Please help me plan where to plant ras/black/blueberries:)

greenhousekendraMarch 20, 2011

My Birthday presents are almost here!

Advice please � I will be receiving the following this week.

When should I plant them outdoors?

How far apart?

Which types next to each other?

In a line?

Facing which direction? N-S

How far away from apple trees? pear trees?

Which will need support?

Should I keep Ras and blackberries far apart?

Any extra information is always welcome. Thanks!

Kiowa Blackberry

Chester Thornless Blackberry

Triple Crown Thornless Blackberry - 2 inch Pot

Prime-Jim� Blackberry - 2 inch pot

Northblue Blueberry

Northcountry Blueberry

Encore Red Rasberry

Prelude Red Rasberry

Anne Yellow Raspberry - Bareroot

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Blueberries need full sun, all day, to thrive and produce maximum fruit. They can be planted three feet apart, to make a hedge, but they will produce more fruit with 6 to 8 foot spacing. Raspberries do OK with half-day sun. We have a patch of everbearing red raspberries, that sees full sun in the morning, and partial shade in the afternoon. The patch is healthy and productive. I'm not sure about blackberries.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 4:20PM
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Word of advice about the Kiowa's thorns. Those razor-hooks can be a real nightmare with working with the canes, especially when you have to separate the floracanes from the primocanes. I thought it wouldn't be too bad, but I was wrong. They not only make you bleed but end up shredding the parts of the plant left behind. I tore them out and replaced with Boysenberries, which have spines, not full-blown thorns.
Not knowing where you live makes it difficult to give timing advice. But if the plants are dormant, or just beginning to sprout, you can likely put them outdoors. But then maybe it's really cold where you live, and maybe the plants are being shipped from a mild location, in which case you may need to protect them from hard frosts.
I would give the blackberries at least two feet clear on each side, planted in a row. Triple crown I would give three feet. Some others plant them closer but if you have the room you might as will give it to them.
Chester, Kiowa and Triple crown don't necessarily need support as their canes are stiff. But if you don't give them support, you will have to prune them quite a bit to keep them from falling over. In the first year you will likely get very thin, floppy canes that can pretty much be left on the ground and won't support themselves. In years after they will be increasingly thick and stout. They will also grow 20 feet long if you let them, and they won't be able to support themselves like that. Some people cut the main canes to 4-5 feet and trim the lateral branches that subsequently grow to about two feet. This is a drastic reduction in the size of the plant and a restriction on its berry production. A trellis is the preferred method as the long, vigorous laterals can be supported on the trellis. However, a trellis can be a larger undertaking than you may want to invest in.
I would plant the raspberries separately as they have a completely different growth habit. They produce underground runners that can be invasive, while the blackberries for the most part stay in a clump where you put them. Trellis/support requirements are also different.

I don't know about Prime Jim except that it grows fruit on the primocanes, whereas the other varieties will grow fruit only on last year's canes, the floracanes, which are removed completely after bearing.

Try doing a search in this forum for "Triple Crown Trellis" without the quotes. Then sit back and take it all in. There have been quite a few threads on what you're asking about. You will learn alot and you will also be left with more questions.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 5:56PM
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It would help to know your approximate location and the size of your planting areas.

The different berry varieties do not need to be far apart.
For blackberries, the line or row direction is not critical, but north/south has a slight advantage.

If the apple and pear trees provide afternoon shade in the planting area, put the blackberries there.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 11:08PM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

Blackberries may not spread underground, but the semi-erect and trailing ones still expand quickly. I planted Triple Crown last year and they were tip-rooting like crazy. The Prime Jim will probably stay in place- I planted Prime Jan and they didn't spread at all.

I thought I was giving them a wide berth, but now the 8 feet between rows feels just about right. In a few years I may regret not giving them more. For in-row spacing I used 4 feet between blackberries and 2 feet between red/yellow raspberries (3 feet for black raspberries).

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 8:47PM
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Typically blackberries like triple crown are trellised and trained in a 2-dimensional plane, not allowed to spread perpendicular to the row. This would be even more desirable for thorny types. 8 feet between rows trained like this is plenty; 4 feet would be crowding it for the home garden.

Of course the blackberries are not aware of your row and a fair portion of the laterals will point away from it. These need to be forced into line when young or pruned short.

The in-row spacing mentioned above is excellent.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 11:47PM
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Hi Kendra: happy birthday!

As to blueberries, my abysmal experience leads to this bit of advice - keep the soil you are planting in in mind. My soil was very unsuitable, pH too high and very calsareous as well as extremely hard irrigation water to make things worse in the soil. If I chose to continue with blueberries I'd have had to start over with some serious soil amending a year or 2 ahead of planting and would have had to unrelentingly amend the soil to keep the plants happy. If your soils are similar, give it a whirl but leave yourself the room and time to attend to the soil issues. some may say something like, oh it's easy, I just, fill in the blank. Many people have not dealt with calcareous soils which have an unending buffering capacity, that is, an unending ability to undo what you do to them to allow things like Fe, Cu, Mn and Fe to be available to the plants. Have you had your soil tested yet, I forget?

On the bright side, Raspberries are pretty tolerant of the soils here where I live, the pears, not so much and the apples are struggling a bit, but I think that can be alleviated with regular mulching and foliar chelated Fe applications early in the season.

On the raspberries also, plant the primocane and floricane bearers in different beds as they can be easier to manage that way. It won't take you long to recognize the varieties' canes within the bed if and when they star to co-mingle. There is an argument for growing each variety in a different bed, you don't know exactly how they are going to respond over the years and it could be difficult to do something like trellis a bed with 2 or 3 different varieties in it. Been there, done that, didn't like the results. I suspect Glenn might tell you it is easiest, when deciding you want to try another variety in a bed to have only one variety in it, he has done that more than once I think.

