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OT - any blackberry growers out there?

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by Bisi, Mar 11, 2007.

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  1. Bisi

    Bisi TS Member

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    I've got a row of blackberries in my back yard. A couple of years ago I added a new variety "Kiowa" they are labeled as the "world's largest blackberry". That they are. I purchased them through a mail order catalog.

    The canes on these things have gotten 30 feet long or so. These things are taking over the fence row that I planted them in. I was wondering if it would be okay to prune these things back some?

    I've never heard of pruning blackberry canes back. I've never did it on any of the other blackberries I have. I just remove the old canes in the fall and the new canes just grow to a height of 5 or 6 feet. These "Kiowa" canes grow in excess of 25 feet. Dam nice berries but they are growing out of the place I want them to grow.

    Bisi
     
  2. drunk_again

    drunk_again TS Member

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    i grow a few dingle berries every once in awhile, that count??
     
  3. ffwildcat

    ffwildcat TS Member

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    prune them and prune them hard.

    you will not hurt those vines.

    but if you don't start to reclaim your fenceline the blackberries will become a problem.

    loved picking blackberries as a kid, would come home with a huge bucketful of them, mom would make jam or cobbler or pie or we'd just eat them with powdered sugar and milk or ice-cream. didn't like the snakes that got in among the vines but the berries were awesome.
     
  4. Buffalo Chip

    Buffalo Chip TS Member

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    Wait until immediately after the berries are gone and then prune them back. Brambles bear fruit on second year growth. Consequently, what grows back after you prune this year will be what makes berries next year. You want to prune early summer so the canes have time to grow back and develope fully before winter. Then next year you will have a nice crop. If you prune now the new growth will not produce berries until the following year. Hope this helps.
    Buffalo Chip
     
  5. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Deplorable Bitter Clinger in Liberal La La Land
    I remember picking sweet blackberries as a kid, but blackberries are also the unoffical Oregon State Weed.<br>
    <br>
    Delicious berry a growing problem<br>
    <br>
    One of horticultural pioneer Luther Burbank's successes has turned into a nuisance.<br>
    <br>
    "It's almost impossible to eradicate a large patch, because so many seeds remain in the soil," said Susan Aldrich-Markham, a field crops agent for Oregon State University's Yamhill County Extension Office.<br>
    <br>
    But good timing and dedication can reduce a sprawling blackberry thicket to a few manageable stragglers, she says.<br>
    <br>
    On her own creekside property, Aldrich-Markham has been trying all kinds of methods for six years and advising rural landowners, farmers and gardeners what they can do to control blackberry vines.<br>
    <br>
    Contrary to the notion that the blackberry is as native to Oregon as rain, this hardy relative of the rose sprang from experiments by the famous Burbank (1849-1926).<br>
    <br>
    He is honored for developing more than 200 species of fruits and vegetables, including 166 varieties of plums and the russet Burbank potato. But the western European blackberry that Burbank introduced in 1885 as "Himalayan giant" has become a giant problem. A single blackberry cane can produce a thicket 6 yardssquare in less than two years.<br>
    <br>
    In 113 years, the Himalayan blackberry's classification has changed from tasty berry to noxious weed as it has choked out native vegetation from Northern California to British Columbia.<br>
    <br>
    It is illegal to plant the blackberry, Robus discolor, in many areas, and its extermination is required by some land covenants.<br>
    <br>
    According to Aldrich-Markham, some common methods work well, as long as those preparing to battle blackberry vines are armed with information about the benefits and drawbacks of the most common methods. Listed here, they range from organic to chemical:<br>
    <br>
    o Digging up, or plowing under: This is almost like a blackberry thicket health treatment. It brings blackberry seeds close to the surface, so hundreds of new plants can spring up. Most effective on small, highly-managed plots, where sprouts can be dug up before setting deep roots.<br>
    <br>
    o Goats or mechanical mowing each work on the same principle: Removing the leaves so the plant can't turn sunlight into food. The root eventually starves. Both goats and mowers must be brought back often, and both have the same drawback: They also mow down everything else in their path.<br>
    <br>
    o Round-up, a herbicide, works effectively on blackberry plants only when it is applied in the fall. That is the only time the plant diverts its growth energy down to its roots rather than up to its leaves and shoots.<br>
    <br>
    o Crossbow is a good herbicide for killing woody brush such as blackberry plants, Scotch broom and poison oak. It is a mixture of 2,4-D and triclopyr. The triclopyr is the most effective ingredient.<br>
    <br>
    Crossbow will work on blackberry plants any time of the year, and it will not kill adjacent grasses. Contrary to some popular misinformation, you should not first cut off the tips of the plant. The best time to apply this chemical is when the blackberry flowers are in bud and almost ready to bloom. This is when the plant has reached its full extension.<br>
    <br>
    The downside is that Crossbow is oil-based, which means when the temperature rises above 55?60 degrees Fahrenheit the herbicide evaporates and can blow onto adjacent vegetation or into creeks. Take care to apply on a cool, cloudy day.<br>
    <br>
    o Redeem, the commercial name for the herbicide Garlon, works well on blackberry and other woody plants, but is sold only in large quantities, so it is most effective on very large thickets and pasturelands.<br>
    <br>
    The biggest ingredient in the blackberry battle is persistence and vigilance. After you've killed the blackberry plants, plant hardy alternative vegetation so the new plants crowd or shade out any new blackberry seedlings.<br>
    <br>
    "You can't treat a patch of blackberry and then walk away," Aldrich-Markham said. "All the control methods can take several years at least. Don't take a break and let the blackberries regain their strength by diverting food reserves to their roots."
     
