Anyone growing blackberries?

thisisme(az9b)June 28, 2010

I'm hoping there is a variety that grows well here that does not want to take over my yard.

Any suggestions?

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phxplantaddict

Contact arfc. They sell a variety native to Az. Ive got a few, real tasty.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 12:50AM
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thisisme(az9b)

Thanks a lot phxplantaddict.

uh, who is arfc?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 1:57AM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Is it Arizona Rare Fruit Growers? They have a sale every fall and I plan to buy some blackberry bushes too. Someone on another SW gardening forum posted pictures of his bushes currently in their second year and producing very well.

But thisisme, I don't know if you can keep them from 'taking over the yard', they are blackberry bushes, after all. I have the room in my backyard. The other person's biggest tidbit of advice is to be sure to plant so you can reach both sides of the hedge to pick the fruit.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 9:40AM
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wabikeguy(7 AB)

"Taking over the yard?"

My concern is the other extreme. I have three of my original four "Apache" variety left. I planted them in December. The one in full sun has died. The two under shade cloth look like they might survive, and the one in the alclove near my front door gettting only 4 hours of direct sunlight looks good, but with all that shade I don't know if I'll be getting any fruit.

I'd love to hear what varieties people are having success with here.

thanks.........Dave

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 6:19PM
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mangledmind(AZ 9B)

All our berries are doing fine (no fruit yet) in GroWell Organics soil, full sun facing east, get mid-afternoon shade, but they can take several years (up to 2-3) to establish.

When we transplanted them in late March, early April, they were almost a foot tall, now over 2' and deep green leaves. We have lost over half of them, out of 7 only 3 left: our demon dogs ate a few and several were rotted in the pot from the nursery, and one was just a twig placed in the pot when we bought it (I was pretty upset with that, wanted to wring the nurseries neck, at $10 a piece no less).

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 12:20PM
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honeybeeinaz(8)

We are doing blackberries and raspberries. They can take over the yard, but we have them growing on a fence, so they are out of the rest of the yard. Raspberries did fantastic this year. We left too many the picking got ahead of us. Still waiting for the blackberries to come out. They are blossomed.
Any tips on pruning from anyone? We were told last year's branch produces this year's fruit. So, I'm kinda afraid to prune... not such which branches?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 10:58AM
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thisisme(az9b)

honeybeeinaz you are in a zone 8 so I assume you are not living down here in the Valley where temps are 100+ 4-6 months of the year.

As far as pruning goes my understanding is that after a cane fruits you are supposed to cut it down to the ground.

In the fruit and orchard section I have heard of people planting two beds. They plant one bed and then the following year they plant the next. That way there is always one bed fruiting and one bed growing new canes for fruiting the next year.

Of course I grew up eating fruit from wild blackberry bushes in NorCal. No one pruned them and there were always lots of berries.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 8:06PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

honey.....you said your bushes are growing on a fence, is it a problem that you cannot get around to the side of the bushes that grow against the fence? Someone on another forum said it's *vitally* important to plant so that you can pick berries from both sides. I would really like to plant along my east facing fence line, about 100' long, but am concerned about that comment. I'm envisioning lots of rotted fruit on the ground under the hedge. What's your experience?

Thanks.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 8:27AM
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mangledmind(AZ 9B)

PRUNING, courtesy of The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madigan:

Spring: cut back down to 2" - 6" off the ground all that didn't make a strong showing. Mulch and a LITTLE fertilizer.

Fall: cut tops down to 4' (four feet).

Next year:

Spring: add a LITTLE fertilizer and trim out any broken canes.

Summer start: trim all suckers coming up in unwanted places. Remove all sickly plants.

Summers end: cut to ground level all canes that fruited, weak canes and thin remaining to 6" spacing.

Falls end: cut remaining canes back to 4-5'.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 1:58PM
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greenthumbjeff(Zone 9 - Gilbert, AZ)

I have great success with 'Roseborough' but it's extremely thorny and painful to work with. However, the plants flourish in the heat and crank out quarts of huge, sweet blackberries each year. The canes grow at least 6-8' long. They get full sun and have absolutely no problems.

All fruit is borne on last year's canes. Therefore, once the canes have fruited, cut them down to ground level and keep the new canes that are growing this year. They will fruit next year. Repeat each year.

