How Are the Brambles Doing After the Winter?

Just wonder if this is still too early to assess the winter cold effects on the brambles. Drew, how do you do up there?

I’m going to re-locate most of my blackberry and raspberry plants, to their new location. Do not know what to expect yet.

I am just starting to see how mine fared right now, we have had our first warm spell in the last few days and green is finally starting to poke out. Most of the dead canes I have are ones which had a big cane borer gall on them, it looks like this winter was not quite as bad as the previous one which killed some healthy canes. I’m the most worried about my figs and poms, they nearly all died back last year and I hope things are better this year.

I just relocated all my blackberry plants, mostly Black Satin and some TC. Since the move was planed last fall, I let the canes to crawl on the ground. So I did not see much damage. A lot of the canes took roots, so I expanded my plantings.

I was amazed to see how large the blackberry roots are. They are like tree tarp roots, as thick as fingers. I thought the roots would be like blueberry roots. The main berry plant is more than 10 years old.

My TC plants fared pretty well this winter. Some borer gall but the canes look pretty decent. We didn’t get below 0F this winter, so there doesn’t appear to be any winter kill.

I’ve had good luck transplanting blackberries just about any time during the dormant season, or in early spring here.

Once I received some blackberries in Jan. I waited till a fairly warm Jan. day and transplanted them. They did fine.

I was outside and made some more observations… a few plants I put right by the house still had their leaves on in spite of a relatively harsh winter - it got down to 2F and there were long stretches of very cold weather. What that says is I could probably grow more temperature-sensitive varieties in that particular spot. Also they grew very strongly the previous year so the summer heat is not doing them in (its extra hot where they are right by the house).

My main stand on the hill in the back did not grow much at all last year. I am really not sure what the problem is there; I was thinking it might be the soil so I worked in a lot of compost last spring. This stand used to grow very strongly… its a puzzle. I have 10 or more varieties there and none are growing strongly.

I am trying some new Oregon hybrids of eastern and western berries, looking for something easier to grow than the trailing ones but more flavorful than the eastern ones. They fared really well, as good or better than Triple Crown in terms of winter damage. They should fruit this year and I am looking forward to trying them.

You can try to grow Boysenberry if you like the taste. I just planted one. Do not know what to expect.

I’ll also put down some Cherokee blackberry. Again, I’ve not tasted it yet… Heard the thorny black ones taste better than the trailing ones…

It’s still early here, but I’m seeing some buds swell. We got to -16F so I guess I beat all you guys for cold temps! Everything looks good, even the uprights. I wrapped burlap around them, and that appeared to do the trick. Kinda half-Ass too, still appeared to help. My biggest problem is moving canes. Even some trailing appear fragile, a couple broke trying to move them. So on the ground they are staying. i will move slowly once growing. Next year I’m going to wrap them in a wreath and in the fall lay and cover. this will make it easier to move.
Covering them with leaves worked well. The Columbia star is impressive with 9 canes the first year, and the first two months it didn’t do anything. All the growth was in August and September. The canes are also flexible and none broke placing them on the trellis. Productive, good taste, thornless, flexible, this one is an ideal trailing plant.
I have a couple white blackberries and I left unprotected, and they are looking good, they appear to be super hardy.

I only had 2 Apache blackberry plants in the ground. It was their first winter. There is a grand total of 3 canes between them. We probably did plenty of things wrong, but followed directions as well as we understood them. We left them secured upright. Our coldest temp was 6 degrees lower than most years. It went down to 12 degrees one night. The leaves looked old and tired, but they eagerly put out new growth this spring and are forming lots of blossom clusters. Those are still closed tight. The wild blackberries that I keep ripping out are blooming all over, showing off their new hiding places this year, and trying to declare victory over the flower gardens. The honey bees are pleased that my efforts to eradicate the wild berries have been so futile. We enjoy the taste of the wild blackberries, but not their growth habits or stickers. I hope the Apache berries have a good taste. These will be the first non-grocery store cultivated ones we’ve tasted. If anyone has an opinion on that variety, please share.

We also have 5 Prime Ark Freedom plants that came as tissue culture plugs about a month ago. I potted them up when they arrived to keep them get past any frost events. They just went into the ground a few days ago, and their root growth was good. Some of them now have buds. They are only a foot or so high at this point.

