Description of the blackberry plant, how to plant and care, recommendations for reproduction, the fight against possible pests and diseases, notes for gardeners, species and varieties.
The blackberry (Rubus) belongs to the genus of the same name Rubus, which is included in the Rosaceae family. The native area from which the spread of blackberries began in different territories of the planet falls on the lands of the American continent, where the plant is found everywhere. It prefers to settle in the wild in humid forests, coastal areas of rivers and wetlands. If we compare blackberries with raspberries, then this representative of the flora does not so easily endure winter in our latitudes, but it is more resistant to drought. Today there are many types of blackberries, their number reaches two hundred units, but two of them are highlighted:
- dewdropwith rather long and creeping shoots;
- kumanika, whose shoots grow vertically and reach a height of three meters.
The number of varieties, as well as hybrids bred in the breeding process, reaches three hundred.
|Growth features||Shrub or subshrub|
|Reproduction||Seed or vegetative|
|Landing period in open ground||Spring or Autumn|
|Disembarkation scheme||Depends on the variety, but not less than 1.5 cm between seedlings|
|Soil acidity, pH||Neutral or slightly acidic - 6, 5-8|
|Illumination||Sunny location or partial shade|
|Moisture indicators||Drought-resistant, but watering should be more during the ripening period|
|Special Requirements||Not too difficult to grow|
|Plant height||From 0.3 cm to 3-4 m and above|
|Color of flowers||White, pale or dark pink|
|Type of flowers, inflorescences||Flowers are actinomorphic, inflorescences are racemose|
|Fruit color||Bright red|
|Place of application||Shelter of ancillary buildings, formation of hedges|
Although blackberries are very similar to raspberries in their fruits, their shoots have thorns, therefore in the Slavic languages they are compared with the thorns of a hedgehog. On the territory of Ukraine, the plant is called ozhina, and in the Caucasus - azhina. The name in Latin Rubus is associated with the color of the emerging berries of the plant, which take on a bright red color, dialectically similar to the word "rufus".
Both of the aforementioned blackberry species are perennial shrubs or semi-shrubs. The root system is not too fibrous and, depending on the species, it differs more (like a dew) or less deep penetration into the ground. The underground part is usually divided into rhizome (the part of the stem that grows underground) and adventitious roots. Such root processes, moving away from the rhizome, are located in the surface layer of the substrate and tend to spread from the bush over a long distance. In July, adventitious buds are laid on the entire root system and the rudiments of young stems develop. When autumn comes, young shoots have not yet emerged from the soil and continue to remain in it. The height of the seedlings is 7–8 cm, their surface is covered with small leaves resembling scales.
Shoots can take arcuate shoots (in kumanik) or be adjacent to the soil surface (in dew grass). If they grow upright, then their height varies in the range of 3-4 m and even more (occasionally reaching 10 m). In any case, the surface of the stems has a large number of very sharp thorns. The tops of the shoots can hang in the form of arches. This structure helps the stems to climb any support nearby. The color of the branches is lilac-purple, but occasionally takes on a gray tone. The blackberry leaf has a complex structure, and it has 5-7 simple leaf lobes with a serrated edge. The foliage is colored in shades ranging from deep green to grayish green. On the reverse side of the leaves, there is a pubescence of tough short hairs.
Blackberry shoots have ribs, they are densely covered with thorns, but today, in the process of selection, varieties devoid of thorns have been bred. Since ancient times, hedges have been built with their help, which serve as excellent protection. Blackberry differs from other berry shrub plants in that the age of the shoots located above the ground never exceeds two years. In this two-year development cycle, in the first year of the growing season, the stems grow in length and width, in the second year they bear fruit and then die off.
The flowering period for blackberries occurs at the beginning of summer, but flowers can open from the end of May, when the spring frosts pass, and until autumn. Flowering takes 3 to 5 days. The first buds unfold at the top of the shoots, then flowering passes to the middle and lower parts of the stems. The flower has five petals, its structure is actinomorphic, the color can be snow-white, soft or dark pink. Inflorescences formed from flowers, racemose.
