Blackberry and Raspberry Trellis

highbrix(5)May 12, 2010

Hi All,

I have question regarding trellising blackberries and raspberries. I currently have 4 berry beds which are roughly 30 feet long and 4 feet wide. Each bed is separated by a 3 foot path of grass. I've done some serious research into different trellis designs and as a result, assembled my first trellis.

The trellis consists of 2 4x4 posts with 2 2x4s attached like a "T." The 4x4 post is roughly 5' tall above ground. The first 2x4 is placed 2 ft off the ground and is 24" in width and the second is placed 4 ft off the ground and is 36" in width. I'm using turnbuckles and strong clothes line for my wires that connect to the 2x4s (4 wires total).

In Bed #1 - I have a black satin blackberry, 1 heritage raspberry and 2 jewel raspberry. Bed #2 - I have 2 heritage, 1 Anne and 1 jewel raspberry Bed# 3 - All fall bearing golden raspberries, species unknown Bed#4 - 1 Apache and 1 Navaho and hopefully 2 Darrow blackberries.

Now to my questions, sorry for all the detail!! Given my trellis design above, I feel pretty good using this on Beds 1, 2, and 4 but what are your thoughts on the bed of fall bearing golden raspberries? I plan to mow these down at the end of the year and am not quite sure if my trellis design is overkill. I've already purchased all the wood according to my trellis design so at this point, money is not an object. I'm just hoping to find the best design.

Question #2 - In terms of the 2 Darrow blackberries, I purchased them roughly 7 weeks ago at Lowes. They were 1 year cuttings so there were pretty small. I soaked them in water prior to planting and have kept the ground moist ever since. But these 2 plants have not shown any sign of new sprouts. We did get warm temperatures pretty early this year in Ohio so maybe they dried out? Is this common or should I right them off and order 2 more? I'm running out of time for blackberry shipping in May so this has me in a bit of jam.

Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated!!!



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glenn_russell(6b RI)

Hi Terry-
In regards to question 1, in your bed 3, "All fall bearing golden raspberries", what variety are they? Anne again? Fall Gold? Kiwi Gold? The only thing I can think of is that My Kiwi golds grow quite a bit taller than the surrounding berries. But, my trellis's top out at about 3 feet tall, which is fine for most of my berries, but not the KiwiGold's (and Prelude's.) You can see my trellis's in my "My Page".
For question 2... Were these the carton'd plants that I see at Home Depot or Walmart? If so, they're the only plants that I've ever bought that haven't lived. And the story is repeated over and over again here on GW. If they are the carton'd plants, keep your receipts, dig up the sticks, and take 'em back. Good luck,

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 8:44PM
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Concerning Black Satin: Is fairly erect. Your first 2x4 crossbar will not come into play. The upper 36" crossbar is fine, but if you are putting a clothesline on each end of these crossbars, and the lines are widely spaced, say 30 or 32", that will allow for a lot of lean of the black satin canes. Not a problem, but you may eventually find a lot of black satin berry clusters right in your pathway. I would keep this variety trained more closely to the center of your row, using a centered clothesline.

Black Satin is an excellent cooking berry, not so good for fresh eating. If Triple Crown will survive in your zone, try that.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 11:33PM
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Hey Guys,
Thanks for your input. Im still trying to simmer down from a brief tour through the berry beds last night. I had deer come through and chew off the tops of the Apache, Navaho as well as some of my Anne and Heritage. It is funny because when I bought the Apache and Navaho at LoweÂs, they advertised these plants as "deer resistant." My a**. I continue to be amazed at the things deer will eat. I mean, the Anne and Heritage plants have thorns in them for crying out loud! That has to hurt!?! So anyway, chalk one up for the deerÂ.I lost this round. Now I have one more problem to fix. Hopefully, the plants will recover soon.

Glenn, IÂm not really sure what variety the golds are. I dug up several plants from a friend of mine. He ordered the plants from GurneyÂs so I checked their website. The only gold that I saw on their site was Anne. But the foliage on the Anne shoots looks different than the mystery plant so IÂm not sure. Maybe I'll talk to my friend to see how tall his berries get in mid summer. Well done on your trellises! The pipe looks pretty heavy duty!! I actually considered running 2 lines up high directly off the 4x4 posts. I noticed you had 4 vertical lines over your blackberries. As for the LoweÂs plants, these were purchased in a box and I think youÂre rightÂthey are probably dead. I have the box but I donÂt think I have the receiptÂ.argggg.

