant them in autumn or early spring.
With proper cultivation, the blackberry begins to bear fruit abundantly in the second year after planting
Choosing a place for a berry
When choosing a place for planting, it is necessary to take into account the characteristics of the plant:
- A blackberry is an aggressor neighbor; its bushes grow rapidly. Plants need to be planted at a distance of 1-2 m from each other, so that it is convenient to harvest. It is especially important to indent about half a meter from the side of the fence.
Blackberries give a lot of offspring, so you need to leave indents around the bushes
- The plant is photophilous, but will bear fruit in partial shade. However, a constant lack of sunshine can lead to a decrease in yield. New shoots will stretch and mature worse, and this always reduces the plant's resistance to frost.
- The culture does not tolerate moist soils, therefore, it is impossible to distinguish lowlands for it, in which snow or puddles remain for a long time after prolonged rains. Ground water in such a section should be at a depth of not less than one meter.
- In winter, blackberries can be damaged by frost. To save the bushes, choose a site that is well protected from the wind and illuminated by the sun.
In areas well lit by the sun, blackberry shoots mature well and are less damaged by frost.
- Carbonate soils where the plant will necessarily suffer from a lack of magnesium and iron should be avoided.
- Cereals and legumes can be good predecessors for blackberries.
Preparing the soil for planting
A landing site is best prepared in advance. The depth of the pit should be 35–45 cm so that the root system can fit freely. About a month before planting in the prepared pits make:
- a bucket of humus or compost;
- a glass of ash;
- 100-130 g of superphosphate;
- 60 g of potassium sulfate.
All of these ingredients are mixed with the upper fertile layer of the earth so that the pit is more than half full. With a high level of soil acidity, lime must be added.
Video: how to plant a blackberry
Like other berry crops, blackberries for good fruiting require:
- the main elements are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium;
- trace elements - selenium, magnesium, boron, calcium, copper and zinc.
In the spring, berry growers need nitrogen top dressing. Most often, ammonium nitrate or urea is used for this purpose, while fertilizers are scattered evenly around the bushes. Phosphoric and potash fertilizers are best applied in the fall. Some of the elements of the plant are taken from the introduced organic matter and mulch (humus, peat, compost).
Gallery: Fertilizers for Blackberry
- Ammonium nitrate is added under the blackberry bushes in the spring at the rate of 50–65 g per plant
- Superphosphate is best applied under the blackberry in the fall, sprinkling it on top of the mulch (100 g per plant)
- Compost is often used to mulch blackberry seedlings as well as fertilizer.
Many experienced gardeners feed blackberry planting only with plant debris that forms when the bush is trimmed. They are crushed and scattered around the stem.
Video: how to feed a blackberry in spring
The peculiarity of the blackberry is that its fruits are tied on the growth of last year. In order to maintain a high level of productivity for a long time, you need to take care of the berry regularly. Blackberry pruning is best done twice a year. In the fall, the main pruning is done, and in the early spring, frozen shoots are removed. The main advantages of autumn pruning are that:
- thinned plantings are easier to shelter for the winter;
- pruning of young branches stimulates fruiting in the next season;
- removal of excess shoots enhances the bush;
- frost resistance increases.
The technology for growing this crop is largely similar to the raspberry farming technique:
- In the fall, the frigid branches are pruned at soil level.
Blackberry branches that have been detached should be removed in the fall.
- 3-4 bushes of the strongest shoots are usually left on the bushes, the rest are removed.
- It is also necessary to remove weak and damaged tips on young shoots.
If you have a repairing blackberry growing, then you can mow all the lashes for the winter, like the repair raspberries, but there is a chance that the crop will not have time to ripen next year. When buying seedlings in a nursery, be sure to ask about the appropriate method for wrapping varieties.
Video: spring garden blackberry
Protection against diseases and pests
Blackberry has only recently been “prescribed” in our gardens, and there is as yet no proven protection methodology for this crop. Raspberries and blackberries have many common pests, so gardeners use schemes that have long been tested on raspberry plantations.
In the spring, to protect blackberries from diseases and pests, a whole range of activities is carried out:
- From anthracnose, Chistoflor and Agrolekar preparations are used.
- From gray rot helps Tsineb, Euparen.
- From raspberry beetle and stem fly, blackberry bushes are treated with Fitoverm, Aktellik or Akarin.
- The same Fitoverm is also used to protect plantings from spider mites.
Gallery: preparations for protection
- Chistoflor is especially effective in the fight against powdery mildew and anthracnose.
