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not be found described in detail in the descriptions of varieties.
Such varieties are considered to be not entirely desirable from
a commercial standpoint, although they may be satisfactory
for the home garden.

The information given in this list, however, should not be
regarded as infallible, although it has been compiled with the
greatest possible accuracy from the statements of the leading
blackberry growers within each division. When the planting
of any particular plot of ground is considered the experiences
of local growers and the recommendations of the local agri-
cultural experiment station should receive careful consider-
ation.

Division 1: Agawam, Snyder, Taylor (Taylor's Prolific).

Division 2: Agawaniy Allen, Blowers, Briton (Ancient Briton),
Brunton, Early Harvest, Eldorado, Erie, King (Early King),
Kittatinny, Lawi;on, Minnewaska, Rathbun, Snyder, Stone
(Stone's Hardy), Taylor, Wachusett, Wilson.

Division 3: Briton, Early Harvest, Eldorado, Erie, Kitta-
tinny, Lawton, Minnewaska, Snyder, Taylor, Wilson.

Division 4: Early Harvest, Kittatinny, Lawton, Minnewaska,
Snyder, Stone, Taylor, Wilson.

Division 5: Dallas, Early Harvest, Erie, Kittatinny, Snyder,
Stone.

Division 7: Dallas, Early Harvest, Erie, Kittatinny.

Division 8: Blowers, Briton, Early Harvest, Eldorado, Erte,
King, Lawton, Mercereau, Snyder, Taylor, Wachusett.

Division 9: Briton, Eldorado, Snyder.

Dimsion 10: Briton, Early Harvest, Eldorado, Erie, Kitta-
tinny, Lawton, Mercereau, Minnewaska, Snyder, Wilson.



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§ 18 BLACKBERRIES AND DEWBERRIES 11

Division 12: Acme, Briton, Early Harvest, Erie, Kittatinny,
Lawton, Minnewaska, Stone, Wilson.

Division H: Early Harvest, Eldorado, £m, Kittatinny,
Lawton, Logan (the Loganberry, a blackberry-raspberry
hybrid), Snyder, Wilson.

Division 16: Himalaya, Kittatinny, Lawton, Logan, Mam-
moth, Snyder, Stone.

Division 16: Crandall (Crandall's Early), Gardenia, Lawton,
Logan, Mammoth, Phenomenal.

Division 17: Crandall, Early Harvest, Evergreen, Kitta-
tinny, Logan, Mammoth,

Division 18: Crandall, Kittatinny, Lawton, Logan, Mammoth.

8. Commercial Varieties of Blackberries. — ^The selec-
tion of varieties of blackberries is necessarily a local problem,
but the aim should be, as far as possible, to select varieties
that are in demand in the markets. After a canvass of forty-
two commission merchants in the principal markets of the
cotmtry Professor Charles S. Wilson, of the Cornell Depart-
ment of Pomology, found that the following varieties were con-
sidered the most important in the markets: Wilson, Lucretia
(a dewberry), Lawton, and Snyder. A survey of Monroe
Cotmty, New York, showed that the varieties most exten-
sively planted were Lawton, Erie, and Kittatinny. The names
of varieties, however, are sometimes confusing, since they are
known in the markets by names different from those com-
monly given to them by growers.



SELECTION OF NURSERY STOCK

9. Proimgatlon of Blackberries. — The blackberry is
propagated by means of suckers and root cuttings. The
suckers grow up naturally from the roots and are most used in
commercial propagation. Suckers may also be induced to grow
in great abtmdance by injuring the roots, such as is often done
during cultivation. Blackberry suckers often become bother-
some because they grow with considerable vigor and are not
as easy to cut out as raspberry suckers.



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12



BLACKBERRIES AND DEWBERRIES §18



Blackberry root cuttings consist of short pieces of roots
about 2 or 3 inches long and about the thickness of a lead
pencil, or about f inch. These are often made in the fall
and carried over the winter in moist sand; such cuttings may
be started into growth under glass early in the spring, and
later transplanted in niu-sery rows about 3 inches deep, or they
may be planted out in nursery rows without the preliminar}'
forcing. Root cuttings may also be made in the spring and



I



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K)
9

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■ I



planted directly in the nursery row. Nursery plants produced
in any of these ways will be ready for setting in a permanent
plantation after one season's growth. They are dug for trans-
planting both in the fall, about October 1, and in the spring.
With a blackberry plantation of a suitable kind once fairly
started there should be little difficulty in propagatmg enough
plants to extend it as desired. If enough suckers do not grow



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§18



BLACKBERRIES AND DEWBERRIES



13



naturally, it is only necessary to thrust a spade down into the
ground deep enough to wound some roots and 1 or 2 feet away
from the row to induce the growth of an abimdance of suckers.
These suckers may, if desired, be taken up in the fall, packed
in moist sand or sawdust, and stored in a cool cellar; or, better,
they may be left in the groimd imtil spring, when they should
be transplanted directly to the place of setting.