I have tried other varieties such as 'Black Satin' and 'Brazos' with marginal success.

I also have some thorny boysenberries that thrive in the heat (full sun) and produce tons of sweet boysenberries.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 10:03PM
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thisisme(az9b)

marympc if you plant them against the fence you will only be able to pick half the crop. Not only that but you won't be able to control their growth on the other side of the fence. I would think that that would be a worse problem than a bunch of rotten fruit.

greenthumbjeff you are not the first person to recommend "Roseborough" and the extension office does too. I was hoping someone was going to say they tried Kiowa and they were great. As it is I think I will go with the prevailing wisdom and go with Roseborough. Good to know they can take full Arizona sun. I would trial some Kiowa if I had more room but my over sized yard is full of fruit trees and space is at a premium.

Thanks everyone for your input. Thanks mangledmind for the pruning instructions.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 12:44AM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Thanks me, that makes sense.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 8:33AM
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tom_scw(9B)

I planted 3 Apache blackberries October 2008 in my caged garden 34' X 38'with 50% shade cloth. This year they have grown immensity and produced a nice crop. Water with drip line hose 20 minutes a day. On the first year I must have done something wrong as they did not produce, BUT this year a nice crop and growing like mad.

I also have Raspberries of the Canby family also under 50% shade cloth which are producing abundantly.

Raspberries take more water than blackberries.

I doubt if in the Phoenix area either berry could be raised without shade protection.

PS: Remember purchase plants for Zone 9 or higher. I purchased my plants from Gurneys they guarantee or your money back.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 8:53PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Thanks for the news Tom. Any chance you have a picture of your setup with the shade cloth?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 9:10PM
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rtl850nomore

Wahoo...get those berries planted McP. I see potential trades in the future.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 10:17AM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Hello There rtl....., I'm concerned about two things before I plant these luscious berries.

1. Do they really need to be shaded? That will kill the deal in my yard. I need a nice hedge, and having luscious berries as part of the deal is awesome, but no pampering is gonna happen in my garden. Hardy is the the keyword here.

2. If I plant the hedge of bb's along a chainlink fence, how much room do I need to allow for a walkway along the fence-side of the hedge? In other words, should the original planting be 6' from the fence? 8'?

Sorry for all the questions, I've made too many planting mistakes already!!! :~(

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 12:47PM
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wabikeguy(7 AB)

Marympc, I planted four Apache blackberries this last December. I water them daily. The one planted in full sun has died. One which is exposed but which only gets 4 hours of full sun daily isn't doing real well and may not survive the summer. The leaves just don't seem to be able to stand up to our intense desert sun. The two that I planted under 50% shade cloth look pretty good though, and I expect they will survive and fruit next year.

I have read that Brazos and Roseburough varieties are better adapted to our climate.

Have you considerd planting figs? Mine are doing real well here in Havasu. They're a pretty tree, will provide summer shade, and fresh figs are just awesome.

Dave

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 7:48PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Figs = water.....mucho water. Back to the drawing board although I'll check on Roseburough and Brazos. Jeez, with a name like Brazos it's gotta like the heat.

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 7:57PM
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thisisme(az9b)

marymcp have you thought about using a wild plum thicket as a hedge?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 9:27PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

No. Let me go look that up.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 9:06AM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Uh oh.....invasive is what folks are saying, these are best left to grow in the wild. Runners go everywere.

Back to the oleander idea. Thanks thisisme.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 9:11AM
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thisisme(az9b)

marymcp blackberries are invasive too. If you go with either blackberries or a wild American plum thicket you have to continually do maintenance. Most people just leave plenty of room around them and run a lawn mower over the volunteers. I have heard that some people even spray Roundup on the paths around their patches and thickets.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 6:06PM
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berrynewby

I planted 7 blackberry roots in Febuary along the East fence. All are doing good and 3 have fruited. My Question is that I read only 2nd year growth fruits so I assume the variety I bought must be first year. These are only 2 feet high at this time. I give each a good watering everyday and have then under sun shade other then that I do nothing. I'll let you know if the 16 berries I have now ripen. I live in the valley and so far I think they are doing well.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 4:04PM
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az_pamperedchef(9)