Fruits after pollination of blackberry flowers are formed gradually, the fruiting period takes time from mid-summer to the end of October. It is recommended to harvest the crop in several stages, getting constantly fresh berries. The fruit is a composite drupe, which is only conventionally considered a berry. The shape of the fruit is round, but can be oblong or conical. The berries are inseparable from the fruit bearing, therefore, their shelf life is greatly increased. Blackberries have a very diverse spectrum of shades - there are white, yellow, red colors, as well as from purple to almost black.
Rules for the care and planting of blackberries at home
- Selection of a landing site. A sunny location will be more comfortable for growing blackberry bushes, but the plant also tolerates shady corners of the garden well. When planted in the sun, the harvest will be more abundant and the berries are sweeter, and in a shady place the shoots will inevitably begin to stretch out. It is recommended to place the bushes next to the walls of ancillary buildings or a fence to provide protection from the wind, since in case of strong gusts, twigs with berries can be broken, and the fruits will fly around. It is recommended to step back a meter from the fence so that the plant is not in strong shade. It will also help ensure that the planting is provided with ventilation and thus self-pollination occurs.
- The choice of soil for planting blackberries. Berry bushes are best planted in places with medium loam and low acidity (pH 6, 5-8). At the same time, the soil should be fertile and well-drained. It is not worth planting ogina on a carbonate substrate, as this can provoke chlorosis, as well as salinization.
- Planting blackberries it is carried out in early spring, although autumn may also come up, but it is important that early or late frosts do not harm the young plant. It is necessary to place root cuttings along the formed furrow of 8-10 cm, its depth should be no more than 5-8 cm. If green offspring are planted, the holes are dug out so that their depth is 10-15 cm with a diameter of 15-20 cm. In a prepared place (hole or furrow), it is recommended to lay a layer of soil mixed with compost (you can take humus). Potassium sulphide and superphosphate are also added there. After that, the soil is lightly sprinkled with soil without additives and a seedling is placed on top, the roots are gently straightened. The deepening of the growth bud, which is located at the base of the shoot, should not exceed 3 cm. The hole should be covered with an earth mixture from the excavated soil, mineral dressings and humus. As the hole falls asleep, the blackberry seedling is watered. After the planting is carried out, it is necessary to form a groove around in the near-trunk circle in which moisture will collect. When planting, they try to leave a distance between blackberry seedlings, depending on the variety, height and width of its stems. If the variety is distinguished by a large number of released shoots, one and a half meters are left between the pits for one plant. You can plant a couple of bushes in one hole, but then the distance between the holes will reach up to 2 m. When planting in rows, then 1, 8–2 m is kept between them.
- Pruning blackberries when grown, it is performed the next growing season after planting - this will lead to a build-up of the root system. In the second year, it is recommended to shorten the shoots to 1, 5–1, 8 m in order to stimulate the appearance of a large number of berries and to facilitate the subsequent harvest. In spring, all frozen branches must be cut to the place where the first living buds are located. In the period from May to June, it is recommended to thin out the ozhina bush, removing very young shoots. In this case, you can leave only 8-10 stems that appear to have medium strength, which will ensure better communication with the root system and airing the bush. In June, the tops of this year's branches are also cut by about 5-10 cm.
- Garter shoots is an important aspect when growing blackberries. When the stems stop actively growing during the second growing season, they must be tied to a support. Gardeners use a wide variety of designs for this purpose: flat trellises, arches, and the like. In the case when it is impossible to bend the shoots, it is not worth making efforts, as they can be broken. When young stems grow, they can be pinned to the soil with a stiff wire, placing them along the support (trellis). After that, it is necessary to pinch the top. This will allow the plant to grow in width rather than in height and release a large number of shoots on the sides, giving a good harvest of berries. With the arrival of spring, it is recommended to lift these shoots on a support, and cut out the old lashes.