- Tsineb fungicide is used for the treatment and prevention of fungal diseases
- Biofeedback Fitoverm does not accumulate in plant tissues; it is rapidly destroyed in water and in soil
Adherents of natural plant protection methods prefer to use herbal infusions.
Table: making an infusion of herbs
|Raw materials for infusion||Amount (per 10 l of water), g||Infusion time|
|Ground Marigolds||300||24 hours|
|Chopped wormwood||300||2 hours|
It happens that in late spring on the branches of blackberries wilted and bent tops of young shoots appear. These are signs of a raspberry gall midge defeat - a very dangerous pest that can quickly destroy an entire plantation.
Raspberry gall midge damage signals a threat to the entire blackberry plantation
If the disease has already been identified, you need to do the following:
- Affected stems mercilessly cut and burn.
- So that new pests do not settle on healthy bushes, dig the earth and spray it with Fufanon's solution (20 ml per bucket of water).
- In addition, you need to process all the branches (200-300 ml of solution per plant).
If the blackberry is affected by raspberry gall midges, the healthy stems and the soil under them must be treated with Fufanon
Successful wintering of a blackberry directly depends on the time of planting, as well as the timely preparation of the berry for winter. Bushes planted in spring are much more likely to survive in frosty winters.
Blackberry garden varieties for the complete completion of the growing season need at least 130 days with an air temperature of at least + 20 degrees.
One of the important factors for successful survival is the autumn pruning and folding of bushes. But still, the main concern of a blackberry lover in the fall is the construction of reliable shelters. They are made as follows:
- As a heater use hay, straw or corn leaves.
- The plant layer is covered on top with a dense plastic film or spanbond.
Blackberry bushes removed from the supports are insulated with plant residues and covered with a spanbond from above
- After the appearance of snow, it is advisable to additionally cover them with a blackberry row.
If it is required to insulate erect blackberry varieties, it is impossible to bend them immediately. In this case, you have to prepare for the procedure in about a month. In September, a small load is fixed for each vertical shoot, which gradually bends the branches to the ground.Recent entries In April, I process roses so that no pests encroach on my beauties
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Video: preparing a blackberry for shelter
Like raspberries, blackberries can be propagated in different ways:
- by seeds;
- root offspring;
- green and lignified cuttings;
- dividing the bush.
During seed propagation, the properties of the mother variety, as a rule, are not preserved. However, seedlings are much stronger than the original form. In order to appreciate the virtues of young plants, you have to wait a long time. Only after three to four years, the blackberry grown from seedlings can give the first fruits.
If you are planning to present young seedlings to your friends, do not rush! Be sure to wait for the first harvest and make sure of its quality.
Blackberry seedlings are grown in several stages:
- First, you need to scarify or stratify the seeds. This is necessary so that they germinate well.
For better germination, blackberry seeds are placed in wet sand and kept at a temperature of +1 to +4 ° С
- Then the seeds are placed in rainwater for three days.
- After the appearance of 3-5 young leaves, the seedlings are planted in well-heated soil.
- At the end of the season you need to cover the annuals with straw, leaves, as well as special covering material.
BlackBerry seedlings can be covered for the winter with leaves, special non-woven material and spruce branches
Scarification is a violation of the shell site. Stratification - storage of seeds in moist sand for 1-2 months at a temperature of 1-4 degrees of heat.
It is important to ensure that young plants immediately receive optimal conditions for growth:
- the distance between seedlings should be from 10 to 20 cm;
- all weeds must be removed;
- the earth around the seedlings is constantly loosened;
- provide watering plentiful but sparse.
With the onset of spring, the grown seedlings are dug up and transplanted to a permanent place.
The most common methods of breeding blackberries are:
- receiving planting material from layering (apical and lateral);
- reproduction by root offspring.
From one branch of the root you can get several new blackberry bushes
All other types of vegetative propagation are rarely used.
Video: blackberry propagation by root layers
Features of cultivation in the regions
You can highlight the characteristic climate features for each region, which must be taken into account when growing blackberries. But within the same climatic conditions, there are differences in location (for example, the site is located on a mountain, near a river or in a lowland). Other factors, such as shading, building layouts, prevailing winds, etc., also affect plant development.
Blackberry Culture in Belarus
In Belarus, two wild-growing species of blackberry are growing - gray-gray (burn) and cumanica - as well as many cultivars. The flowering period stretches here from the end of June until the second half of July, and the ripening of berries does not begin until August. In order for the blackberry berries of earlier varieties to ripen, you need at least a month and a half, for later varieties - more than two months. Plants bear fruit better on the south or southwest side of the plot, which the sun illuminates most of the day.