I'm glad you added to this old post, Berrynewby! I want to plant some blackberries and raspberries for the hubby. I even bought some at HD, but they didn't look too healthy so I took them back. It's good to hear that they can do well here. Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 12:27AM
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berrynewby

May 2013. Just added note I bought all plants from Wal mart and they were just a stick with some roots.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 12:14PM
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nickw252

I just recently planted some that a coworker gave me. I'm not sure what variety but he said he has a huge crop this year.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 2:39PM
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berrynewby

Nick252 they look so pretty. I dont know what mine are either. But looking forward to my 11 berries ripening to see how they taste. I planted all 7 in Febuary and did not expect any fruit this year. But so far there are 11 berries. Holding my breath to see if they survive our summers here. Temps get 100 every day now untill September

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 4:03PM
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berrynewby

FYI- here is a photo of how we have shaded our black berries and chillies. PCV pipe . Can raise and lower as needed
I let them have the morning sun and as the day gets hotter I lower the shade screens. We are in Glendale Az so we get the burning sun . You can see my blackberries growing . They were planted in Febuary this year and are about 2 feet tall and 3 of them have berries.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 9:03PM
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azbolt

I just picked a bowl full of blackberries yesterday. Your hard work now will pay off! Once established, they should do just fine.

Kevin

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 10:34AM
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berrynewby

wow so cool to have ripe berries all ready. Im really hoping they will be established enough to survive our summer. But I plan on staying on top of the shades and I water them every day , give then about 2 inches of water and just let it soak in . I want berries!!!!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 2:24PM
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ernie85017

I found a blackberry called Ouachita at Lowe's this spring. It's a bush type, no canes, or so it said. I have it in a place that will be easy to shade if the tree is not enough. So far it is putting out growth, has bloomed and there are berries ripening!
I wish I had bought them all!
(But the summer heat hasn't hit yet, either.)

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 4:46PM
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berrynewby

ernie85017 wow those berries look great . 3 of my bushes have a total of 11 berries . I planted 7 bushes and so far all look good. I planted in Febuary and am holding my breath about our summers heat and burn factors. All ready I gave to move my chillies the sun has killed 2.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 2:47PM
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Fascist_Nation(9b)

Ouachita is a thornless Arkansas variety that normally do not do well here, but Ouachita is said to be an exception. I would definitely make sure they get overhead shade in the summer...after you get it established you can take some of the spreading canes and try them without shade. It may be the first thornless variety to do well here.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 7:10PM
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az_pamperedchef(9)

I am inspired! I will definitely get some berries planted next year! Has anyone tried raspberries? Wonder if they'll do well here also?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 10:51AM
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aztreelvr

Here's some information on blackberry varieties that do well in the desert.

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing blackberries in the low desert

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 11:49AM
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berrynewby

Im planting raspberries next year as long as my black berries make it threw our 120 degrees days. Also my blueberries are still alive, but growth is extreamly slow.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 2:14PM
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Fascist_Nation(9b)

Dorman Red raspberry will produce here with a lot of summer shade but the fruit quality ranges from acceptable to poor. You would probably be better trying Boysenberry and Loganberry instead.

I am not going to try again until I get more shade established. Fall Gold is also reportedly Zone 9, but none of mine survived. I have considered an Zone 10 evergreen ground cover raspberry (see link).

Here is a link that might be useful: Emerald Carpet raspberry

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 3:39PM
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Fascist_Nation(9b)

Blueberries in PHX area need overhead and western shade in the summer or they will die. Move the containers under the east side canopy of a tree. They also need at least a 4" mulch layer and frequent watering. Rabbiteyes do a bit better than Southern Highbush.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 4:15PM
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ernie85017

The ouachita definitely needs shade. The last few days have proven that. It's still putting out some flowers and berries. I'm impressed, as it is such a small plant.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 3:21PM
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berrynewby

here is my blackberries planted in Febuary.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 7:30PM
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berrynewby

Trying this again photo did not attach.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 7:42PM
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Fascist_Nation(9b)

For anyone willing to chance it: One other variety of raspberry touted as zone 9 that I tried but it died was Southern Bababerry (ran across it when I was updating this season's notes).