- Watering. When caring for blackberries, you should not philosophize much about soil moisture, since the plant tolerates drought more persistently than raspberries, but it is important to ensure that the soil does not dry out. Only during the ripening period of the crop, additional watering will be required for the rest. Rubus does not tolerate waterlogged soil.
- Fertilizers when growing blackberries, it should be applied annually with the arrival of spring. Top dressing is 50 grams of ammonium nitrate for each bush. When the plant reaches 4 years of age, it is recommended to add humus (compost) in the amount of 6–8 kg, as well as 30 g of potassium sulfide and up to 100 g of superphosphate. Ozhina also responds well to feeding with simple organic matter.
- Blackberry wintering. Since the bushes can be damaged in too harsh and snowless winters, it is recommended with the arrival of November to bend the shoots and cover them with a film or non-woven material (for example, spunbond). You can use roofing material or other available means. This is due to the fact that the harvest will be formed on the stems of last year, so if they freeze, new shoots will appear in the spring, but the berries will be on them only in a year. When a variety with creeping shoots is grown, it is much easier for such branches to bend down to the soil.
- General advice on care. After the snow melts and the threat of spring frosts has passed, the shelter is removed. It is important to do this before the kidneys swell! After that, shaping pruning is carried out, and the soil in the near-trunk circle is loosened and mulched. Sawdust or humus can act as mulch.
How to propagate blackberries?
When growing ogins, both seed and vegetative methods are used for reproduction.
In the first case, the seeds must be sown before winter in prepared grooves. In this case, the depth of the backlog will be 4–5 cm. It is important to remember that the place for sowing is immediately selected so as not to carry out the subsequent transplantation of rubus seedlings.
When vegetative propagation of blackberries with creeping shoots, the following methods are distinguished:
- planting cuttings from the tops of the shoots;
- planting root suckers;
- cuttings of rhizomes;
- rooting of green cuttings;
- division of an overgrown bush.
If the species or variety of blackberries differs in upright shoots, then reproduction will be the same, except for the use of apical layers.
When planting the apical layers, the shoot should be bent to the soil and placed in a formed groove no more than 3-5 cm deep. A couple of notches are carefully made on the branch to cut off the peel - this will help to release the roots faster. Then the branch is attached to the ground with a rigid wire and covered with soil. Rooting takes place very quickly and new stems will appear from the buds at the top of the shoot. With the arrival of spring, you can separate the rooted young seedlings and move them to a prepared place.
For propagation of bush blackberries, it is best to use root suckers. Such parts of the plant are formed every year in large numbers next to the mother bush. If the height reaches 10 cm, they can be separated and planted in a prepared place. The best time for this operation will be May or early summer, so that the plants have time to take root before the onset of autumn.
The grafting method is used in cases where there is a particularly valuable variety of blackberries and you need to get offspring from it. In the period June-July, it is recommended to cut blanks from the shoots of the current year, while it is necessary to use their middle part. There should be at least 2-3 buds on the workpiece, and the length of the cutting should be 10-12 cm. Green cuttings of blackberries of all forms (including hybrid ones) are planted in a peat-sand mixture in greenhouses or greenhouses, where constant high humidity will be maintained … You can plant the cuttings in cups with peat-sandy soil and cover with foil. When rooting is successful, in the spring you can transplant seedlings to a permanent place.
There are varieties of rubus that do not give offspring. Then, for reproduction, an overgrown bush should be divided. It is important that the excavated blackberry bush is divided in such a way that each part has a sufficient number of roots and shoots. This will ensure the delenka successfully rooted in a new place. The old rhizome with the remains of the bush is disposed of.
Fight against possible pests and diseases when caring for blackberries
Since blackberries are very close to raspberries, they can have identical problems. Among them are:
- Rust manifested by the weakening of the bushes and the appearance of orange-brown spots on the leaves. A disease occurs due to waterlogging of the soil or high humidity (goblet rust). It can also be brought in from nearby pines or cedars (columnar).
- Anthracnose, appearing during a rainy summer. In this case, on the shoots you can see spots of an oval-shaped purple color. When they reach the cortex, they form grayish sores that have a purple edge. In this case, the foliage also suffers from reddish spots.
