Blackberries and Raspberries – Know What to Expect

Berries are exciting and easy to grow for the home gardener.  But if you haven’t done your homework and have no idea of how they grow,  your excitement might turn to discouragement.

Brambles (raspberries and blackberries) send up new growth from underground.  And they can send up a lot.

When you order they tend to come in 3s.  I’m sure the suppliers intent is to seemingly give you more for your money. But when it comes right down to it ——one would be plenty and give you more than you could imagine.

And of course, as with most things, all berries are not equal. It’s very help if you have a friend or someone who can tell you ahead of time what varieties are sweet, which ones produce more, and basically how they’ll perform.  That way you won’t lose time. And I’m talking 2 to 3 years if you make a mistake.

I’m the perfect example of this. The first raspberries I ever planted were Lathams.  Horrible!  I planted in the fall of ’07.  The first fruits that came in ’08 were small, mush, and awful tasting.   By the time I realized my mistake and ordered Caroline Raspberries (which are top notch in every way) they couldn’t be shipped until spring of ’09.  Two years lost.

I pulled the Lathams up, but as new as they were, it took diligent effort for two years to get rid of them.

Now you say — you’ll order 3 different kinds.  I say good move —- if —– you can keep them separated.

As I said – they spread underground and put up lots of new growth.  Three feet or even five feet apart — they will merge. Then how will you know one from the other when and if you have to take them out?   Just something to think about.

The raspberries you see in the picture below started out as two small canes planted in the spring of ’09. They gave me lots of fruit the same year and also lots of canes. In the picture they take an area  7 feet wide and 4 feet deep.  They have had lots of canes pruned out.  Had I allowed them to grow last year they would have taken over an area at least 14 feet wide and 12 feet deep.  (They tried.)

Caroline raspberries pruned spring growth. Approximately 7 feet wide and 4 feet deep.

Thornless blackberries are a bit more manageable than blackberries with thorns or raspberries. But they still require diligent attention.

I would recommend you do your homework before purchasing blackberries or raspberries.

  • Know what to expect.
  • Be realistic in spacing.
  • Commit to thinning and pruning.

It’ll save you a lot of work and grief and allow you to really enjoy the wonderful fruit they give.


Related posts: Raspberries for Your Garden and Blackberries – Don’t Miss Out

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