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bare root blackberry care?  RSS feed

 
Joe Portale
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Location: Tucson, AZ Zone 9A
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I received some bare root blackberries that were ordered a few weeks ago. I did not expect to see them this soon and the beds are not ready yet. The canes have been pulled from the plastic and are sitting in a fairly cool (40-50 degrees) dark place right now. My question is how long can the canes hang around before they die off? The canes will be in dirt probably tonight, but it made me wonder how long can bare root plants like this be kept.

Also, this is my first experience with bare root blackberries. The cane is about 2 feet tall. Should I cut the cane back after planting?
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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Joe:

Can you stick them in a bucket of moist sand/dirt until you get the soil prepped? They can last "awhile" in that state (keeping me medium moist not wet). Don't know exactly how long. And they would probably like some sunlight after being stuck in the moist sand/dirt. Canes are fairly forgiving.
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Welcome to permies Joe
As Jennifer says, canes are pretty tough.
But in my experience thornless blackberries really resent their roots drying out or being in the light.
I can't imagine wild blackberries care at all though!
I'd just poke the canes into buckets (or something) and cover the roots with moist compost (or something)

As for pruning as you plant, I'd leave them. That sounds like a fine height to me.
I don't know your climate (you can add it in 'my profile' if you like)
but I'd probably avoid pruning anything until very early spring.

Offtopic, but I love growing canes so here's a few hints:
when my blackberry's new canes get say, four feet long, I cut off the tips just above a set of leaves.
This makes the cane send out lots of fruiting side-shoots, rather than stretching out in one direction.
Also, if they're a variety which needs wires/trellis, make sure it's in place before the canes start growing as they can grow really, really big in a season.
Oh, and don't be shy about pruning-they like a major seasonal haircut; just make sure you only take out old canes that have fruited
 
Joe Portale
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Location: Tucson, AZ Zone 9A
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Thanks for the information. I never grew blackberries before. When I was a kid growing up in upstate NY, blackberries were looked at like a weed. You never had to look to hard to find a bush coming up in the wrong place. Things are different here in Southern Arizona (Zone 9a). The canes got potted up this evening as did the other plants in the shipment, several artichokes and horseradish starts. Looks like the garden is off to a very early start this year.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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Joe - where in southern AZ are you (hint - if you edit your profile info to list your location - you get better advice). As you can see, I'm in Phoenix. And I've killed blackberries here....sad to say. Although I've heard of people growing them successfully. Artichokes grow like weeds here. Never grown horseradish here - which is too bad 'cause I love it. Our planting seasons are WAY different here in the low desert. Usually Jan is bare root fruit tree/vine/cane season, late Feb/early Mar is citrus planting season. SO MANY veggies grow right now. Once summer hits - things start to suffer from the heat.
 
Joe Portale
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Location: Tucson, AZ Zone 9A
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Oh, I am in Tucson, Zone 9A. In years past, I have been pretty successful in growing things in the summer that should not grow here. Artichokes are old friends to me also. After pigging out on everything artichoke, it is really great just to let them flower out.

The horse radish is an experiment. From everything I have read and experienced in colder climates, these things are pretty much indestructible. Get them in the ground now, winter them in so they can set the root structure, as things warm up just let them go. In fall cut the greens to force root development, harvest mid-winter. You will have to dig around to check the roots for size before pulling.

When you tried blackberries, what type did you plant? Mine are the hybrid Apache variety rated to zone 10.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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You know - I don't remember what the variety of blackberry was - it was thornless though. And I also remembered that I did, indeed, try horseradish once about 5 yrs ago. As I recall, it did put off some new growth in spring (planted in late fall) but then just disappeared in the summer and never reappeared. I'll be interested in if you are successful with these plants. Although you guys can typically grow more stuff than we do just because you are slightly cooler and you get more rain. Where I am in downtown Phoenix is also a somewhat superheated microclimate unto itself.

And I totally agree with you about artichoke flowers - they are divine!!
 
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