Blackberry, or the smell of the forest
Blackberry is a very tasty and fragrant berry. There are many types and varieties of blackberries.
Blackberry is the name of several plant species from the genus Rubus of the family Pink. In various places in Russia, several species of the genus Rubus are called by this name, mainly two: Rubus caesius L. and Rubus fruticosus L. Some authors call the first of these species a blackberry, and the second - cumanica; others, on the contrary, call the first of these types of burns (borrowed from the Ukrainian language).
In the process of ripening, the fruits of the blackberry acquire first green, then brownish, and then a bright red-brown color. Ripe blackberries are black.
Both species are shrubs, the stems and shoots of which are planted with thorns; their stalk shoots are flexible, sometimes rising, then lying; in Rubus caesius, the leaves are triple, the lower ones sometimes even with 5 leaves; in Rubus fruticosus, the leaves consist of 5 and 7 leaves.
In Rubus caesius, the fruits are black with a blue coating, therefore, in some places they are called turquoise; Rubus fruticosus has no plaque. The juice of the fruit is dark red; the taste is sour, slightly resinous; in southern countries, these fruits are sweet. Can be used for making jam. Both species are very common in temperate and warm countries of Europe up to Scandinavia and the western part of the Arkhangelsk region, inclusive.
In the Caucasus, these species, especially Rubus fruticosus, grow unusually, together with other shrubs forming impenetrable thickets.
Blackberry is a close relative of raspberries. It is often found in the wild in Russia.
The most common is blackberry gray (Rubus caesius). Its shoots are covered with small tenacious spikes, and it is she who forms impenetrable thickets on forest clearings, in ravines, near rivers and streams. Apparently, because of this, blackberry got another popular name - deaf raspberries.
In total, more than 200 blackberry species are known in Eurasia and North America. Most of them are natural hybrid forms; bushes growing from 50 cm to 3–7 m.
Like raspberries, blackberry shoots have a two-year development cycle: in the first year they grow, lay buds, in the second year they bear fruit and die.
The blackberry blossoms late - in June, which means that the flowers are not damaged by spring frosts and the berries ripen annually and abundantly. Fruits - complex drupes (like raspberries), dark purple, black or red, often with a touch.
Garden blackberry is divided into two groups:
- Hedgehog, or Cumanica, with straight stems
- Rosyanika - with creeping shoots
There is also an intermediate form - half-spreading.
In straight-growing varieties, tall (3-4 m or more) shoots are abundantly covered with thorns. Creeping ones have larger and juicy fruits, moreover, they ripen earlier and are more fruitful. But creeping stems complicate the care of the plant, in addition, the dewberry is not resistant, and therefore less common.
Among kumanik there are many winter-hardy enough varieties suitable for cultivation in central Russia.
Rosilniks are very demanding on heat, in the conditions of central Russia they must be covered for the winter.
Planting a blackberry
Like raspberries, blackberry shoots have a two-year development cycle: in the first year they grow, lay buds, in the second they bear fruit and die. The blackberry blooms late in June, which means, as already noted, that the flowers are not damaged by spring frosts and the berries ripen annually and abundantly.
Blackberries bear fruit soon, in the second year, and regularly. It is unpretentious - grows on a variety of soils. He does not like only carbonate (it is affected by chlorosis) and salinization. Responsive to feeding. It yields the highest yields on fertilized, well-drained loams. Waterlogging does not tolerate.
Since blackberries are not frost-resistant enough in central Russia, places that are protected from cold winds and well warmed by the sun should be chosen for it.
It is more reasonable to plant a blackberry in the spring. A planting pit with dimensions of 40 x 40 x 40 cm is prepared for each bush. Before planting, 5–6 kg (half a bucket) of well-rotted manure, 100–150 g of superphosphate, 40–50 g of potash fertilizers are introduced into it and thoroughly mixed with soil. It is better to fill the roots with natural soil (to avoid burns), and place the enriched soil in a pit on top. Root blackberry seedlings are placed at a distance of 0.8–1 m from each other; the distance between the rows is 1.8–2 m.
When planting mildew and raspberry-blackberry hybrids, one must take into account what the size of an adult bush will be. Tapestries for blackberries should be at least 2 m high. When fan-shaped, the distance between plants should be at least 2.5–3.5 m.
Separate placement of fruiting and growing stems facilitates plant care and harvesting. The easiest way to separate placement is to send fruit-bearing shoots in one direction, and new ones in the other. In the fan-shaped method of formation, the fruiting shoots are fan-shaped, one at a time, to the right and to the left, and the new ones are placed in the center. When ropes are formed, fruit-bearing shoots are directed along the wire, and new ones are left in the center. When formed by waves, fruit-bearing shoots are directed by waves along the lower rows, and young ones along the upper ones.
Young shoots are tied up in the summer as they grow. Old prolific stems, which will no longer produce berries, are cut near the ground and removed from the site.
