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Caring for garden blackberries for the winter

Photo of caring for garden blackberries for the winter

Requirements for caring for garden blackberries for the winter depend on the selected variety and climatic growing conditions. Creeping varieties tolerate the cold worst of all - they require shelter even in central Russia during moderately cold winters. Frost-resistant varieties of blackberries can withstand temperatures of more than 20°C, but growing in Siberia they also need additional shelter.

In general, blackberries tolerate cold well if the winter temperature does not drop below -15 °C. Preparation for winter begins in autumn. Old and damaged shoots must be removed, the rest must be trimmed and laid to the ground.

Upright blackberries are prepared in advance by tying a small weight to the end of the stem. Gradually the load will tilt the stems downwards.

Important: If erect stems are laid by hand, they may break off.

Blackberries laid to the ground must be insulated. The following materials can be used for this:

  • Dry grass
  • Shavings, sawdust
  • Vegetable tops
  • Corn leaves
  • Roof felt
  • Coniferous branches
It must be borne in mind that the harvested material must be free of traces of disease and pests, otherwise such shelter can harm the plant. Despite the shelter, blackberries will still need oxygen. Needles allow air to pass through best. Coniferous branches will not harbor insect pests, and the disinfecting effect will help protect the plant from diseases. Spruce branches are laid in a thick layer on shoots pressed to the ground.

You can cover the plant with synthetic materials: film, roofing felt or burlap. Covering with film can be used in regions where winters are snowy and there are no sudden temperature changes. The thickness of the film depends on the winter temperature. The film has a significant disadvantage - it does not allow air to pass through well.

Non-woven materials are the most common for covering. In them the plant breathes well and retains heat. To increase the density of the fabric, several layers of material are used. Black will absorb the sun's rays, while white will reflect. If the shelter is used in a region where winters are cold and with little snow, then it is better to choose black material for the shelter.

Blackberry propagation by cuttings

Propagation of blackberries by cuttings is very easy and successful. Propagation of the plant by parts of shoots is the most productive method. One bud produces one seedling, so cuttings can be prepared in as many quantities as necessary.

Cuttings must be taken from one-year-old shoots. They are harvested in the fall, cutting about 15 cm. There should be 2-3 buds on the cutting. If there are leaves, they must be removed. The cutting is immersed in water so that one of the buds is completely in the water.

Tip: The plant needs moisture, so you need to add water as it evaporates.

After a while, you will notice that the bud, immersed in water, has sprouted shoots and roots. After this, the bud must be cut off from the rest of the cutting and planted in a prepared container with a nutrient mixture. The seedling needs to be watered and left to grow until spring in a warm place without drafts. In spring, the seedling is planted in a permanent place.

The cutting can be used as long as there are buds on it, after which the necessary steps are repeated with a new cutting.

Blackberry propagation by layering

Propagation of blackberries by layering is the easiest and cheapest method, suitable for novice gardeners. About 20 seedlings can be grown from one adult plant.

To do this, it is necessary to select healthy young shoots at the end of summer and, without separating them from the mother plant, dig them into the soil to a shallow depth. There is no need to deepen the end of the shoot; it is cut by 10-15 cm to stop growth.

You can dig a small trench into which the young shoot goes deeper. To maintain its shape, you can press it down with a weight or secure the shoot with wire. The shoot buried in the ground must be mulched and watered. Further watering is carried out as needed. The young shoot will begin to take root in early autumn. In October it will need to be dug up and the rooted seedlings separated from the mother bush.

Tip: To make it easier for the plant to take root — At the point of contact with the ground, you need to make a shallow cut into the bark.

Next, the seedling must be planted in a permanent place. This procedure can be done in the autumn, then in the spring the rooted seedlings need to be planted in prepared places.

Garden blackberry — diseases and pests

Diseases and pests of garden blackberries are very similar to diseases of raspberries, so the control methods are practically the same.

Blackberries are quite unpretentious in care, but are sometimes affected by some fungal, bacterial and viral diseases. If any signs of disease are detected, it is necessary to take immediate action, otherwise, at best, you can lose the harvest, and at worst, the plant itself.

To insure yourself as much as possible against such a nuisance, you need to properly treat the soil before planting, follow the rules of agricultural technology and purchase only high-quality planting material. It is best to buy seedlings in a nursery - this way you will get a healthy, high-quality plant with good resistance to many diseases.

The most common blackberry diseases:

  • White spotting. It often affects young shoots in rainy summers or with excessive watering. Initially, small spots of a light brown hue form on the leaves of the plant. Later, the spots darken, the leaves fall off, and the berries rot.
  • Grey rot. The disease is expressed in a gray coating, primarily covering the flowers. When the berries appear, they become covered with a gray fluffy coating, rot or mummify.
  • Rust. A fungal disease in which the entire plant becomes covered with yellow spots. They cover the leaves and stem, and then the spores infect the plant a second time and by the end of summer the spots turn black.
  • Anthracnose. A fungal disease that often appears from excess moisture. Small gray spots appear on the leaves. The berries dry out and fall off green. The shoots also have characteristic purple spots. The disease cannot be treated. The plant must be removed and burned.
  • Root cancer. Lumpy new growths appear at the base of the shoots. At first they are green, later they become stale and acquire a dark brown surface. The development of the plant stops: it decreases in size, the color of the leaves changes and the yield deteriorates. There is no treatment for this disease. It is necessary to remove the entire plant along with the root system so that the disease does not spread to other shrubs.
Pests sometimes settle on blackberries. The root system is often attacked by mole crickets and chafers. Aphids, stem flies and other insects feed on the shoots.

Leaves are often attacked by mites, and buds are damaged by flower beetles, moths and other insects.

Insect pests often cause various diseases because they are their carriers.

If symptoms of disease are detected on blackberries, it is necessary to treat the plant with special fungicides, pest control preparations and Bordeaux mixture. Damaged branches and fallen leaves must be removed.

For prevention, it is advisable not to grow blackberries in one place for more than 7 years, and when replanting, make sure that the root system is not damaged.

Garden blackberries, Thornfree variety

The garden blackberry variety Thornfree has good resistance to diseases and pests, so it is popular among gardeners.

Thornfree is a thornless shrub up to 4 meters high. A powerful root system allows new shoots to appear every year. The shrub is quite spreading and needs pruning and tying to trellises. This variety can be represented by two types of plants: erect shoots or creeping ones.

The berries are large in shape and have high taste characteristics. However, the fruits are poorly stored and do not tolerate long-term transportation.

The variety is unpretentious, but responds well to organic fertilizers. They are applied in the spring, after which the bushes must be mulched. Particular attention should be paid to the fruiting period. At this time, blackberries will need increased watering. The berry ripening period begins in July-August.

It is necessary to regularly loosen and weed the soil. With the right agricultural technology, you can achieve high yields - 30 kg per bush.

The variety has good drought and frost resistance and is almost not affected by diseases.

With the right choice of plant variety for the appropriate climatic conditions, high yields can be achieved. Knowledge of the rules for caring for blackberries ensures the plant's good development and long life.