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How to Grow the ‘Berry’ best Brambles

Blackberry, Boysenberry, Loganberry, Ranuiberry, Raspberry and Tayberry are all members of the Rose family and are collectively known as Brambles. Packed full of essential vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and health promoting Phyto-chemicals summer berry fruit is delicious, nutritious and easy to grow. So get out your gloves and gumboots, follow our simple ‘How to’ guide and we are sure you will be ‘berry’ happy with the results.

Situation- Grow in a sunny sheltered position for best results.

Soil - Brambles will grow in most ‘average’ garden soils but they prefer one slightly on the acid side. They won’t do well in heavy clay soils and they don’t like lots of lime. Brambles are moisture lovers but do not like to sit in water therefore good drainage is essential.

Water - Brambles like plenty of water especially when the fruit are swelling. It is important they do not completely dry out at this time or some of the berries may drop off before developing. Avoid wetting the fruit when watering.

Feeding - Brambles like lots of organic matter and appreciate a nice layer of mulch or compost around the base of the plant – this also assists with retaining moisture. A well balanced fertilizer with (more or less) equal amounts of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium - NPK - can be applied in spring if necessary. You may find it easier to use a slow-release fertilizer. NB It is important not to give your plants too much Nitrogen as this will promote too much green leaf growth rather than lots of fruit.

Cultivation - All Brambles have shallow root systems which means their roots are close to the surface of the soil therefore don’t go mad with the push-hoe or use weed spray close to the plants – it is probably best to hand weed to avoid root damage. Gloves are essential.

Pruning- Brambles fruit on 2nd year wood which are sometimes called fruiting canes. This means that after fruiting the old wood or cane should be cut to the ground and removed and new canes will then grow and develop. These will fruit in their 2nd year of growth. Always cut with sharp clean secateurs on a warm dry day. An exception to this rule are the autumn fruiting Raspberries which fruit on the current season's wood/canes. In this instance all fruiting canes are cut off at ground level in winter and new fruiting wood/canes will be produced each season. Some Raspberry hybrids fruit in summer and autumn, you can either cut the cane that has fruited in summer down by half so new growth occurs and fruits again in autumn and/or rather than cutting out all the canes/wood each winter leave some to develop into 2nd year wood/canes for summer fruiting.

Support - For easy management it is best provide a support frame-work to tie in fruiting canes, some kind of trellis or fence will do the trick.

Harvesting - The best part. The berries ripen in summer and are ready to pick when they have developed their full colour (you may have to protect from hungry birds or children). If you follow the above growing guide you will soon have a plenty of Berry fruit and any surplus will freeze well.

When you see the letters NPK on fertilizer is represents the percentage of the 3 main elements essential for optimum plant growth, they are:-
N = Nitrogen for green growth i.e. leaves
P = Phosphorus for good root development
K = Potassium for flowering, fruiting and good health

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Wairere Nursery
826 Gordonton Road, R D 1, Hamilton Ph: (07) 824 3430 Email:     Open 7 days 8:30am-5pm