There is a big stand of wild black raspberries in a clearing behind our new
home. Only a very few have fruit and it is tiny.
What would be the best way to get them to bear next year? I'm assuming I
should cut back the canes at the end of the year. Is there anything else
that would help?
Also, is there any way to encourage larger fruit or is the smallness because
they are wild.
BTW, these really are black raspberries, which leave the core on the plant
when picked, not blackberries which come away with the core.
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I have some of those but we call them black caps. Mine are in my yard
near a climbing rose so they get summer water that they wouldn't
otherwise and there are many berries and they are bigger than the
would normally be.
The tiny ones are tasty, too. Just takes more of them.
I'm going to guess nutrition is the best thing you can do for
next year's crop, and I'm not an expert in that area. New canes
(first year growth) will not bloom. Second year growth and beyond
is where fruit happens. Which does not mean you should not cut
them back occaisionally, as they get tangled and too heavy to support
themselves. I suppose you could extend the useful size by training
them to an arbor or trellis. Around here, we have a disease (rust)
that kills off the old plants after several years, so they tend to
Genetics and nutrition are both factors, assuming you are getting
full pollination. Selective breeding takes years, and I haven't
researched what kind of soil the things like, but I have noticed
they like direct sunlight at least part of the day, and this year's
extra rain has made mine go nuts.
My simple-minded method for several years has been to pick the best
looking berries and throw some in likely-looking places to start new
plants, while mowing off anything scraggly or in the way. When
picking, I grab a tupperware bowl and start at one end of the woods
and work my way through. On the way back, I alternate between eating
and scattering. Eat one, throw one, eat one, throw one...
Most years, I have gotten a couple handfuls or maybe a hatful, but
this year my labors are starting to pay off. I've had to break out
a bigger bowl for gathering, I've frozen 4 quarts and have several
more in the 'fridge and still picking and eating. Need rain, they're
starting to taper off...
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