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Sat May 31, 2014, 01:36 PM

Zone 5 midwest gardeners with blackberries or raspberries??? A question for you.

I have a stand of blackberries that used to produce heavily. Last year the drought was rough on them. The canes started out with lots of blossoms and the berries set on them but as the heat became relentless and the rains did not come, they started to not do so well. The berries turned black much to soon before the sugars could set in them and they were bitter to the taste. This winter was brutal as well with the ground freezing well below where it would normally. I have lots of dead canes this year but some new plants are showing up and appear to be healthy. I don't think I will get any fruit this year at all. I might but I'm not so confident. We just cut out tons of dead canes and pulled up plants that appeared to be dead at root level. I'm hoping that making room like this will encourage the new plants to take root.

Have any of you had the same experience this year with berries? Just trying to figure out if the berries were hit hard or is it just mine?

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Reply Zone 5 midwest gardeners with blackberries or raspberries??? A question for you. (Original post)
Skidmore May 2014 OP
dixiegrrrrl May 2014 #1
Erich Bloodaxe BSN May 2014 #2
Skidmore May 2014 #3
Erich Bloodaxe BSN May 2014 #4
Skidmore May 2014 #5
Erich Bloodaxe BSN May 2014 #6
Skidmore May 2014 #7
Erich Bloodaxe BSN May 2014 #8
Aerows Jun 2014 #10
Aerows Jun 2014 #9
TuxedoKat Jun 2014 #11

Response to Skidmore (Original post)

Sat May 31, 2014, 05:21 PM

1. FWIW

The berries are related to roses. all do well with sufficient sunlight, and in case of drought, heavy mulch and frequent watering.
Your berries will come back, some of them at least. they spread by underground runners, trust me, nothing really kills all of them.
The only thing that really screws up berry production is too much rain and not enough sun. Then mold spreads.
So if you can figure out a way to keep them decently watered, they should do well.
Think of pine mulch, if you can..nice and acid and blocks heat from the roots.

Good luck.

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Response to Skidmore (Original post)

Sat May 31, 2014, 05:38 PM

2. We stopped off at a fruit stand today, and were told

that a LOT of folks around here (SW Ohio) lost their raspberry and blackberry crops this year, presumably thanks to the brutal winter.

Mine and my dad's patches seem to be coming along gangbusters, but we're growing black raspberries that I started from wild black raspberries I got out in the woods a decade or so back, so I suspect they're hardier than the cultivated varieties. Just in case, I'm thinking of maybe dumping some of the leaves in the patch late this fall when I rake, rather than putting everything in the compost, since I suspect brutal winters are going to become more common. I lost about half my garlic crop that was overwintering.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #2)

Sat May 31, 2014, 05:44 PM

3. My flower beds got hammered.

I lost my lavender plants and my lilies. I lost my thyme plant collection, which I had for a number of years now. We also lost about half of a new planting of shrubs we put in last year. The ground froze very deeply here and for a prolonged period of time. We had frost even a week and a half ago. Went out to do the weekly shopping and you could see your breath.

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Response to Skidmore (Reply #3)

Sat May 31, 2014, 05:48 PM

4. Oh, I forgot, we also lost the four holly bushes we'd planted out front

last summer. Two of the four had been struggling going into winter, now they're all toast.

I'm definitely looking at re-evaluating what sorts of things I plant.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #4)

Sat May 31, 2014, 05:51 PM

5. I'm working on planting differently.

I do think our seasons are really changing drastically. We've had some brutal summers and winters over the past decade. Either too much rain or not enough and slightly off season. I'm in search of drought hardy and cold hardy plant. Lately we've had a huge problem with deer that we never had before.

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Response to Skidmore (Reply #5)

Sat May 31, 2014, 06:42 PM

6. I've been trying to get more bushes, canes, and trees

since they help hold moisture in the summer and act as windbreaks in the winter. I was just out doing some watering (we've got cukes, which like a lot) and I actually noticed a single, solitary cherry on one of the cherry trees, and a few apples starting out on the one tree. I'd seen the one apple bloom, but I didn't see any buds for forever, was sure I wasn't going to get anything. So now I'm making sure to water that tree as well. I want to make apple butter, darnit.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #6)

Sat May 31, 2014, 06:50 PM

7. I have a verbeneum, native to this area, but took

a beating this winter. It had lots of dead branches in it. I pruned them out today and watered it. Am hoping that it will come back. There's new growth at the base. I hope it makes it because the shrub puts out some really lovely white blossoms all summer.

We didn't get the veggie garden in until last Saturday. I put in a much smaller garden this year since we were still on drought footing, althought that is easing a bit for now. My husband watered the green beans so much last year. We had plenty to harvest but by the time the water bill was all settled, those were some of the most expensive beans we've ever eaten.

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Response to Skidmore (Reply #7)

Sat May 31, 2014, 06:56 PM

8. Where we are, it's mostly just temperature extremes so far.

Not drought conditions, but long snaps of very low temps in winter, over 100 for periods of a week or two at a time in summer. I'd really like to put in a water feature simply to help keep the local wildlife alive. I've found dead birds in the yard several times during those heatwaves. We've got a bird bath, but it's black wrought iron and sits in the sun. I think a shallow pool under the apple trees might be good, although I've always already got mosquito issues around the raspberry canes.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #8)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 08:03 PM

10. Lord have mercy

 

I have mosquitoes coming out of my ears and it is just the beginning of June. They are horrible. We had a drought, and then it started raining and hasn't stopped since.

We have so many mosquitoes they should be our state bird.

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Response to Skidmore (Original post)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 08:01 PM

9. I'm way down south

 

and I got exactly NO blackberries this year. I don't know if it was because we got too much rain after the fact, or if it was the drought at the time when they should have started growing. Extremely disappointing season for blackberries in my neck of the woods.

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Response to Skidmore (Original post)

Tue Jun 17, 2014, 10:35 AM

11. I'm Zone 5

but on the east coast. My apple trees and other fruit trees had no blossoms this year, so no apples for me. Raspberries, black raspberries and blueberries are all doing fine. I transplanted a bunch of blackberries last fall and didn't think they made it but abuot three weeks ago I saw new canes coming up from the roots I planted last year -- very gratifying. These ones did better than ones I transplanted in the spring. I may have lost two fruit trees, but am waiting to see. We had a long winter here again, like last year, but last year the everything was fine, plenty of apples. We had a late snow in March which may have killed most fruit tree blossoms. I heard on a radio program recently that people lost things that they had had in their gardens for 20-30+ years.

This year I'm fertilizing on schedule trying to make the roots as strong as I can. This year I'm giving mycorrhizae to just about everything to help the roots too.

http://awaytogarden.com/feed-the-soil-my-experiment-with-mycorrhizae/

If you're interested, I can give you the name of the place I ordered it from. It was cheaper on shipping to go through them directly rather than from Amazon.

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