New varieties of blackberries are constantly being brought
out. They are produced mostly by selection and crossing,
and a certain number of them prove to be desirable. Some
growers set aside a small section of ground for the testing of
new varieties, and by planting a small
number of bushes of each new variety as
it is brought out they are able to judge
for themselves of its merits imder their
own particular conditions of soil and
climate. For the person who is in the
commercial production of blackberries,
etc. this is the best policy to follow.

10. Selection of Nursery Plaxits.

Strong 1-year-old suckers are the best
blackberry nursery plants for setting in a
commercial plantation. Such plants may I
be obtained for about $12 per 1,000.
Specimens of first-grade blackberry niu*- f»c. 7

sery plants are shown in Fig. 6. In (a) is shown a strong desir-
able type of 1-year-old sucker. The plants shown in (6) and (c)
are good but are less desirable than that shown in (a). The
quantity of fibrous roots on a blackberry nursery plant is an
important indication of its ability to make a thrifty growth.
In Fig. 7 are shown two tmdesirable blackberry nursery plants.
These have very few roots and could not be coimted on to
produce vigorous plants. These plants are noticeably deficient
in cross-roots, the one in (a) having only a short cross-root
and the one in (b) having none at all. Many well-grown
nursery plants are greatly injiu'ed by the breaking off of the
cross-roots through carelessness in digging.



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14 BLACKBERRIES AND DEWBERRIES § 18

The scale in Figs. 6 and 7 is graduated in inches and is iised
to give a good idea of the size of the nursery plants. The same
scale is used in Figs. 11 and 12.



PLANTING OP BLACKBERRIES

11, The best time to plant blackberries is in the spring,
because blackberry bushes planted in the fall are often injured
by low temperature during the winter. If blackberry bushes
are planted in the fall, each bush should be covered with a
mulch of earth or of strawy manure. This mulch should be
removed in the spring before growth starts.

Blackberry bushes are usually planted about the same
distances apart as black raspberries, that is, in rows 7 feet
apart and the bushes spaced 2^ feet apart in the rows; at these
distances about 2,489 plants will be set per acre. Many
successful growers, however, claim that blackberries should
have more space and that the rows should not be less than
8 feet apart with the plants spaced 3 feet apart in the rows.
At these distances there will be about 1,815 plants per acre.
The recommendation is sometimes made that the bushes be
spaced 4 feet apart in the rows, allowing 1,361 plants per acre,
in order to permit of cultivation in two directions across the
field for 1 or 2 years after planting. Where this is possible the
weeds may be kept down well, but cross-cultivation of black-
berries set 4 feet apart is unpleasant work. Some blackberry
growers claim that they obtain the best results from planting
their bushes in check-rows from 7 to 8 feet apart each way,
but most commercial growers would consider such planting a
waste of space, as this would allow but from 680 to 888 bushes
per acre.

When blackberry bushes are planted in their permanent
places in the plantation they should be set 1 or 2 inches deeper
in the ground than they stood in the nursery row.

Just before the bushes are set some pruning is necessary.
All broken roots should be cut off smooth and the top cane
should be cut back to one or two buds. This cane is not



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§ 18 BLACKBERRIES AND DEWBERRIES 15

expected to make much growth, but the bud at the crown
should develop a good cane. Care should be taken to see
that this bud looks to be strong and capable of throwing up a
vigorous cane. In the ntu-sery, plants with weak-looking buds
should be discarded.

A convenient method of planting blackberries is to open up
deep furrows with a plow from 7 to 8 feet apart across the field
one way, according to the distance the rows are to be spaced.
Light cross-marks may then be made every 2 J, 3, or 4 feet, as
the case may be, with some Ught marking device. In soil that
has been well plowed and harrowed and where only a small
ntunber of plants are to be set, the planting may be done
quickly by marking the ground slightly in two directions with
a marker and opening up the holes if the plants are to be set
with a spade.

When planting blackberries, as well as all other brambles,
care should be taken to see that the roots of the yotmg plants
are not exposed to the wind and sun long enough for them to
dry out. If the yotmg plants are being dug from an old
plantation they should be immediately taken to their new
rows and planted without delay. Wet burlap should be kept
wrapped aroimd the roots imtil the bushes are finally in the
ground. If the nursery plants are secured from a nurseryman
and the roots are dry when they arrive, it is a good plan to
soak the roots in a thin mud. When the roots are properly
moistened, and arrangements are not completed for setting
them, they should be heeled-in deep enough so that from 2 to
4 inches of the cane is btuied in the groimd ; the tops are best
turned toward the south and the soil should be firmly packed
arotmd the roots when the trench is filled in; the soil should
also be firmly packed about the roots when the plants are set
in the rows. So handled, the plants may be kept for a con-
siderable time without injury. Such precautions may seem
trivial to an inexperienced person, but the cost is very little
and the work will count much toward the securing of a full
stand in the rows.