- Botrix (gray rot) occurs with constant rains, berries suffer from it. It is important not to thicken the blackberry bushes, since constant ventilation of the shoots is necessary.
- White spot (septoria) damaging foliage and stems. It is manifested by marks of a light brown color, which lighten over time, but their border becomes darker.
- Purple spot (didimella). Affects the buds on blackberry stems. The foliage dries up, it is dumped and even the stem dries out. At the very beginning of the disease, the plant is covered with brown-purple spots in the middle and lower parts, then the buds turn black, and the foliage becomes brittle and covered with yellow spots with a necrotic border.
- Powdery mildew or spheroteku, provoking the formation of a whitish coating, which resembles a frozen mortar.
To eliminate the symptoms of these diseases, 1% Bordeaux liquid, sulfur preparations (for example, colloidal sulfur) or fungicides are used. At the same time, it is important not to violate agricultural practices when caring for blackberries.
Among the pests, one can distinguish: mite (spider and raspberry), walnut worm, aphids, gall midge, raspberry kidney moth, caterpillars, butterflies such as moth and raspberry glass, raspberry-strawberry weevil and raspberry beetle. To get rid of harmful insects, it is recommended to carry out regular spraying with insecticidal preparations with a wide spectrum of action, such as Aktara, Fitoverm or Aktellik.
Notes for gardeners about blackberries
In the English lands, you can hear the belief that when picking blackberries after the first ten days of October, you can bring trouble to yourself. People believe that on this day unclean forces spit on the fruits and if there are any, then the person becomes defiled.
Blackberries help to strengthen the body and the digestive system, help with diabetes and urolithiasis. With the juice of foliage or young berries, ogins cure pharyngitis, sore throat, fever, and if applied externally, it copes with skin diseases.
A decoction of blackberry roots has long been used by healers to stop bleeding or poor digestion.
Description of species and varieties of blackberries
Of all the species, it is customary to cultivate only two:
Bushy blackberry (Rubus fruticosus),
which is called Kumanika or The blackberry is thick. The bushes have flexible shoots, grow reclining, covered with thorns. The berries have a blue-violet hue.
Gray blackberry (Rubus caesius),
which they call Ozhinoy … It takes the form of a semi-shrub, branches are upright, a whitish bloom forms on their surface, there are thin spines of small sizes. The ripening berries are small in size, but differ in a bluish bloom, which reflects the specific name, they are very similar in appearance to raspberries. Fruit ripening occurs in August.
In our latitudes, the following blackberry varietal forms are most popular:
bred by the Americans. Possesses winter hardiness (up to 42 degrees below zero). The branches of the shrub are powerful, high, with arched tops. The surface of the stems is covered with multiple thorns. The berries are black in color, their size is average, the weight of one fruit reaches 3 g. The taste is sweet and sour, there is a delicate aroma. The harvest ripens at the end of summer.
gives a rich harvest and has excellent frost resistance. A bush with strong erect shoots, distinguished by the peculiarity of the formation of root shoots. The berries have an elongated shape, the surface of the fruits is glossy, the weight of each reaches 3.5 grams, the taste is slightly acidic.
bred by Ivan Michurin, has shoots creeping on the ground. The entire surface of the branches is covered with strong curved thorns. The berries are large in size, their weight varies in the range of 6-10 grams. Sour-sweet taste, late ripening. Resistance to frost is low, shelter is necessary.
the variety is remontant (it can bloom and bear fruit for a long time). The bush is distinguished by strong shoots with a reddish color, the surface has ribs and multiple thorns. Fruits are medium in size, weighing about 4 g. Insulation is necessary for the winter.
not in vain named Ezhemalina, since it is a hybrid species obtained from crossing Blackberry red-fruited and Large-fruited red raspberries. Shoots are arched and reach 2 m in length. The ripening of the crop takes place in "waves" from August to November. The size of the berries can vary from 5-10 grams. Not hardy.