The Q&A Archives: Planting brambles in Nebraska

Question: I live in the Southern part of Nebraska and want to plant a varied planting of raspberries (red & black), blackberries, currants, blueberries, and gooseberries. When is the best time to plant these plantings? We are building a new house this fall and the site was on 4.5 acres of alfalfa previously. We have chisel plowed the ground. We are hoping to plant a varied group of plantings, mostly to attract and provide habitat for numerous birds.

Answer: With all those fruit as part of the plan, you should have LOTS of birds! You can plant this fall or next spring, probably with equal success. All the fruit you mention will do best in a rich, well-drained soil, so you may wish to spend time this fall preparing the planting site, and wait til spring to plant. Blueberries need an acidic soil (pH 4.5-5.0), and the others do well in soil pH 6.0-6.5. Contact your county agricultural extension service for info on soil testing. The easiest way to prep soil for blueberries is to mix a lot of peat moss into the planting area. Fruit crops need a steady supply of moisture, but can't stand wet feet. Your extension service should also have a bulletin on pruning and maintenance of the various berry crops, and more info should come with the plants you purchase.

For more info on landscaping that benefits wildlife, contact your local chapter of the Audubon Society. Enjoy!

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