Garden blackberry blooms profusely and for a long time - almost until the end of July
The most harmful for blackberries in this region is the blackberry tick, and the most common disease is overgrowth of bushes.
Gallery: pests and diseases of Belarusian blackberry
- The blackberry tick is a very small insect and can only be examined under a microscope.
- A blackberry affected by a tick is completely unsuitable for eating
- Growth - a dangerous viral disease in which the shoots become thinner, become dwarf
Blackberry cultivation in Ukraine
Blackberries in Ukraine are grown in large quantities. Local gardeners are more likely to choose late varieties that ripen in the very last days of summer. Harvesting berries in the region is harvested throughout September. Spread here are more than two hundred varieties of blackberries.
The advantage of the culture is resistance to heat, which is especially important for the south of Ukraine. However, local gardeners consider weak winter hardiness to be the biggest drawback of blackberries. The climate of Ukraine is characterized by very low winter temperatures in some years. But even if the frosts are not strong, the icy winter winds are a danger. In such conditions, the plantings of blackberries often freeze out, so the culture needs mandatory shelter.
Blackberry in the suburbs
Gardeners in the Moscow Region are experimenting with blackberry varieties with great interest. The blackberry variety Agawam enjoys special love, which winters without problems even in the northern regions of the Moscow region.
Blackberry variety Agawam has established itself as reliable and resistant to cold.
In the absence of severe frosts, a blackberry can winter well without shelter. However, given the climatic conditions of the Moscow region, one should not rely too much on a warm winter. New varieties of Thorn Free, Black Satin for a reliable wintering must be covered.
One of the main conditions for the cultivation of blackberries in the gardens of the Moscow region is its placement in bright and windless sections of the garden.
How to grow a blackberry in Siberia
Blackberry is a southern berry, and it often lacks a short Siberian summer. In addition, in Siberia, culture is struggling with a cold period. When choosing a cultivar for cultivation in Siberian conditions, the main attention is paid to its frost resistance. Varieties are best suited for the region:
- El Dorado;
Blackberry variety Erie is characterized by high productivity and tolerates frosty winters very well.
The lowest temperature a blackberry can withstand without shelter is -22 ° C.
Blackberry breeding in the Urals
It is quite possible to get a large number of blackberries in the Urals if you choose the right variety. The largest blackberry crop in the Urals is produced by the following varieties:
Blackberry variety Ruben is known for its frost resistance, but does not tolerate heat.
- Black Satin.
The Ruben variety, bred only 6 years ago, deserves special attention. A bush with flexible branches, without sharp thorns, bears fruit before the onset of winter. But the main advantage is that in the conditions of the Ural region it is able to withstand low temperatures.
Yes, the most important issue of blackberry cultivation is wintering. We grow a new Ruben variety; it is frost-resistant, but very vulnerable to drought! The fruits just cease to be tied. We have to cover the bushes with a net. If your region often bakes, you can find yourself another variety, for example, there is a reliable one - Black Magic.Marina Kuzanova
It is difficult to say about the favorites, there are many of them, the main tasters are the grandchildren. I really like to taste: Doyle, Natchez, Owachita, Loch Ness, Chester, Asterina and others. But it is more difficult with frost resistance, there are no ideal varieties, so that it is not prickly and large and that our frosts can withstand and bear fruit all summer. But many lovers successfully grow garden blackberries both in the Vladimir region and in all areas of the Moscow Region, only varieties must be selected for each region. There are varieties with increased frost resistance, such as the Polar straight-grown, the declared frost resistance is up to -30, early, Chester is also up to -30 but late.Sergey1
I can not share my personal opinion about the taste of blackberries, because my bushes have just been planted, but forum users from Samara, Volgograd, Belarus and Canada, who have adult fruiting bushes of several varieties of blackberries (Thornfrey, Evegrin, Doyle, Sylvan, etc.) and raspberry-blackberry hybrids (Boysenberry, Tyberri, etc.) n.), speak very well about the taste and productivity of this crop. And then, the more variety, the better, isn't it?Alpina
Modern blackberry varieties are characterized by high productivity and excellent fruit taste. In order not to be disappointed in the choice, pay attention to varieties with characteristics suitable to your climate. Blackberry requires constant care, but with strict adherence to agricultural technology, bears fruit well and is almost not affected by diseases.