Straight rows are probably easier to manage/trellis/irrigate but in my next life I'm going to take the time to make curved rows and use drip tubing instead of drip tape (doesn't like to bend too much) for the irrigation lines. Think of your prevailing winds for row orientation, our worst blow in the direction of the rows and the plants can get pretty torn up in those lovely weeks in August when the wind blows 24/7 for days on end in excess of 30 mph and 90 deg.. The damage might be lessened if the trellis was in grids keeping the canes from blowing down so much into the row, or it was taller or oriented in the other direction, I don't know that yet. This year I'll try running lines from wire across to the other wire at the same elevation to make grids as the end posts are too short to make the trellis taller.

As far as planting, plant the raspberries now, mine will be coming out of dormancy soon. If you are at all concerned about a hard freeze damaging the canes, mulch them up if one is imminent. You shouldn't have to mulch too far up as a good deal of the cane is cut off at planting leaving only a small portion remaining above ground (CHECK ME ON THAT, BEEN TOO LONG).


    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 10:13PM
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Thank you all so very much for sharing your knowledge. It's great to hear all the advice. It makes me realize issues that I didn't think about especially for the future.

There is a spot in the yard by 2 weeping willows, slight down hill, plenty of sun. There would be moist soil in this area. Do Ras or Blacberries prefer water or neither?
Michael, I am considerig keeping the blueberries in ope bottom raised bed containers. I only bought 2. How deep do the roots get?

My plans were to get them in the ground this weekend , but we are getting surprise snow so I'll hold on to them for now. It also gives me more time to change my mind on where to plant them.

Thank you!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 9:20PM
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Blackberries would tolerate constantly moist soil better than raspberries, as long as the soil isn't literally wet or boggy. If when you dig a shovelful of soil and can crumble it into small pieces by hitting it with the shovel, then it should be OK for planting. If it stays wetter than that for months and it only wants to stay in big gooey pieces, then it's not so good.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 11:42PM
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I don't know how deep blueberry roots go Kendra or how far they like to spread either. Raspberries don't like to have prolonged "wet feet".

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 5:18PM
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Kendra If you have trouble getting the soil pH (5-5.5)acid enough for blueberries consider growing them in containers. They have shallow roots so anything 18 inches deep should be deep enough. If you go with containers use a mix of peat moss and perlite then add a teaspoon of vinigar/gallon when you water them. I am adding 4 more varieties and plan to containerize them in 5 gal buckets and repot them in 18 gal containers if that becomes necessary.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 12:43AM
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jollyrd(Richmond VA)

disagree with "They (raspb) produce underground runners that can be invasive, while the blackberries for the most part stay in a clump where you put them"

our Blackberries send out underground suckers as far as 2-3 ft away from the row they are planted in = so I have to cut them as soon as I see them

With minimum fetilizer and morning shade/afternoon sun they produce pretty sweet fruit in the clay soil

I cut the old (brown and woody) canes to the ground and trim the new growth to 3ft

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 2:06PM
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I have some wild blackberries on my property, can I plant thornless varieties on my property without them comingling?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 7:01PM
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Not sure what comingling means in your context. If the berry types are physically separated and the wild berries are kept at bay through pruning/digging, they will not comingle.

The fruit of the thornless variety will stay true to that variety, even if its plants physically comingle with the wild berry plants. Any seedling plants of either variety, if allowed to grow and mature, could end up being different in growth and fruit from the original plants. Seedlings can occur when berries fall on open dirt and the seeds eventually sprout.

If the nearby wild berries do not look diseased, there should be no problem.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 12:54AM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

I've got to retract my earlier statement that the Prime Jan having stayed where I put them. Earlier today I noticed that there are canes growing up in a number of new locations- 10 I counted, from 5 original plants. They haven't strayed far from the plant- maybe 1.5-2' at most. I'm not positive it is underground runners rather than seeding from berries, but I suspect it, as I don't think there were enough berries last year to account for this many new plants. At least, I didn't miss 10 berries when I probably picked ~20 total. As long as they stay in a 2' wide strip, I'll probably just let them grow. Depending on how things go this year, I may take a harder line on such growth next year.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 10:22PM
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Than you! I planted the berries and gave them enough room and away from strong winds with plenty of sun. The Blackberries look great only one plant looks like it will not make the transplant.

The Rasberries were bare root. How do I know that they survived the transplant and are growing? Right now, the canes just look brown. Will I see growth on the cane itself or new canes from the ground?

I'm going to keep the blueberries in pots and look into building some small raised beds when they get a little bigger.

Thanks again for all the advice!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 4:00PM
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Your raspberry canes might put out a few leaves, but new canes are the main goal. Once any new canes have a fair number of good-looking leaves on them, you can do away with the little stub of original cane.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 11:57PM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

Nourse's planting guide says it can take 4-6 weeks. Unless it is still winter where you are, 6 weeks feels like a long time.

I planted both bare root and potted raspberries this spring and was very impressed with the potted ones. They are 2-3' tall (2nd year cane) and already leafed out (both the 2nd year cane and new growth). I'm thinking that this should give me a fast start on berry production. There doesn't seem to be as many options for potted plants online (selection and price), but I'll definitely consider them as my first choice in the future.

3 places that sell them:
Rolling River Nursery- where I got the impressive plants this year. Great price- 5 Caroline in 4"-4"-6" pot for $25.

Berries Unlimited- I haven't gotten any raspberries from them, but I see they sell them and their blueberry plants were quite large (and a bit pricey).

Backyard Berry Plants- I bought a few last fall and they were quite large, but much pricier ($15 each). They have quite a few varieties.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 12:22PM
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