The Content Of The Article:
- Origin and appearance
- Location and ground
- Planting and care
- Education and editing
- Harvest and recovery
- Diseases and pests
Origin and appearance
From the blackberry (Rubus fruticosus) there are numerous wild forms, which are distributed almost over the entire globe. Botanists have described more than 2000 species in Europe alone, often only growing in certain regions. Nevertheless, the berry bushes are one of the big puzzles in the field of plant sociology, because it is controversial among experts, whether these are really independent species or subspecies. For this theory speaks that all kinds can intersect with each other easily.
In Central Europe, the blackberry belongs to the Rosaceae family and is one of the oldest fruit species. The berries were originally collected in the woods and probably the first large-scale cultivated forms were selected already with the arrival of garden culture in Central Europe.
All bomber show a more or less strong growth and form depending on the variety group upright or rather low-lying Ranktriebe. There is now an ever-increasing variety of stingless breeds. They are predominantly from the native of the US variety 'Thornless Evergreen' emerged. Spiny blackberries usually show a stronger growth and are larger-fruited, the berries were considered until a few years ago but less aromatic. This disadvantage has been eradicated with the current generation of varieties such as 'Asterina', 'Oregon Thornless' or 'Navaho'. Therefore spiky varieties such as the old 'Theodor Reimers' hardly play a role in the home garden.
The leaves of the blackberries are alternate, winter green in mild winters and three to five parts with more or less strongly sawn edges. Some varieties such as 'Oregon Thornless' carry fern-like slotted single leaves. The arranged in grapes flowers and fruits are formed at the shoot ends and side shoots of the last year's rods. It is in the "berries" from a botanical point of view, so-called collective stone fruits. Each fruit cell has its own little stone.
Location and ground
Blackberries grow in the wild mainly on forest clearings, in hedgerows and ruderal areas. However, they set in full sun locations most flowers and here are due to the more intense insect flight and the fertilization rates highest. In addition, the fruits need as much sun as possible to mature well. On the ground, blackberries make lower demands than the related raspberries. He should not be too light, humus rich and well drained. Low-calorific sites with pH values between 5.5 and 6.5 are favorable. On heavy, very humid soils, as with raspberries, the dam culture is recommended.
The flowers of blackberries are white or pink depending on the variety
Planting and care
Since blackberries are sold exclusively as container plants to gardeners, they can basically be planted all year round. In cold regions, planting in spring from May on is ideal, because especially stingless varieties are often slightly sensitive to frost. In the milder climate, the fall is also recommended. You place blackberries on trellises or tension wires and plant them about three fingers deep than they stand in the pot to encourage the formation of new rods. After planting, the existing rods are cut back to about 30 centimeters in length. Planting upright varieties like 'Navaho' at one meter, semi-upright ones like 'Chester Thornless' at two meters and varieties with horizontally growing rods like 'Oregon Thornless' at up to four meters between them are very important Plants. After planting, water thoroughly and cover the soil with a thin layer of mulch, for example from dried grass clippings. Especially the spiny varieties sometimes have a strong tendency to slough. So that the blackberries do not gradually conquer the whole garden, they should be planted with a generously sized root barrier. A 30 centimeter deep barrier layer of thicker pond liner is sufficient, as blackberries are rooted relatively flat.
Bigger nutrients do not need blackberries. Two liters of mature compost per square meter in March are sufficient for nutrient supply. On poorer soils you can mix the compost with some organic berry fertilizer. From the end of July should not be fertilized. In order to form beautiful large berries, a good and even water supply is important. Therefore, in case of lack of rain pour in time and do not wait until the soil has dried out. The mulch layer may need to be renewed during the season.
Education and editing
To ensure that the blackberry cultivation does not end in an inextricable Rutendickicht, from the outset a consistent education is required: Depending on growth form over the summer, the three to six strongest new rods perpendicular to fan-shaped on a three-to five-rowed wire harness up (in upright growing species) or horizontally along the tension wires (in downed species). For fixing, for example, you can use stretchable hollow PVC cord. All surplus rods are removed at ground level. By late summer, the young rods in the leaf axils form lateral shoots. These are first shortened in September to about a hand's breadth and cut back in the late winter to two eyes. From these, the fruit shoots develop during the second season.
Attach the fruit rods and the new rods on different sides of the trellis. The side shoots of the new rods will be shortened in September
Also important is the spatial separation of the fruit and young rods. So you always keep track and all rods are optimally exposed. For flat-growing varieties you can, for example, the old and the new rods on the wire palette guide horizontally in opposite directions. In upright-growing species, a fan-shaped education is useful in which the old and young rods each form one side of the fan. An alternate arrangement is possible.
The harvested rods are either cut off at ground level after harvest or in late winter and released from the trellis. Pruning right after the harvest has the advantage that the young rod can develop better, but should only be done in areas with mild winters.
Blackberries are self-fertile, but produce higher yields when you plant several shrubs. However, for a four-person household, two plants of a high-yielding variety such as 'Navaho' already supply enough berry replenishment.
Harvest and recovery
Blackberries are the ideal Naschobst, because the berries gradually ripen from the end of July and can then be harvested daily for a period of six to eight weeks depending on the variety and eaten directly or stirred into the yoghurt. You will not only recognize the right stage of ripeness in the dark color. The fruits have not developed their full aroma until they are soft and easily detached from the branch. In contrast to the raspberries, the ripe fruits do not dissolve from the cone - it is simply eaten along. Blackberries are perfect for fresh juice, jelly or jam. However, the hard stones - the seeds - are not for everyone and can be sifted out after cooking. If you want to freeze blackberries, you should lay them out on a flat surface and pack them in a foil pouch after freezing. So the berries do not freeze so hard together.
Blackberries can be harvested daily for a period of six to eight weeks
The proliferation of blackberries is very simple: In the late winter you prune a few rods off the mother plant, prune them to 20 to 30 centimeters in length and put them into a new bed. Here they grow reliably to new blackberry bushes.
Diseases and pests
The most common fungal diseases on blackberries include gray mold (botrytis), downy mildew and blackberry rust. They usually occur only in wet years. The risk of infection can be reduced to a minimum by a loose structure of the shrubs and ideally a rain-protected location in front of a house wall. Ruthenous diseases are more rare in blackberries than in raspberries. If you cut off sick rods in time, the infection can be well controlled.
If the fruits are unilaterally pale red, they suffer from sunburn. If individual cells of the berries remain red and do not ripen, the Brombeergallmilbe is up to mischief. Heavily infested shrubs can simply be cut off completely at ground level in late winter. Although the harvest will be off for a year, but next year you will have healthy, well-matured fruit again.