In the middle zone of Russia, the blackberry is not frost-resistant enough, so you will have to take care of a successful wintering.
For winter, bushes of unstable blackberries are laid on the ground. In order not to damage the plants, you can lay them together with the trellis - gently pull out the supports and lower the entire landing flat. The tops of the bushes are covered with peat and leaves from above, and later they are covered with snow.
In spring, the bushes must be opened before the kidneys swell strongly and formative pruning is done. That is - to shorten too sprouted shoots on the growth of the current year (cut from a third to half the length of the shoot), pinch the shoots growing in an undesirable direction.
Caring for blackberry plants consists in watering, fertilizing, maintaining the soil in rows in a loose state, destroying weeds and extra offspring. Especially the greatest need for moisture during the ripening of berries.
To maintain soil moisture, especially in dry summers, it is necessary to irrigate blackberries during the growth of shoots and ovaries, otherwise you can lose yield: the berries become small, dry and fall off before ripening. It is useful to carry out winter irrigation of blackberry plantings in October.
In the future, once every 2-3 years, 4-6 kg of rotted manure or compost per 1 m are applied under the blackberry plants2, and in the years between the application of organic fertilizers make mineral, for example, 20-30 g of nitrophosphate per 1 m2. Experts believe that blackberries, like raspberries, are very useful to feed in June with water infusions of mullein or chicken manure, diluted in a ratio of 1: 4-6 and 1: 10-12.
Specialists give different recommendations on the formation of blackberry bushes.
In erect varieties, the stems are most often shortened in autumn at the same height - 1.6-1.8 m. In spring, the tops damaged by frost are removed. With severe damage, the stems are cut off over a well-formed overwintered bud. In varieties with drooping tops, the stems are shortened at the inflection point. In May-June, normalization of newly growing shoots is carried out. Usually they leave 6-8 pieces per 1 bush (or 12-16 pieces per 1 meter of row), removing all the underdeveloped and out-of-line rows. Subsequently, all shoots that appear when they reach a height of 8-10 cm are cut off.
A very important event that increases the yield next year is the tweezing, or removal of the tip of the shoot. This procedure contributes to the awakening of the lateral kidneys, the formation of branches. This leads to an increase in the area of fruiting. Pincing is a must when growing an erect blackberry. In the first year of life of the shoots, when they reach a height of 90-120 cm, they conduct the first pruning of the apex by 7-12 cm. After the growth of the side shoots, they are shortened to 40-50 cm. This pruning prevents the lateral shoots from growing very long, making the bush more compact.
In the second year after planting, new shoots of the current year, as they grow, are fixed on the trellis in the opposite direction from last year's fruiting stems. Thus, with this formation system, the bushes are immediately clearly divided into two halves, placed in different directions.
In the fall, after harvesting, the prolific stems are cut off at the base, and next year new young shoots will take their place, which should be tied to the trellises in the same way.
Ripe blackberries, Cumanica, are propagated mainly by lignified and green root offspring and root cuttings. The root offspring of a blackberry is formed a little. Its horizontal roots are deeper than raspberries, so the offspring have a weakly branched root system. Experts recommend taking this feature into account when digging up root offspring.
The most effective method of propagation of direct growth by root cuttings: in early spring, dig out pieces of roots with a diameter of 6-8 mm and a length of 10-15 cm and plant them in a permanent place, horizontally placing them in the soil at a depth of 7-10 cm.
Creeping blackberry, or mildew, and hybrids of raspberry and blackberry form very few offspring or do not form them at all. The rooting of the tops and green cuttings are used to propagate these plants.. The tops are rooted very simply: at the end of August, the ends of the shoots are bent to the ground, curving in an arcuate manner, placed in a pit 10 cm deep, bringing the tops 10 cm long to the surface, pinned to the ground with metal staples, and covered with fertile moist soil.
There is another option for rooting apical layers. When the young shoots of substitution reach a height of 60-90 cm, they are pinched, as a result of which lateral shoots form on them in the middle of summer. At the rooting site, the soil is dug up to a depth of 15 cm, humus is made under the digging, and then a groove is dug up to a depth of no more than 10 cm and the top of the shoot is laid to the bottom, pinned to the ground with metal staples, covered with fertile soil and watered.
Abroad, planting material of blackberries in large quantities is obtained by the method of clonal micropropagation on artificial nutrient media. Simultaneously with reproduction, the plant is improved from many pathogens. So, in Italy, for one plant of raspberries (blackberries) obtained using tissue culture, there are 3 plants grown in the usual way. In the USA and Canada, this ratio is 1: 6 and 1: 100, respectively.
Agaveam - A very old American variety, one of the most hardy. It withstands frosts down to –42 ° С, only fruit buds are damaged at –27–30 ° С. The plants are powerful. Shoots are high, arch-shaped, faceted, strongly prickly. Berries weighing about 3 g, black, sweet-sour, fragrant. Begin to ripen in the beginning - mid-August. Productivity of 3-4 kg per bush. The variety is resistant to anthracnose, rust and stem cancer.
