Mulching and watering brambles
- Proper use of mulch and watering when the weather is dry will help produce a healthy harvest of berries.
Fertilizing raspberries and blackberries
Soil pH- 6.0-6.5
Year 1 and 2- fertilize with 0.80 ounces of nitrogen (N) per 10 ft. of row at flowering
Year 3 and older- fertilize with 1.6 ounces of nitrogen (N) per 10 ft. of row at flowering
Cultural and management practices for pest control in brambles
Weed and grass control. Controlling weeds and grass within and around raspberry plants promotes rapid drying, which decreases the incidence of cane canker diseases and reduces the competition for water and nutrients. Weedy plantings also harbor plant bugs, which can destroy fruit, and many random plant-feeding insects, which can cause wounds associated with cane blight.
Pruning out damaged canes. Monitor plants through the growing season and prune out and discard wilted, injured, or unthrifty canes at a point 6 inches below the area of visible injury.
Renovation pruning. Immediately after harvest, remove all raspberry canes that have fruited and thin the primocanes of blackberry plants (leave no more than 3 to 4 per plant).
Renovation pruning. not only maintains the vigor of the planting but aids in disease and insect control. When removing canes, make the cuts at ground level so that the dead stubs do not protrude where they can harbor canker-causing fungi. Remove all pruning waste from the planting area. In addition, red raspberry rows should never exceed 18 inches in width so that the microclimate in the lower canopy remains dry and the maximum fruiting surface is maintained.
Regular harvesting. Harvesting ripe fruit will reduce the incidence of fruit rot as well as prevent sap beetles and plant bugs from feeding on ripening berries.
Harvesting raspberries and blackberries
- Brambles, like all small fruit crops, should be harvested in the morning after dew has dried. This allows a minimum of field heat buildup in the fruit and results in longer shelf-life.
- Ripe berries will detach easily. They should be rolled off the plant, rather than squeezed or pulled, and put in shallow containers. Deep containers tend to crush berries in the lower layers. Blackberries are best picked when the fruit changes from shiny black to a dull black or when the calyx begins to brown. Do not allow overripe berries to remain on the canes and foster pest problems.
- Refrigerate berries immediately. Raspberries can be kept for up to a week under these conditions. Blackberries will keep several days longer.
- Bramble fruits will further ripen after harvest, but will not get any sweeter.