En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
3 ratings

Thursday - September 10, 2009

From: Greenfield, WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Unproductive Blackberries in Greenfield, Wisconsin
Answered by: Janice Kvale

QUESTION:

dI planted 3 Blackberry bushes and 4 Red Raspberry bushes 4 years ago. This would be the 3rd year for productivity. My Raspberry bushes are dual bearing and started producing fall of the same year we planted them. However, my Blackberry plants are growing like weeds but no productivity as of yet. When I bought the bushes the instructions did say that it would be in the third growing season that we should see the first crop of berries. We are now in our fourth growing season. Nothing yet. Can you tell me if there is anything I may do to get them to start producing.

ANSWER:

Rubus idaeus (American red raspberry) and Rubus canadensis (smooth blackberry) produce biennially,  growing primocanes one year, which become the berry producing floricanes the next year. The floricanes die and need removing after they have fruited. The primocanes, which will bear fruit the following year, emerge from the base or roots of the old canes.

Though wild hedgerow blackberries are quite adapted to the locations they select to spread themselves, you undoubtedly have one of the many commercial cultivars. Such plants prefer an area with good ventilation, full sun, and well drained, rich loam with a pH between 5.5 and 7. You do not indicate that your plants appear diseased or infested. In that case, three possible problems come to mind. First, you may want to check the pH of the soil to make sure it is appropriate for these plants. Second, some blossoming and fruiting species may produce luxiurous green growth and no fruit when they have too much fertility, particularly nitrogen. If you are fertilizing your plants, a recommended blend is 10-10-10.  Finally, consider if the winter temperatures have been too cold for the plants. Perhaps some winter protection is in order. 

There are other resources that are appropriate for you to check out. Consider contacting the supplier of your blackberry plants who may be aware of specific requirements for the cultivar you purchased. A local source of information for you is your Sauk County Extension Office. The agents there are knowledgeable about local conditions. Finally, the Essential Gardening Guide site suggests a plethora of potential problems in raising blackberries. Good luck in resolving this problem with unproductive blackberries!


Rubus idaeus ssp. strigosus

Rubus canadensis

 

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Yaupon hollies dying mysteriously
July 16, 2014 - I have a row of yaupon hollies (Ilex vomitoria) that I keep trimmed like a hedge. They were all healthy for many years. Two years ago one of them died and I removed it, leaving a gap in the line of h...
view the full question and answer

Trees & shrubs, low water, no maintenance, disease & pest resistant
May 04, 2013 - We need few Trees and shrubs to meet the following needs: - Low Water or best with a taproot for Ground Water - Clay Soil in Steep Slopes (25-40 degrees) - Low or No Maintenance. (hillside, no trim...
view the full question and answer

Low maintenance replacement garden in Ashburn , VA
April 30, 2009 - We live in Ashburn, VA (Northern VA). Our house is 10 years old and the contractor grade plants have died. We are planning on digging everything up and re-doing the landscaping in our front yard - r...
view the full question and answer

Privacy Screening Plant for New York Narrow Site
April 20, 2013 - I need privacy screening on the side of my house in Mount Kisco, New York located 40 miles north of New York City. The area gets plenty of sun but is somewhat narrow. What evergreen bushes or trees ...
view the full question and answer

Trees and shrubs for adobe soil in Penngrove CA
June 19, 2010 - Hi, I'd like to find a list of trees that are native, drought tolerant and suitable to the adobe soil in Penngrove. We will be landscaping a bare .5 acre parcel starting later this fall. Another fea...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center