Larry, thanks for the suggestion on the Triple Crown. I noticed that most places are sold out for the season so IÂll have to do some searching to see what I can find. Maybe IÂll purchase 3 Triple Crown to replace the 2 diseased Darrow plants and the Black Satin. In terms of the Triple Crown, I heard a lot of rave reviews on this site so it must be good.

Do either of you think it is worthwhile to run an additional set of parallel lines up high right off of the 4x4 post? Then I would theoretically have 6 lines total. I can use the narrow set of parallel lines up high to train the primocanes and then use the other 4 lines for floricanes?

Thanks again guys!!!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 11:00AM
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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

Sorry about the deer, but "deer resistant" means it takes them 2 hours to eat the whole thing instead of 15 minutes. The only thing I've found that deer won't eat is iris.

For your plants that need to be mown to the ground, you simply remove one or both of the guide wires to set the plants loose before you run the mower over them.

If your guide wires bow out, you can tie a cross line between them to hold them closer together.

Wire would work better than clothes line. You can get coils of wire at the big box stores, near the chain link. Or try a farm supply store.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 11:18AM
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glenn_russell(6b RI)

Hi Terry-

As for the deer, you can always spray a decent smelling deer spray on your brambles... I use peppermint smelling Deer Out.

Perhaps you want to leave your vertical 4x4 posts extra tall until you see how your raspberries grow. Then, next year, or the year after, trim off the tops to the height you want. That way, you could always add another tier if you wantted.

I'm a little worried about Triple Crown in zone 5. You may want to check with others here if they believe it will be hardy enough.

I agree, wire will work better than close-line. I like the vinyl coated green wire from Ace Hardware because it blends in with the surrounding grass/plants/trees.

Yeah, I use the 4 wires per tier, and that works fine for me. But, others might argue that it makes harder to prune, etc, but I haven't found that to be the case. Really, I don't think the raspberries are all that picky here. :-) Whatever you like and works for you will likely work for them.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 12:19PM
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I have Heritage and Anne and they don't need to be trellised. Both are self-supporting and grow pretty much straight up. Black raspberries do need support but you'll only need that top wire around 3 feet and you cut the cane at about that height and lay the laterals that grow from the cut cane on the trellis. You might want to rearrange your beds so the black raspberries and blackberries are together. And you should really have each variety of raspberry separate too. I have Heritage and Anne in the same bed and Anne is getting out competed and there isn't much of Anne left.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 12:43PM
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backyardener(z6 Idaho)

I wonder if Terry is using the plastic (green) coated steel cable that they sell at Lowes as clothes line. I've used that for low tension applications (such as my raspberry trellis very similar to Terry's) and I like it better than wire because it is flexible, yet still plenty strong. I first set it up with wire and switched to the cable (clothes line) because it looks so much better, I could never get the wires completely straight without a lot of tension. I felt that putting that much tension on my trellis was not good and totally unnecessary. I am a neat freak and this is in my yard, so it needs to look nice.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 1:14PM
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I just bought raspberry and blackberries...and still have not transplanted them to bigger high should these plants get.
I have canby raspberry and black satin raspberry. Would like to know good containable heights for these so I know how high to prune and how tall and wide a trellis to make. Only have two plants but many shoots in each pot.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 3:19PM
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Hi Everyone!
Thanks again for everyones input, my comments below

Oregonwoodsmoke Thanks for the suggestion in terms of using a cross line between wires, Excellent suggestion! It is simple enough but at the same time, I would have never thought of that. In terms of mowing down the fall berries, that is my plan as well. I plan to remove the clothes line from my turnbuckles and mow away.

As for the clothes line, Im actually using a more heavy duty version of the green vinyl coated line. This line is stiff but not quite as stiff as many of the wire coils you mention.

