Winter care of TC blackberry, raspberries too

2ajsmamaSeptember 24, 2012

Hi, I've searched and can't really find how I'm supposed to get my primocanes through the winter to bear next year. I planted 5 TC BBs, 5 Killarney raspberries, and 5 Encore RB (only 3 made it, but I've got some suckers I can move to those spaces) in early May this year after the April freezes were over. The RBs have suckered pretty nicely, I did get a few fruit and know I can prune those canes off now (and cut the original canes even if they didn't fruit). The TC grew 6-7ft long, I tried bending them over and tip-rooting but only 1 seems to have rooted - not sure what I can do with the other 3-4 long primocanes at this point.

They're in raised beds, with bark mulch (decomposing/sliding off the slopes) right now, should I put burlap down for winter (removed when I started seeing suckers)? Cover with old hay? What about the canes? I can lay the TC PCs down, they're so long, but they do grow straight up for a couple of ft b4 they start curving, I also don't want them to root all along the length if I lay them down to cover for the winter. And of course the RBs are erect, I can't lay them down.

Put up hoops and cover like a low tunnel for the winter (so snow won't break the canes)? What can I cover them with that will keep them warm enough if hoops are 2-3ft high?

Not trellised yet - figured we could build trellis next year, didn't expect TC canes to get so long the 1st year.

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I'm farther south from you, but blackberries grow wild all over the place down here. No overwintering methods required, just let them be. Snow, hard freezes down into single digits, doesn't phase them a bit down here.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 11:06AM
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The wild blackberries do fine (as far as I can tell, maybe some 1st-yr canes die off and I don't notice b/c I don't prune them). But I thought TC (and the raspberries) might be a bit less hardy?

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 11:10AM
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I tried a couple things with my TC's last winter. I left the thicker canes exposed on the trellis. I laid the more pliable canes on the ground and covered them with straw.

Everything overwintered just fine (but we had a very mild winter.)

I'm going to do the same thing this year.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 12:14PM
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The raspberries might be fine (I hope), both varieties are supposed to be good to zone 4, but TC "grows well" only in 6-9 and we're right on the edge of 5b and 6. I guess I'll just lay those down and cover them with burlap, if they root, I'll just have more to transplant next year.

Supposedly they have a low chill requirement, so I'll let them have a few good frosts before I cover them. The problem is if we have a warm spell after they chill, they could break dormancy and get frozen again (like this year, it was a mild winter, low temps but not much snow, then it hit mid-70's in March, 3 hard freezes the last week of April. Bad apple crop this year.).

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 12:39PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

TC is not worth growing here. -20F will blitz them hard. Anything exposed will have no flowers or will die back. If you have heavy snow, bury them. They will live in this area, but fruit will be spotty. Mine keep coming back after chopping, digging roots, etc... invasive/...similar to raspberries.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 12:47PM
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