Bare root blackberries just arrived already growing, what to do

steve333_gw(5a)March 19, 2013

The Prime-Jan blackberries I ordered just arrived. In good shape but they are no longer dormant. The buds have broken and have about 1/2" of green growth on them. Problem is we are still getting freezing weather here. Typical lows are 20-30F, with an occasional dip down to 10F or so.

Seems like my choices are: pot them and let them grow inside until the weather is warmer. Or plant outside covered with a bunch of mulch and hope the new growth makes it.


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I have the same thing with blurberry plants I potted them inside 2 weeks ago I have them now in full bloom even with some flowers I will olant them out comes April first I might cover them at night . The treeshas a clock which tell them it is time I have my appricot trees started with green leaves. If they flower and we still get freeze I have a problem a friend of mine hangs Xmas lights on his trees I wonder if it does any good.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 5:56PM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

Where did you purchase your blackberry from?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 6:57PM
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These were purchased at Henry Fields. And other than having broken dormancy they look like very nice plants.

I might add that I would much prefer to put them outside and cover them with mulch, as GH space is fairly limited right now. I just was not sure if the growth would survive if we get another 10-15F night, even covered in mulch.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 9:36PM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

Aren't they supposed to be shipped right about last frost? I understand they are bare root but... I ordered 20 raspberry/blackberry, 50 strawberry and a handful of fruiting shrubs from Burgess, despite hearing all the bad reviews, I couldn't pass up the deal! I hope they don't do the same thing!.. I would wait to put them out, rather be safe than sorry, at least you have a greenhouse!! I can't imagie what inwould do if my whole shipment comes in early! Oh boy...


    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 9:45PM
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Bare root trees and shrubs are not necessarily supposed to show up at the time of last frost (it's ~ 6 weeks before that here). It's fine to plant a dormant plant/tree now even with temps going well below freezing. But not if they've already begun putting out leaves and shoots.

This is about the time I generally receive and plant bare root fruit trees, and it has worked out well, as almost all of them were received still dormant. The problem with these blackberries is they have started growing already. Something that the local berry plants are not doing yet; they barely have started swelling their buds.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 10:20PM
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I would pot them up temporarily in the house or garage....until things warm up. Then, put them in the ground.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 10:40PM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

Steve, I hear you, I understand that.. I'm sure they seen the buds breaking before they shipped them.. Anyways, good luck!


    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 10:45PM
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Put them in an extremely light medium like sawdust or shredded paper and keep the roots damp. Put them in the coolest place indoors that has some light.

That way, when the plants are pulled out of the potting medium, the fine new roots are less likely to break.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 11:21PM
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Any growth on a bare root blackberry is inconsequential as you should cut the "handle" off nearly to ground level when you plant it anyway. I know it looks nice to see that growth, but you really don't want it in the cane right now. You want new growth emerging from the root. I would not encourage any more growth as that is probably taking energy from the roots. Store it in a cool, dark space and keep the roots moist until you can get it planted. With blackberries, I also believe you should not expose their roots to light. Always keep them covered until ready to put in the ground.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 2:11PM
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Brookw thanks. I can cut off the upper growing buds, but that would still leave a couple of buds on each plant which are growing from the root itself. It's going down to 15F or so tonight and will probably get into mid single digits this weekend. I have my doubts that those buds would survive those temps outside, even with a thick layer of mulch. Or are blackberries hardier than I am thinking?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 11:49PM
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