Late fall planting of potted blackberries

manoactionNovember 1, 2012

Last spring I ordered a dozen blackberries from Stark Bros that arrived in small pots. While I was trying to acclimate them, we had a sudden cold snap that frost shocked them all in their pots.

Stark Bros was very kind to replace all of them, but they arrive next week. I�m concerned that they will once again be shocked by being placed into the cold late fall ground that is enduring occasional freezing temps at night.

What can I do to get these little guys in the ground and dormant so they come back with a bang next spring? Plant ASAP and then bury with a mound of dead leaves?

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These aren't going to do anything in the ground now.

Just store them where they won't freeze and where they may get a bit of window light during the day. Lift them every week or so and if they feel feather light, water them.

Plant them out in April or May.

Or try doing six that way and six out in the ground, mulched.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 11:10PM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

I don't think they will be shocked by being planted in the ground, especially if they arrive dormant. Soil temperatures aren't that low yet, and are much more stable than the air temperature. Reading your last paragraph, do you expect them to still have leaves? If they do, I think stripping the leaves would get them started towards dormancy.

If you plant them in the ground now, you don't have to worry about watering them or getting them planted at the right time in the spring. You might consider protecting them with wire cages or tree tubes. I haven't had trouble with rabbits or voles damaging blackberry canes specifically, but they have damaged small pawpaw, blueberry, and persimmon plants in my yard, and it's really discouraging. If you bury them with dead leaves, that could encourage voles or mice to set up a nest there.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 11:35PM
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They arrived in full greenery in the spring and I'm expecting them to arrive in November the same way.

It would be awesome if they'd arrive dormant already, but I'm betting they've been in some greenhouse all fall.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 12:40PM
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How small are these small pots? Are they 3- or 4-inch square pots?

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 11:40PM
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