Any advice for my blackberry?

tamtrible(9)February 21, 2014

I splurged and bought a wee blackberry plant from the hardware store (it's an Ebony King, and I'm broke enough that $7 for a plant is splurging). It's in a giant pot in my back yard, and that's where it's going to live, I don't have room in-ground.

I have... an odd spot for growing things. For about 2 months during the winter, I have *no* sun in my garden, because I have a tiny yard (on the north side of my house) and a high ceiling. During the summer, there's a fair amount of sun along the back of my garden area, though I can move things into shade if they would prefer that, and everything gets some shade from the scraggly little tree on the west side of the yard. If it matters, I have a block wall.

I'd like my little blackberry to survive, and hopefully also give me tasty, tasty fruit. Keeping expense in mind (I'm pretty broke), how can I best keep my little plant happy? Do I need to get some kind of trellis for it? If so, will one of those tomato cages or whatever do? How wet do blackberries generally like to be? Any special precautions I need for mid-summer? Any other thoughts?

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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Fun! I had a nice thornless blackberry in my last Scottsdale garden and it did really well for me. I planted it on the east side of the house so it got sun from sunrise until afternoon, and then shade for the afternoon. That seemed to keep it happy. It got watered once every week to ten days in winter and twice a week in summer. The leaf edges got a little browned in summer, but the new leaves emerged just fine in autumn. I'm sure other folks will have more tips. Good luck and do keep us posted! Happy gardening!

Here is a link that might be useful: Pics from my garden Feb 2014

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 11:11AM
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Fascist_Nation(9b)

I would have grave doubts about that designated USDA zone 5-7 cultivar surviving here and would consider it experimental.

Winter does not matter much as it will go dormant (though in our climate often it doesn't). Remember it has a 2 year above surface life span while the roots are perennial. Primocanes grow the first year ("prime") and the second year they flower/fruit (now called floricanes) then die, while new primocanes come up from the roots. Once the fruit is gone prune off the floricanes to the ground leaving more light and air circulation for the primocanes and to make room for the next years primocanes coming up.

Trellis for support. Cheap trellis is some remesh/hardware cloth about a 5 foot section with 4" squares. It's galvanized and you can stick the ends in the ground. Scrap can be found wherever they are pouring concrete. A couple of narrow strips can be combined.

Since it likely grew up in a greenhouse I would hope you have let it adjust to its new environment in that pot with some temporary partial shade to acclimate to your new environment. I would move it into full sun in the next few days if you can and try to get as much growth for it by the end of March. Then depending upon the temps (hitting 90F yet?) I'd move it into an area where it will start getting summer shade.

I would move the container to an area where it will get summer afternoon overhead and especially evening (western) shade; like under east side shade tree canopy. Wrap container in aluminum foil or paint white or place within a outer container and stuff insulation in between to keep container cooler.

Don't be surprised if they grow into the ground below through the drain hole of the pot. May want to keep container somewhat off of ground ("air pruning").

http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/crops/az1051/az105111.html

http://cals.arizona.edu/pubs/garden/az1450.pdf

Here is a link that might be useful: Blackberry 'Ebony King' (Mostly Thornless)

This post was edited by Fascist_Nation on Sat, Feb 22, 14 at 16:45

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 4:21PM
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