well i went back to check out the woods today, as we are planning some pathways through the woods, and we had a light rain earlier today..and there they were, blackberries, they were small from our awful drought, but they were pickable and eatable.
i'm so thrilled, there was a large patch ..and with a little bit of a wider detour, i can put our new path right past the patch of blackberries, so they will be accessible to pick.
of course the bears will love that..but so will I ..I can outsmart those bears if i want to...obviously I got some berries today didn't I and I didn't even know they were there !!
so, the plan is to move my path over by a few feet and now it will go right along the blackberry patch and raspberry patches..i'm sure glad i saw them before they got mowed down by the tractor and brushhog
I brought some plants home, now i just leave two main shoots every fall, which are hanged on a high stick with a hook at the end.
Plenty of fruit and no troubles getting thorns all over the body. And they also don't propagate all over the place.
But it's still a good feeling geting some in wild. You can't beat this.
these are only about another 75 ' back from my garden into the edge of my woods..so it isn't too far to walk for a few weeks of bearing every year..but it is good to know that there might be both male and female ones..i never realized that with blackberries..so thanks.
i sitll plan to open up a nice path along beside the patch..i won't be removing any of the bushes..but if i do find that a lot of them are not bearing next year..i'll remove those..as they should all bear next year if they are all bearing plants as they are huge and healthy..so i'll keep an eye on them for that..i suppose you have to leave some male plants? or not??
i saw only a few that were bearing..but i know they also have primo canes that bear the year after they grow..like my other brambles do..so i'll be keeping a good eye on the canes and i'll cut out the dead primo canes this fall.
i'm going to have to figure out how to identify the difference between the raspberries and the blackberries too..as i thought they were ALL raspberries until i picked some blackberries off of them !!!
Our woods were pasture about 70 years ago and they are still full of blackberry bushes. Brambles are the intermediate stage as pasture changes to forest here in Nova Scotia, protecting the young trees from the deer until they can fend for themselves. When we arrived 8 years ago, there were even more blackberries but now quite a few trees are poking their heads up and starting to cast some shade. Everything works out.
We also have creeping brambles yielding large, delicious fruit growing out from the edge of our woods into the field. I have been enjoying those every time I walk past. Soon, our blackberries will be ripe enough to pick a bunch and make some jam. I'm looking forward to that.
i love our wild blackberries, no need to water, or fertilize, or pest control. just pick and eat and enjoy
There is a patch of wild blackberries here that needs some sort of help. The canes look healthy and strong for the most part but the fruit is a bust, save for about 10% of the patch. Most of the berries are underdeveloped in form with only a few lobes, sickly looking, or they dry out and die before ripening.
I'd guess the problem is lack of nutrients or an imbalanced pH but the patch is on the north-east side of a scots pine plantation so it doesn't get much sun which also might be a major factor, though my understanding is that they are still pretty shade tolerant.
My plan is to thin out the patch, and transplant some viable canes in the middle of a 7-ish foot path between hugel beetes with a clover ground cover. I'll then spread some worm compost throughout the existing patch with a pinch of wood ash, as the soil is probably pretty acidic being that its next to the pines. Then I'll top mulch with either maple leaves or hay and see if their health improves next year.
so they spread south into the field that was there, along with a couple of small maple trees and ash seedlings.
the woods now covers a 150 x 150 ' area that was previously field, and probably a lot of raspberries ..but i don't ever remember seeing blackberries there.
they are on the edge of a field that has been kept mown on our neighbors side..and creeping into the partly sunny edges of our woods from their side. ...so...yeah, they are coming from the area that is trying to turn into woods on our neighbors properpty and we are reaping the benefits.
the neighbors have planted some trees along our property line..and we have 2 large maples and a few dozen aspen and wild cherry trees in the area where the blackberries are..we are building some trails back through this baby forest ..clearing some of the brambles out and saplings..to make a trail, the trail will also give us access to the berries 9but it will also give the critter access to the berries as well)..and also it will open it up to a little bit more sunshine and less competition so that might help the blackberries to do a little better next year too..yeah, i know there were raspberries there, but the blackberries were a huge surprise.
Our woods used to all be pretty much about 150 feet farther back than it is now, and the previous owners had it pulped out, which meant that the aspen trees went nutso.
Hmmm, we have very few alders on our land so maybe alders and blackberries serve similar nursing, pre-forest, functions in different contexts... interesting. I'm pretty sure our woods were harvested for pulp as well just before we bought the land. Alders are very common in these parts too so I wonder what favoured the blackberries in our case. I've seen another place pretty close to here were there were many more alders and hawthorns than blackberries: a north-facing ex-pasture.
Since alders fix nitrogen they might do better on land that has been cleared for a long time and has had the nutrients washed out of it, like an old pasture. They would not have the same competitive advantage in places where there was only a short but intense disturbance where nutrients are still available afterwards. Since our forest was a field about 70 years ago, it had time to build up a rich(er) soil before the pulpwood harvest happened. This would give the blackberries and raspberries the advantage.
Just guessing here, what do you think?
and as for the alders Josh, the wetter areas of our property, where the water table was higher up, our property has a LOT of alders..mostly in the swampies wettest parts...
they are a good nurse tree, excellent ..and they make great thickets for wildlife.
the area where the blackberries are is a tad higher and the trees there are more aspen and wild cherry and a few ash and maple..and the sun is from the west and a bit from the south through the treetops.
i'll be watching them closely as if they disappear then i'll lose my forage blackberries..and that wouldn't be cool..so i'll probably keep the area near them thinned out a bit so they stay.
another good reason to bring the lane in closer to the blackberry brambles..as this will open it up to the sun a little bit more and it will also preven their spread by mowing the lane.
It has taken about ten years for the first real trees (i.e. not birch or pin cherry) to shoot up over the blackberries in our woods. So you have ten years to pick them and then you need to create a new patch... Or thin the old one...
A path to access them is a great idea but I noted today that the biggest blackberries are never right by the path. The best bunches are always a bit further in. Maybe the deer like prickles as little as we do and just browse the berries near the path. Maybe not. I'm not sure if deer even eat blackberries. Just keep in mind that a path provides access for you but also for other creatures. That being said, blackberry thorns are way more vicious than the raspberry's and a path would avoid some scratches.