Can I save my old blackberry briar?

I have had a blackberry briar growing out of a one foot square hole the corner my patio for nearly 30 years - I believe it is Bedfordshire Giant. It has cropped well and reliably. When I first planted it, it would put up two new stems each spring - in November I would cut the previous years stems that had fruited right down to the ground, and tie in the new ones as replacements. This worked fine for many years - but in recent years it has started only putting up one new shoot. This year, although the one stem from last year fruited well and seems healthy, it has put up no replacement shoot at all. I've just cut this years stem back to a few side branches that still have leaves in the hope that it will put up a new shoot next spring - but I'm wondering if, after 28 years of service it has simply given up. :( Is there anything else I can do to maximise its chances of recovery?
--
Steve Kind


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Steve Kind wrote:

what has changed in recent years?
i'm wondering if you've been cutting the canes back too early if the season has gradually extended...
have you fertilized at all in this time?
have you cleaned the patio? gotten a new roof? changed water sources? gotten more shade? etc...
songbird
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what has changed in recent years?
i'm wondering if you've been cutting the canes back too early if the season has gradually extended...
have you fertilized at all in this time?
have you cleaned the patio? gotten a new roof? changed water sources? gotten more shade? etc...
songbird
I think you may have hit the nail on the head Songbird - about three years ago we had the patio re-laid as the roots of a silver birch had made it badly uneven. The contractor knew not to damage the roots of the tree (we had the whole area raised 3 inches on cement dabs) but unfortunately, his assistant ripped out a long run of blackberry root before he could stop him :( I rested the briar for a year after that and hoped it had recovered as it grew it's usual single stem for the next two years.
I have never fertilised it other than to occasionally mulch the one foot square it emerges from with comfrey leaves.
S.
--
Steve Kind


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Steve Kind wrote: ...

ah, sorry, that is almost impossible to know from here how much damage was done, or how the patio was constructed (even if the roots were alive and intact). that it is showing a decline isn't a good sign, but after dying back to some point the plant may recover and regain what it was before or if the patio was constructed in some manner to limit growth it may only reach a certain limit and stay there.
it is too late in the season to fertilize it but next spring when it starts to grow give the plant a feed of some decent organic material with more P and K than N. not too heavy a feeding, but some to help it along. then see what happens.
if the whole plant dies i would be curious if you eventually will get fungi pushing up through the patio. in retrospect it likely would have been better to remove the roots and start over with a chunk of the original plant so that it could get re-established again under the new conditions.
songbird
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Thanks Songbird - If it puts up a new shoot in the spring I will do just as you say. If not, I guess it will be time to replace it.
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Steve Kind


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