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Blackberries are a pretty demanding berry. In order to taste wonderful fruits with a unique taste, you need to know and observe many of the nuances of caring for it.
- Features of caring for blackberries
- Formation of bushes in the first year of growth
- Formation of bushes from the second year of growth
- Pruning and pruning blackberry stems
- Final normalization of blackberry shoots
Features of caring for blackberries
Blackberry, which is the closest relative of the well-known raspberry, is a perennial shrub with flexible stems and shoots. The branches of this plant are abundantly covered with thorns, which greatly complicates the cultivation and care of blackberries.
The bushes of this berry are best placed along fences or in areas specially designated for it in such a way that there is always enough free space between them.
This is very important for the further care of the plant, since densely planted bushes, the stems of which, moreover, can intertwine, will complicate the process of pruning and harvesting.
Formation of bushes in the first year of growth
Another important point in caring for this crop is the formation of bushes. Blackberries, as mentioned above, have flexible stems that should be formed by separating the fruiting shoots from the young ones. To create a harmonious bush, three forms are most often used: fan, rope and weaving with a direction either in one or two opposite directions.
Depending on the variety, blackberries are planted at a distance of 3.5-4.5 meters. The length is kept about 25 centimeters from the ground level. Young shoots are carefully guided along the column. The plant should not grow in a free direction, it is necessary to immediately direct and orient it. At the end of the growing season, the weak tops of the stems should be removed.
Formation of bushes from the second year of growth
Already in the second year of growth, blackberries begin to bear fruit. Berries are formed and appear on the lateral processes. In the second year of growth, new additional shoots begin to appear. They also need a direction of growth in a certain direction or upward.
But there is a prerequisite: young shoots must be separated from the fruiting branches.
After harvesting, the main shoots are removed, new ones remain in their place, from which weak tops are removed in the same way. This is how it happens all the following years.
Pruning and pruning blackberry stems
Pruning blackberries is a lot of hassle, but for the normal development of the bushes, this procedure must be carried out regularly. So, the initial pruning of blackberries is carried out two years after planting the bush. In the future, pruning must be carried out after the same period of time (a year or two), removing old shoots after fruiting.
In addition, the bushes must be trimmed in the spring (in this case, excessively long fruiting loops and stems are cut out, whose tops have dried up). Such pruning is carried out annually, leaving no more than five to six fruiting shoots on each bush, which will be quite enough for a good harvest.
If your blackberry variety is left to winter open and not insulated, then the stems that are left for fruiting must be shortened in the autumn. They are cut to the same height - about 1.5-1.8 meters.
Often, experienced gardeners carry out this procedure in the spring, together with a garter on the support of the stems. This is convenient in that the negative consequences after the winter period are taken into account: the degree of damage or disease of the plant. Many buds die at a distance of one meter from the ground, so it is not rational to leave a length of 1.5-1.8 meters. In this case, the fruiting zone is affected. Therefore, it is necessary to cut off the stem above the first remaining dense formed bud. If this is necessary in order to preserve the bush, then the stems are cut to the required length, the main thing is that there is an opportunity to tie them up.
The stems that have not survived the winter and are frozen are removed completely.
Final normalization of blackberry shoots
Simultaneously, when working with winter-hardy varieties, and most of them, carry out their final normalization. About 5-6 stems are left for one bush.
The months May-June are the right time for a complete normalization of the shoots of the blackberry bush. Young shoots are pruned at a height of no more than 8-10 centimeters from the ground. In this case, the bush itself will be formed from secondary shoots. Although they are still weak, they are completely healthy and not affected by disease or infection.
Secondary shoots should reach a height of about 1.5-2 meters by the end of the growing season. Therefore, some of them will not need to be shortened. These stems are very convenient to bend to the ground and insulate for the winter, but they will definitely need support and a garter for the next year for the ripening of the fruit. On bushes processed in this way, the berries ripen at one time in large quantities.
Blackberries are berries that require careful maintenance and control of shoot growth. With proper observance of all the necessary conditions, she will certainly thank you with a good harvest.