  6. cableguy

    cableguy TS Member

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    My suggestion would be napalm.
    Seriously, as a cable TV technician, blackberries are the bane of my existance. They over grow my poles and also my cable tv lines. They are downright dangerous for me to deal with. Whatever method you decide on, be aggressive. Blackberries grow faster than any weed you can imagine. They will take over any space that you leave untreated and will soon be out of control. Weekly sessions with a brush cutter won't be enough. Good luck.
     
  7. rosies dad

    rosies dad Member

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    Here in Mich, we have nothing resembling those kind of Blackberries. Any wild ones are short cane variety, and seem only to grow in open areas of the forest.
     
  8. superxjeff

    superxjeff Active Member

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    Blackberry brambles are as common as grass in Oregon. Air strikes couldn't keep them in check. Jeff
     
  9. Bisi

    Bisi TS Member

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    I don't want to get rid of em. I've picked as much as 40 gallons a year off of that row. I was wondering if it would be okay to trim this "Kiowa" variety back to 7 or 8 foot in lenght canes, and not hurt the production this year?

    These are second year canes that came up last spring.
     
  10. T/C

    T/C TS Member

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    bisi, I must have the same plants as yours, I don't know the real name of mine, the first ones were given to me from a old Italian wine maker neighbor. Mine are thornless also. The berries on mine get as round as a quarter. I started with 10 plants about 6 years ago, and now have over 50. I make a excellent blackberry wine in the fall after all berries have been picked. About mid Sept.(in MD) I cut them back to about 4 feet, and get berries off every plant every year. Left un checked the stalks easily grow 10 feet a summer. If you want extra plants, in the spring bend a stalk to the ground, dig a shallow trough and cover a couple of buds with dirt, then set a brick over the trough to hold the stalk in in the ground. By fall it will have it's own root system and you can cut the stalk from the original and have a new plant. Right now we are enjoying 2005 Blackberry wine, and have more pies in the freeze than we'll ever eat, but I try. Fresh blackberries in the blender, with crushed ice, sugar and a cup of dark rum, yee gads what a summer treat. Enjoy your plants. T.
     
  11. cableguy

    cableguy TS Member

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    Blackberries wihout thorns? Wow,what a concept. I live in Western Washington where they all have evil nasty sharp thorns. They really are a headache here. Like Jeff in Oregon said, even airstrikes won't work. Be carefull though, even if they are a thornless variety, they can still take over a garden quicker than zuccini.
     
  12. buzzgun

    buzzgun Member

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    Bisi,
    You didn't say what climate zone you are in & I don't have direct experience with this cultivar, but 30 ft. Rubus canes is mighty impressive!

    Blackberries aren't a "plant it and leave it" proposition by any means, if you're trying to keep it manageable and don't want them to naturalize. You have to keep after them - but it's not hard. A few snips with pruners around the boundaries of the patch (plus regular mowing) are all it takes.

    You got some good advice above; cut fruiting canes to the ground immediately after you pick them.

    On the new or "green" canes that haven't fruited yet...if you don't want to go to the effort of staking them up or training them along the fence, just cut the tips of the canes off anywhere they are about to touch the ground...the plants are stem-rooting and if the tips touch the ground anywhere, they take root and this is how the plants "pole vault" along and spread outward. Tips only...if you cut the green ones all the way back, you are eliminating next year's "2nd year" canes which is where your berries will come from.

    Where I grew up, we had about an acre of our woods infested with bberries...I let the boundary with the yard go for a couple years, and they encroached 20 feet out of the woods and about came in my bedroom window. I still remember getting dressed up in long heavy sleeves and crawling through the thickets to pick them...the damn things even grew in wooded shade, and the thorns like to tore my ass up.


    Enjoy! A thousand years of Rose hybridization have produced fewer thornless rose varieties than you can count on one hand...but we have fully a dozen or so thornless blackberry cultivars to choose from & it seems most are pretty good stuff.
     
  13. Bisi

    Bisi TS Member

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    If I purchase any more blackberries they will be the thornless variety. These things here can grab hold of you and bite!

    I enjoy em, but like you guys said they are a lot of work. I have a line of poles that are set about a foot apart and they have clothes line wire strung between them. The canes grow between the 2 wires, except for this "Kiowa" variety. They grow up, around, over and climb and latch onto everything. Like I said these things will grow 30 feet in lenght.

    They ripen around the 4th of July when it is usually 95 degrees with 90 percent humidity. After I've picked about 3 or 4 gallons I start cussing em because they need to be picked every other day. I always swear this will be the last year, but then winter comes and I then look forward to picking the first blackberry and tomato.
     
  14. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    As kids we'd get old plywood and other discarded building materials, then go to areas overgrown with blackberries. We'd pick at the edges, then put the wood against the bushes, and walk them down and pick more. We could pick our way well into a huge patch that way. Worked fone until one year when we worked our way to an underground yellowjacket nest. Even though the blackberries behind us were mashed down, they still were knee high, and you can't effectively run from angry wasps in them. We got stung, sliced and diced. And left a couple of gallon buckets full of berries behind. (We did retrieve them, later that night.)
     
  15. buckwheat

    buckwheat TS Member

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    Can anyone tell me what I can spray in the rows of plants that will keep the grass down but not kill the plants? I've got thornless we get a gallon or two a day from them. I train the canes to grow between 2 wires I have strung on the fence posts.
    Thanks
    Dan
     
  16. Bisi

    Bisi TS Member

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    Buckwheat, I bag my grass when mowing, then I put the grass clippings around the blackberry canes. That helps keep the weeds down. Some people put a single layer of newspaper down before covering with grass clippings. If the weeds still come up I carefully use "Roundup" on the weeds coming through the grass clippings.

    Bisi
     
  17. shadow

    shadow Active Member

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    I dont grow them on purpose, they just kind of "spring up" in my crabapple orchard.
     
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