blackberry first year production? Mulberries?

derbykaJanuary 25, 2014

Can anyone help me clear up my confusion about blackberries? I have several large community garden plots and am looking for some fast producing fruit besides my strawberries. I have found kiowa, brazos, and an unknown thornless variety of blackberry at local nurseries. Have been reading what people have to say about blackberries here on the forum. Since the plants only fruit on the second year canes, it seems impossible to get any production the first year. However, based on the dates of posts, it seems that since people have gotten berries the first year. I know that I will not get the best harvest, but is it possible to get one? I know sometimes things work slightly differently here in Florida. Also, what about a dwarf out potted mulberry? My biggest concern is fastest and best producti oron over flavor. Any input or ideas would be greatly appreciated!

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loufloralcityz9

Primocane blackberry plants will produce fruit on the first years cane growth in the late fall through to the first frost.
Be very aware of the chill hours required by the plants you select and your local area chill hours, they must match to produce berries.
NOTE; Chill Hours and Local Zones are not the same. Matching the plants Zone requirements to your Zone means the plant will survive and grow in your local area. Matching the plants Chill Hour requirements to your local Chill Hours means the plant will fruit in your local area if the chilling requirements are met. (Chill Hours = The accumulated time during the winter season that the temperature falls below 45 degrees)

A dwarf potted mulberry will produce tiny berries when very small. I had tiny berries on my 2 dwarf plants when they were less than a foot tall.

Lou

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 4:39AM
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derbyka

Thanks for the advice Lou. When I was researching, it seemed that the primocane varieties aren't suited to our climate here in Florida. I have definitely noticed that certain varieties are recommended for our zones for heat tolerance but actually need a lot of chill hours. I'm in St. Pete so chill hours are minimal here by the water. The dwarf mulberry I found for sale is about 6.5 ft tall but only about 1" in diameter and very few side branches. It is dormant so I was thinking that I would prune it to about 4.5/5 ft so that it will branch out more. I read that you can prune to create more branching after each leaf flush and that there should be 4 leaf flushes/booms each growing season. Have you found that to be true? I would probably put it in a large container and maybe sink the container just to blend in more with the community garden.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 9:49AM
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derbyka

Thanks for the advice Lou. When I was researching, it seemed that the primocane varieties aren't suited to our climate here in Florida. I have definitely noticed that certain varieties are recommended for our zones for heat tolerance but actually need a lot of chill hours. I'm in St. Pete so chill hours are minimal here by the water. The dwarf mulberry I found for sale is about 6.5 ft tall but only about 1" in diameter and very few side branches. It is dormant so I was thinking that I would prune it to about 4.5/5 ft so that it will branch out more. I read that you can prune to create more branching after each leaf flush and that there should be 4 leaf flushes/booms each growing season. Have you found that to be true? I would probably put it in a large container and maybe sink the container just to blend in more with the community garden.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 4:49PM
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loufloralcityz9

derbyka,
Pruning the top 1/3 of the tree during dormancy as you indicated will force branching and should not hurt the tree. I have done this to some of my trees that were turning into tall sticks to encourage side branching. I don't like removing any more than the top third of the tree. On some fruit trees it is imperative that the center be opened up to allow the sunshine to penetrate for best fruiting. It is best to cut a couple of inches above a cluster of buds (or branches) forcing them to grow. Make the cut on a bit of a slant to allow rain water to drain off the cut. Water will puddle up on a flat level cut encouraging rotting during our rainy season.

Lou

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 10:38AM
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derbyka

I will definitely keep the pruning tips in mind. I think I'm going to get the mulberry. They seem to grow so quickly and, if potted, I can take it with me if I move. Still thinking about getting a few blackberries though...

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 11:03PM
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saldut

The nice thing abt. mulberries, they root so easily... they grow really fast once they get started and make huge trees eventually, so if you keep them in pots it might be best to keep making cuttings every so often, so they can be transported... the whips get long and benefit from pruning and can be tied down to enable reaching the berries and to deter the birds... they are heavy feeders....good luck, sally

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 5:43PM
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derbyka

Got the mulberry today and planted it in the rain in a large plastic tote sunk into the raised bed. I saw that the main trunk had already been pruned once, so I pruned the top 1/3 of the 3-4 main branches and stuck these in the soil to hopefully root. It is now about 6 feet tall and is just starting to come out of dormancy. I would say .6 inch diameter. We will see how it grows! I am glad to know that it is a heavy feeder Sally. I was trying to find that out today.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 7:36PM
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