Glen Thanks for the suggestion on the deer spray. I hate to put money into the garden in lieu of a more permanent solution but this might be the best option. How long does the Deer Out last? We usually get hard thunderstorms throughout the summer so do you have to continually reapply?
As a side note, I was talking with my "mystical friend" and she said that I have to release my fear of the deer! She claims that my continual worry is what is attracting them to my beds. She might be right (laughing)!! Ive been paranoid of the deer every since I put in my main garden (1000 sq ft) five years ago.

I think your advice on waiting to see how the plants grow is good. Ill watch their growth patterns this year and make adjustments as I go along.

athenainwi Thanks for your advice. I didnt think about keeping the varieties separate, that is a great "note to self."

In terms of keeping different varieties separate in each bed, does everyone have any recommendations given that fact that I already have multiple varieties in each bed? For example, if either Heritage or Anne crowds out the other, should I just prune the shoots of either variety to keep them in check??? Ive also noticed that Heritage is starting to move in on my Jewel plant in Bed 2.

backyardener Yes, that is the exact same line that I purchased from Lowes. It seems to be pretty sturdy for the most part.

socalliegal You might try doing a Google search on each species to get their growth habits. Im new to this too and Ive had to do a TON of homework to get this all figured out. I am surprised that more vendors dont offer information on growth habits or trellising when they sell their plants. You might also post this as a separate topic on GardenWeb. You will probably get more replies that way.

For what its worth, here are my suggestions

Canby This looks like a fall bearing raspberry so you will probably want to mow the plants down after they fruit. You could go with a simple "T" trellis design with your crossbar at 3 feet. This should keep them contained. But you dont necessarily need to use a trellis for these berries due to their growth habit. If you grow these in a hedgerow, Ive heard that for good light penetration and growth you should keep the hedgerow at a width of (12-15"). So the only pruning that will be done on these is on the suckers (new plant shoots) that grow outside this width. Someone please correct me if Im wrong.

Black Satin I believe these are considered "semi erect." So they will grow upright for a while and then the canes will flop over. When the flop onto the ground, the canes will tip root (mine did) and multiply. So you will need a trellis to keep them off the ground and additional support as the plant gets larger. You can prune the tips of the canes at (3-4 ft) (depending on the height of your trellis lines) and then attach the canes to your line. The plant will start to produce lateral branches once cut which you can train to your lines as well. I will see if I can find the page I used for my trellis designs and then send it to you.

In the meantime, you can check out the following page for info:
They have a good page on raspberries as well.

Thanks again everyone!!!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 11:39AM
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The problem that I've had with pruning Heritage back to give Anne a chance is that I can't tell the difference between them until they fruit, and by then it is a bit late to be doing anything about it. You can tell the difference between the reds and blacks fairly easily, and that is how I keep Heritage out of my black raspberry part of the row. It would have been better to have separate rows though and would have saved me some trouble.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 11:49AM
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glenn_russell(6b RI)

Hey Terry-
I've lived in this house for 8 years, and for the first 6, I had deer in my yard all the time. My thinking, though, was that it was just a couple families around here, and not a ton of them. Anyway, when the economy went bad last year (RI was especially hard hit), I'm wondering if the hunters got them for meat. I now haven't had any deer in the yard for about a year and a half.
But, when I did have 'em, I sprayed the Deer Out about once a month. The mfgr claims it can last 3 months plus, but I'm not sure I buy that. I also use Liquid Fence (smell s terrible... like Rotten Eggs), and PlantSkyDD (which works on a fear reflex... no real smell to me). I'd rotate through the 3. I'd paint PlantSkyDD on trees once they'd go dormant. That stuff may indeed last 3 months. I'd then use Liquid Fence in the spring when there's no real fruit yet. And then I'd use Deer Out into the summer. Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 2:53PM
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Your trellis system sounds fine. I use the same design for all my cane fruits, only I add extra posts in the blackberry beds. My advice would be to buy more plants to fill in those rows. A dozen or so plants for 120 ft is simply not enough. You will lose those beds to weeds in no time. With four beds, you can separate the black berries from the raspberries and the summer bearers from the everbearers. I too prefer the vinyl-coated wire. I started with straight wire and have replaced almost all of it except for one short grape arbor.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 2:30PM
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