Overwinter Small Berry Plants

Last winter, I lost several raspberry and blackberry plants. Some were new nursery bare roots and some were what I received from friends. I planted them in ground last fall. I do not know if last winter was too cold. Here we are in NJ, Zone 6.

I’m going to receive them again this week. I just wonder what else I should do to over-winter them. I planted one blackberry in pot, stored in garage, still it did not make it. They should be easy plants…

What types? Not all are hardy.

I lost Cherokee black, Triple Crown black and (2) Heritage rasp. They should be hardy…

Bad plants, maybe. Heritage is hard to kill.

In the garage they must be moist, not wet, not dry! I never planted in the fall. Well I have blackberries, come to think of it. In the garage they went, and yes some did die. All of my raspberries were planted in the spring. Only Rosanna died during the winter. All the other cultivars made it. You could also try spraying with Wilt Stop. That worked well for me with blackberries. Which didn’t die, just all of the canes, the crowns made it. My best advice is try spring planting.
Bury them in leaves too. You know besides drying out, it’s the freeze-thaw that kills them. They thaw in the day’s sun and freeze again at night. That is why you cover strawberries with straw in the winter. It works so well they named them after the technique!

I had a Heritage about 10 years ago. I just neglected. So it eventually disappeared. Not sure how hardy it can be.

My friend is sending the plants, so I’ll have to find home for them. I could plant them in pot and keep them at home. I still prefer to plant them in ground, but do not want to have them killed again.

So the best way is to plant the regular way, then mulch the small plants heavily? I normally use wood chips. All my grapes made it over last winter.

Maybe you should keep them in a pot in the garage till next spring, just to be safe. That should be easier on the plant. No I would bury in leaves, not wood chips, but in the garage would be better with a normal amount of mulch, not buried, or no mulch to watch that it doesn’t dry out or become too wet.
I’m overwintering 7 figs, a cherry tree, 9 blackberry plants, 3 gooseberries, 3 currant plants and 4 blueberry plants in my garage. Some strawberries in pots too. Oh and I stuck about 15 currant cuttings in a couple pots. They are in the garage too. Red, white, pink and black currants. Zone 6a/5b

I think you are probably better off planting them in the ground and then covering them with straw, leaves, or something else that would trap the ground heat. All of the plants you mentioned are reasonably hardy and with a little protection, should survive fine outside. Keeping in your garage has at least two issues: (1) moisture - as Drew mentioned - can be tough to manage over the winter when the plant is dormant and (2) temperature - if it’s too warm in your garage, like it is in mine, the plants may drift in and out of dormancy which usually does not help them survive the following year.

If you plant it, cover it, and let mother nature manage the moisture, the new plants will probably be just fine. Plants left in pots outside in the winter though are exposing their roots to temperatures colder than if they were buried.