Caring For Rasberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Grapes - Knowledgebase Question

Newtown, PA
Avatar for lisa46
Question by lisa46
October 13, 2000
I moved mid-summer and the property has rasberries, blackberries, blueberries and grapes. The last owner neglected them and they are now growing in the middle of weeds and wild roses. The berries I could get to were delicious. I can't even get to the grapes.

Someone suggested I pull all the bushes and start over. I feel that would be wasteful and close to impossible. After reading through other questions you've answered, I'm wondering if I can mow these down this fall, and keep on top of the weeds in the spring. Will the berries come back? Also, I don't know a thing about grapes. How could I handle these?

Thanks for your help. (My first "job" was selling Burpee seeds for extra money when I was a child. Now I'm an adult in a different sales profession and Burpee is there for me again. Thanks.

Answer from NGA
October 13, 2000
To some extent your results will depend on the varieties that were originally planted and how healthy the plants are at this point. You might want to run some basic soil tests and find out what specific amendments or nutrients may be lacking so you can add them as needed in the coming year.

Blueberries are long lived but require an acid soil that is kept evenly moist; pruning is usually done only to maintain air and light flow through the bush. You might need to use netting or other protection in order to save the berries from the birds. If you can weed during the winter and apply a layer of mulch, that should help. You might also run some basic soil tests to see if you need to adjust the pH.

Grapes should be pruned in late winter, with the pruning being very severe. They should respond well to that routine treatment. Here are instructions on grape pruning, including rejuvenation:

Be sure to clean up and remove any grape leaves and vines and trimmings -- this is very important aspect of disease control in grapes. You might also contact your county extension to find out what the suggested spray regime is in your local area for grapes.

Raspberries and blackberries require correct annual pruning for best results. They should also be kept weeded. Again, weeding and mulching to prevent regrowth should help.

Here are basic bramble care recommendations, including pruning instructions:

Wild roses and multiflora roses can be very difficult to eradicate and the process often requires the use of an herbicide containing glyphosate. This can be used on the cut stems as described in label instructions for brush control. Be sure to use the correct formulation and follow all the label instructions carefully.

Good luck with your harvest!

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