Darrow - quite a winter-hardy American variety, withstands frosts down to –30–35 ° С. The bush is powerful, with straight prickly shoots. Berries weighing up to 3.5 g, conical shape, black, glossy, sour-sweet. The ripening period is extended. The variety is fruitful.
Wilsons Earley. Shoots are straight-growing or drooping, with small spikes, 1.5-2 m high. The berries are purple-black, ovoid, weighing about 2 g. It is relatively winter-hardy, moreover, it is one of the earliest varieties. Flowering begins in the second half of May, the ripening of berries - from mid-July to late August. It is resistant to anthracnose and rust.
Lucretia - An old American creeping variety. The bush is powerful, with numerous shoots covered with thin spiky thorns. Independent, affected by anthracnosis. The berries are large, black, ripening early.
Abundant. The variety was bred by Ivan Michurin. The bush is powerful, with long creeping shoots covered with strong bent spikes. Productivity is high. Fruits are large, weighing 6-10 g, sweet and sour, ripen late. In the middle zone of Russia, “Abundant” needs to be sheltered for the winter.
Bossless varieties of blackberries - Thornfrey, Lohness, Hull Thorless, Chester Thorless, Smutsem, Black Satin - are becoming increasingly popular.. All of them are poorly resistant and in the middle lane need shelter.
Blackberry Diseases and Pests
It affects leaves and young shoots, takes away up to 60% of the crop. The disease manifests itself in the presence of spores, which in the beginning of summer in the form of a sticky mass of small orange-brown dots (scatter as they ripen) cover the stem, leaf blades, etc. Soon, all this sticky mass dries out, forming a film, and the first real spores of the fungus appear. The affected part of the stem darkens, ulcers appear on it. The next year, mycelium remains alive, it grows and causes premature death of stems.
The main method of struggle with rust - raking fallen leaves that are burned. Rust also affects blackberries when there is a lack of moisture in the soil when the plants are weakened. In case of dry weather, watering is required. In spring, you need to inspect the plants and remove thickening leaves, weak branches.
At the first sign of rust, blackberries can be sprayed with garlic infusion. Take 300 g of garlic, grind in a meat grinder, pour 3 liters of warm water. Insist a day, filter and dilute in 10 liters of water, spray the plants in the afternoon. This drug protects against rust infections and other diseases, as well as aphids and ticks. Bordeaux mixture is effective (400 g of copper sulfate + 40 g of lime per 10 l of water), process until buds open.
A common disease of blackberries and raspberries. The disease affects all the aerial organs of the plant, but especially shoots and leaves. The disease manifests itself in early summer on young shoots and root offsprings that have just emerged from the soil, and purple spots appear on them. Later they increase, deepen into the cortical tissue, turning into grayish ulcers with purple edges and cracked tissue in the middle.
The bark around the sores exfoliates in patches. On the leaves, the spots are small, rounded, which increase, reaching 3 mm in diameter. On fruiting brushes, spots form a ring and cause them to wilt along with the berries. On mature fruits, gray sores form, the fruits dry out, the unripe berries turn brown, deformed, dry out. The anthracnose-causing fungus only affects raspberries and blackberries. Texas, Izobilnaya varieties are resistant to anthracnose.
Fight method. Blackberries and raspberries are destroyed along with the roots, burned, and only vegetables can be sown in this place.
Purple Spotting (Didella)
It affects shoots, buds, petioles and, to a lesser extent, leaves. In diseased plants, buds die, leaves fall and dry. The development of the disease contributes to excessive thickening of plantings, high humidity. Especially sick plants damaged by raspberry stem gall midge.
Control measuresas with rust and anthracnose.
Septoria (white spotting)
The development of the disease contributes to wet weather. On the leaves appear rounded pale brown, and then with a white border spots. Later, the spots merge, the affected tissue turns brown, collapses and falls out. Leaves and thin twigs mucilage, berries rot.
Control measuresas with anthracnose.
Fungal disease. The causative agent is Sferotek mushroom; it affects berries, especially in wet weather. White plaque appears on the berries, they become unattractive and tasteless.
Control measuresas with rust and purple spotting.
Damages young shoots, causes them to dry out. All plants must be cut and burned.
Raspberry shoot aphids, weevils, raspberry beetle
The shoots where the pests live, freeze and dry out. It is necessary to spray with Fitoverm (2 ml per 10 l of water), or Kinmiks (2.5 ml per 10 l of water), the treatment should be carried out during the growing season.
In addition to great taste and external beauty, blackberries have useful and healing (healing) properties.
Blackberries are rich in glucose, fructose, vitamin C, carotene, organic acids and tocopherols. As a result of useful properties, blackberries are used to treat diseases of the kidneys, bladder, diabetes and joint inflammation.