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 6:47PM
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captaininsano

I have had good luck so far this year with Apache and Ouachita, Apache gave me about 10 berries ripened in May but this is first year for them, planted in late February early March, both plants have about 6 canes that are about 4 and half to 5 ft long, I have them in 15 gallon containers that get afternoon shade from a palm in the neighbors yard I have Heritage Raspberry and Brandywine Raspberry that I bought at HD that are doing well also canes are about three feet long on both heritage looks like it wants to make some berries

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 12:10AM
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Centurion_(Verde Valley AZ Z8)

How much are all of you watering your berries?

Berrynewbie mentioned he is watering daily. My temps here in the Verde Valley are lower than most of yours....max temps at the casa have been only 105 to date.

I ask this because I was watering every other day. The ground remained damp in between waterings, so I figured it was enough, but many of my Apache berries have dried up.

Too much sun? Or not enough water? Or maybe just too much heat? Apache berries are not under shadecloth. Since the season is basically over for them, I am letting them be.

Navajo's and Ouichata's are under shadecloth and getting daily watering.

Any thoughts? Was it not enough water? No shade cloth? Or maybe both?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 3:14PM
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berrynewby

Centurion, I am still watering everyday, I give each about 2 inches of water , let it soak slowly. Is this right or wrong? I dont know. But they are growing extreamly well and we have hit over 105 a few days.
I have shade but the runners which are not shaded are doing just as well as the shaded.
I have 7 bushes planted on the west by a fence. They are shaded in the early morning by the shade screen and late afternoon by the house. But do get direct sun for about 4 hours.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 10:32AM
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Centurion_(Verde Valley AZ Z8)

Thanks. We are recently transplanted to this area. Still trying to get a handle on our new soil and climate conditions, as well as varieties of plants I have never grown before.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 4:35PM
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AZGardenQueen

Hey y'all! I am down in the North end of the Valley(or up, depending on your perspective) and I bought those dang thornless blackberries from Home Depot last year, too! They keep popping up everywhere, oh well. First off, on the watering: take an empty tuna can which is about an inch deep. Put it in your bed, under the soaker hose if that's how you water and I hope it is because that's the best way.

Now, you probably need in the worst of our heat to give 1-2 inches per day. I personally water in the morning until the tuna cans are full to overflowing and then I check in the afternoon to see if anything looks wilty (not so far and it's hit 105 here) but if so, I will run the soakers again for a bit.

As I understand it, we will be lucky to see a blackberry by year 2 or 3 due to their fruiting on older wood. Which means our gardens will be overrun by them by the time we get a single berry!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 12:28AM
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berrynewby

This is a pic of my blackberries which were planted in Feb. Bought it wal-mart when they were sticks with some roots.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 10:46AM
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berrynewby

same as above

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 10:49AM
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berrynewby

i am thinking a bought the thornless type. Because I see no thorns . Or do thorns develope later on? Also all seem to be growing nicely but no new shoots. Is this normal or am i doing something wrong?
Do shoots only come up when its cooler?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 11:15AM
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berrynewby

As u can see in the pic above I have about a 2 inch well around each . I fill the well to the top (about 2 in) let it soak in .

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 12:59PM
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gpc2012(9)

I don't know if this will help. I live in the Central Valley in California. Reedley Ca to be exact. I have two arapaho thornless berries. I planted last year and they are doing very well. I just started harvesting them and have gotten over 2lbs of berries not including the ones that I have eaten while in the yard. We get up into the 100's all summer long, and mine seem to do great. hope this helps.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 12:42PM
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berrynewby

I see u have restained yours to grow more up right. I think Ill do the same.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 3:22PM
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berrynewby

I see u have restained yours to grow more up right. I think Ill do the same.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 3:23PM
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berrynewby

Planted in Feb 2013 doing well I think

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 9:53AM
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berrynewby

Found where 2 runners had grew into the ground. Dug up 1 replanted it to another location. So now we wait to see what happens.
What a plesant surprize that my black berries are doing so well here in the valley of the sun.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 2:33PM
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berrynewby

my berries planted in Febuary Phoenix AZ. Looks like they have survived our summer heat. Some are over 5 feet tall. Looking forward to berries next year. Still water ever day.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 5:02PM
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