winter care of berry plants - Knowledgebase Question

Fremont, ca
Question by ddutina
December 1, 2006
I have some blueberries and rasberries that I planted last spring. What should I be doing to get them ready for the winter and next growing season. I live in the SF BAy area?-- drag Dutina


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Answer from NGA
December 1, 2006

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Your blueberries won't need any special care to get through the winter. They are hardy in your region and will begin to grow as soon as the weather warms up in spring. Your raspberries will need to be trained and pruned, but not at this time. Simply spread an organic mulch over the root area to prepare them for winter.

The root system of raspberries is perennial, but each shoot is biennial. Each shoot only survives for 2 years. During the first year a shoot reaches its maximum height (and is called a "cane"). In the second year, it produces fruit and dies soon afterwards. Shoots may arise from 2 places ? from buds at the base of the old canes and from buds on roots. Red raspberries produce shoots or "suckers" from both places and will usually fill in a row very quickly. Purple and black raspberries do not produce suckers, so shoots occur in groups or "hills" instead of being scattered throughout the row.

You prune after harvest. Fruiting canes die when harvest is completed. Cut out and destroy them; this prevents serious disease buildup since the sources of infection have been removed. Remove small and/or weak canes as well.

In spring, after the danger of winterkill is past, further pruning is needed to remove weak canes and dead tips of canes.

Best wishes with your edible landscape!

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