We planted 5 each of Lauren, Prelude, Nantahala, and Jaclyn bareroot raspberries 3 weeks ago. They all have growth on their stems and/or new shoots now.

I forgot to mention I used an anti-desiccant spray and that may have helped with the uprights too. I sprayed twice. I also sprayed my trees. I’m doing it again next winter. Last year it went down to -14 and all my uprights lost 90 to 100% of floricanes. This year it’s more like 10% and it was colder! As mentioned I also used burlap.

I went out today and I’m getting bud swell on my canes. i would say damage is 10-30%. Not really that bad! Leaves, burlap, anti desiccant was used. Seemed to somewhat work. I sprayed anti-desiccant mostly on the uprights, and they look good! No bud swell yet, but most canes are green. The younger one Loch Ness has the most damage. Navaho also looks bad. TC, Chester, Natchez look better, mostly green canes. Green canes on Columbia Star and Black Diamond. Two canes my dog exposed look bad. I had Siskiyou and Marion cuttings in the garage, they look poor, not sure if alive or not? Boysenberry and Wyeberry have swelling buds with most canes OK. I should get 500 or more berries. I can live with that!

All I have are triple crowns and they came through with very little die back with out protection. A few lost canes but they had galls so I’m not counting them. All in all it looks like it’s going to be a great year for them in Missouri.

I have some buds showing white on the Apache. I also saw new canes pushing up today. Our first cultivated blackberry blossom opened for the year. It was on one of the Prime Ark Freedom plants. We are getting a needed rain right now, even if it is a thunderstorm. So, I expect the blossoms to really start opening in the next few days.

Always awesome to get your first berry. Wait till it goes from shiny black to a dull black. You don’t want to pick it early. As soon as it is ripe, a bird should steal it. :sob: I’m curious to taste Columbia Star, It has around 40 cultivars in it’s lineage. A very complex blackberry with raspberry genes also.

Lows of -1 here in SE PA.

Black raspberries look unscathed, Triple Crown and Chester look unscathed, but my PrimeArk45 looks bad. I’ll check it out tomorrow now that buds are starting to swell on some things.

Heritage and Fall Gold raspberries were cut down a few weeks back but looked undamaged.

Drew, How hardy is your Natchaz black berry? I saw some place said it is zone6, some place said zone 4. I am a little confused. I just bought one plant , not sure I should plant it in ground or in pot. Appreciate some feedback from you.

I will know more in a couple weeks. In the winter of 2013-14 I did nothing to it. Most of the canes died except for one, which produced well. This year I put burlap over it and sprayed Wilt Stop on it. It looks green, but no bud swell yet. I will update how things are doing as time goes by. I guess you can conclude it is barely hardy here (z6), it will not die, but fruiting canes do if not protected. We also had the worst winters in a long time. If somewhat normal, it may be OK? Time will tell, although I will always protect it now. Here the berries are rather strong and I only use them for jam. My wife hates them. They make a good jam so I’m keeping them. I mix my berries for jam, and it blends well with the others. Great with mulberries, currants, other blackberries.

Thank you Drew. I am in zone 5, so I should pot it. how big the pot should I put it in?

I’m not sure? Fruitnut would be a better person to ask. I just started growing a couple in pots, but I always go big. I have them in 15 or 20 gallon root pouches.
Here is a picture of my plant, i just went out and took a photo with a plastic coffee can for perspective. 2nd leaf, it is a rather big plant!

I’ve had great luck in smaller pots not much more than 3 gallon. Bigger would be better if you can handle them.

These are trailing western types. Yielded nice big berries.

Yeah growing the semi uprights in pots is a little more difficult, not sure how you could coral my plant into a pot! The main cane is as thick as a cigar.
I’ll be growing Marion and Siskiyou like fruitnut, just larger root pouches, if mine are alive? I looked at them today, and they have roots, so I think they are. But they were small cuttings. Thanks to JT, is he here? He should be!
Newberry is coming in to, I may grow in a pot for now too. I’m out of room, but may eliminate some blackberries this year. So may have room outside.
JTBurdon reported on Garden Web that his outside trailing covered in leaves faired poorly, most floricanes are dead. Mine on the other hand did well. Not sure why he had less success?