When do blackberries slow down?

dbarnett13(z21 CA)September 4, 2011

I have some first year plants that are in the ground since July 1. They have been growing like crazy but I am starting to see a little slow down. They are still growing but not as fast. Do the plants start their dormancy around this time or do they shut down after the first cold spell? I have black Satin, Triple Crown, Marion, and Ouachita. I am thinking that they may have too much water as I water twice per week. Temps have been around in the 90-95 range. My soil is more on the clayish side but I have amended the soil 1 to 1 ratio, so I do get good drainage. Part of me thinks that I am "over thinking" this since the plants still look healthy and have some noticeable growth. I posted a link to my berry blog. If you double click on the photos, you can see close up detail. I would also like your opinions of the trellis and soil around the plants. The soil looks dry around the basin, but is damp once the top layer of dirt is removed.

Thanks in advance.

Here is a link that might be useful: Recent Blackberry photos mentioned in my post.

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Sweet plants there dude! Im having the same thing going on with my blackberries but Im in zone 9A with Kiowa blackberries and one Brazos (got tricked into that one, wrong label). The pic below is from about 2 months ago and the canes are now mostly 6ft tall and tied off to the top wire but they are slowing down, kinda??? As far as watering goes Im doing about the same, twice a week and we have been in 100s for 40 something days now untill this last weekend it was in the high 80s! My beds are raised though, about 10inches off the ground and 1 to 2 inches of pinebark mulch. I also have clay soil and amended 2 parts compost and peat with 1 part clay soil.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 6:51AM
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I find Triple Crown keeps growing thru the end of October, which for us is about the time of our first frost and light levels are way, way low.
I think if your soil is moist underneath, that's adequate for your blackberries.
About your trellis, the wires look nice and thick and that's good. But I suspect they're not so well secured and anchored. Judging from the amount of slack I see. But I can't really see in your pictures what sort of support the wires are getting. A Triple Crown plant can get quite heavy and bear alot of fruit. Just make sure those wires have some good support or you may find it all collapsing into the center.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 2:30PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Here in zone 9 mine are still growing like weeds.

Far as the loose wires that is simply because he secured the wires to the posts directly. It is impossible to get them stretched tight that way without a turnbuckle. Long as they are in the ground well they will be fine. I never worry about tight wires except on the kiwi and the grapes.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 4:51PM
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dbarnett13(z21 CA)

Thanks for the replies. The posts took forever to pound in. They won't be going anywhere. It took about 20 minutes of pounding for each post to go in about 2 feet. The wires are loose and I should have used a turnbuckle. Right now I am using the plastic green tape to tie my vines, but others have told me that I need to invest in some rubber coated wire to hold the fruit and vines. Since I am getting very little fruit next year, I suspect that things will be good to go for now. When they new canes come up in spring, I may reinforce the trellis by tightening the wires and and suing the rubber coated wire to secure the second year crop. Thanks for taking the time to look at my photos and making helpful comments.

Can someone point me to directions on how to post pictures? I have been using my blog, but I don't want to give the impression that I am posting just to promote my blog.

Thanks in advance...

Dan in San Diego (East County in the foothills)

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 5:40PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)



Click sign up.

Pick a user name and pass word and hit next.

Fill in the info and hit "accept, sign me up"

And you are in. Now you just need to move the pictures from your computer to photobucket so:

Click upload now at the top of the page. Now click on select photos and videos and navigate on your computer to the pic you want and hit open. The pic will now upload and is in your album at photobucket. Click return to album or my home.

Now if you hover your cursur over the picture... see the box that pops up below the picture? Go down to the one that says HTML Code and left click it it will now say copied. That is it......on the forum just go to your post and where you would post text just right click and hit paste.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 6:59PM
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dbarnett13(z21 CA)

Let's see if this works.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 9:48PM
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Yup, it worked. Linking to your blog is fine, too.

The plants you have pictured are about 1/20th of the plant mass you will have in 3 or 4 years. Of course, you can always keep it pruned to a manageable level. Heavily laden triple crowns will probably not collapse the wires, but will certainly pull them sideways until taut. Having a tightening system is a good idea.

In zone 21, it should be well into fall before the growth stops, just keep pruning any canes or laterals that go out of the trellis bounds, and reprune any laterals that form on the pruned ends.

Plastic green tape may stretch under the fruit load until it breaks. You can use macrame or other soft twine, though.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 11:28PM
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dbarnett13(z21 CA)

The plants are still growing quite vigorously and while they have shown some signs of slowing down, I bet that they will continue to grow until the first frost which is around late November or early December.

Here is a link that might be useful: October Berry Update

    Bookmark   October 31, 2011 at 2:52AM
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...to be expected in z21. Blog comments: Yes, black satin can be the equal of triple crown for cane growth. I pruned back a triple crown cane that was well over 20 feet this month. Under good conditions, some caneberries are like growing giant pumpkins--be careful what you wish for!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2011 at 11:50PM
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Use small hair clips to hold plants! I use them for everything--cheap & simple & reusable.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 5:30AM
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dbarnett13(z21 CA)

My Triple Crown and Black Satin Blackberries are still dormant with no signs of the buds swelling. The canes do look green and healthy. My Marionberries, Ollalieberries, and Boysenberries are leafing out with flowers on them. Curious to when you see signs of life on the thornless varieties.....

Thanks in advance

Dan - East San Diego County

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 3:03AM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)


Blackberries take awhile to wake up..they seem to be on the same schedule as muscadine grapes which also like to sleep in. I have 3 different types of blackberries and just yesterday did I see the first few buds popping but it is still just maybe 1-100 buds have started to grow but when they decide it is time they will go fast.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 7:42AM
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