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10 BLACKBERRIES AND DEWBERRIES § 18

BLACKBERRY-PLANTATION CULTURE

12. Cultivation and Mulclilng of Blackberries. — As

plenty of water is essential to the successful development of a
crop of blackberries, cultivation should be conducted with
a view to saving all the water possible for the use of the
bushes. For this reason it must be thorough and frequent,
but should be shallow, because deep cultivation will injure the
roots and stimulate the development of an excessive nimiber
of suckers at the expense of the fruit. The cultivation of
the newly-set blackberry plantation should, however, be deep
for the first year in order to force the bushes to send their
roots deep into the soil.

The value of thorough cultivation for blackberries, especially
while the bushes are yoimg, in order to give them a good start,
can hardly be overemphasized. Intensive cultivation has been
known to increase a crop of blackberries nearly 40 per cent.
Clean, systematic cultivation should be practiced throughout
the life of the patch, because any relaxation in this matter is
liable to injure the bushes at a critical time. Cover crops are
not desirable in a blackberry plantation, principally because the
operation of plowing or deep disking in the spring, necessary
to turn the cover crop under, injures the blackberry roots
and stimulates an excessive growth of suckers.

Because blackberries do not ripen until later in the season
than most fruits, cultivation will have to be continued late,
usually until the fruit is nearly ready for picking. Cultiva-
tion should also be given after the fruit is harvested and the
old canes cut out, but should not be continued so late in the
fall that the young growth will be kept soft and susceptible
to being wdnter killed.

The greatest difficulty in the culture of the blackberry is to
conserve sufficient moisture at the fruit-ripening period, which
comes during the latter part of July or in the early part of
August, at a season when drought is most common and the loss
of moisture from the soil is most rapid. Unless the bushes can
have plenty of moisture at this time they will not be able
properly to mature their fruit.



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§ 18 BLACKBERRIES AND DEWBERRIES 17

At this season the mulch method of culture proves particularly
valuable, as it will conserve the moisture in the soil without the
necessity for frequent horse cultivation; the driving of horse-
drawn cultivators through the rows at this time is likely to
knock off considerable fruit. If the mulch that was put on
early in the season is found to be insufficient, an addition at
this time would be well worth while. In fact, in small black-
berry patches it may be advisable to substitute a mulch for
cultivation; this may also be an economical practice on some
large commercial plantation where mulching material may be
secured at a low price. Meadow hay or some kind of cheap
straw is a suitable material for a mulch. To be effective, a
mulch must be from 3 to 5 inches deep. Such a covering of the
soil will check weed growth and keep the soil damp. If this
method of mulching is once adopted on a blackberry plantation
it must be kept up, because the root systems of the bushes,
imder such conditions, will develop very largely near the sur-
face of the groimd, and cultivation after 1 or 2 years of mulching
would greatly injure the bushes.

Some commercial growers have found that good results are
produced by mulching blackberries with green clover in the
rows and cultivating between the rows.

The extermination of a blackberry plantation after it has
outlived its period of profitable bearing is usually difficult,
on account of the vigorous and persistent growth of the canes.
A good practice is to mow down and bum all canes imme-
diately after the last crop is picked, and then plow and turn
the roots under as deeply as possible. A thorough harrowing
should then be given, and in most cases it is preferable to use
for this purpose a cultivator with knife-like sweeps that will
cut off any protruding suckers. The plantation should be
replowed 2 months later. If all the work of extermination has
been thoroughly done, this second plowing may be sufficient
completely to subdue the blackberry bushes, but in some cases
further plowing and harrowing must be done.

13. Pruning of Blackberries. — The pruning of the
blackberry should receive special attention. The work is



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18 BLACKBERRIES AND DEWBERRIES § 18

not difficult and in many respects is similar to the pruning of
raspberries; nevertheless, it must be properly done, because
the success of a crop depends to a great extent on the character
of the pruning.

The blackberry resembles the red raspberry in its habit of
growth. The canes are biennial and the roots are perennial.



.*5tf



Pig. 8



The new wood springs up from the roots as suckers and bears
fruit the second season, d>4ng at the end of that season. The
pruning of the blackberry, however, is more like that of the
black raspberry, the summer-pruning being practically the same.



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§ 18 BLACKBERRIES AND DEWBERRIES 19

The first year, the young canes are allowed to grow until
they are from 18 to 24 inches high, when their tips are pinched
off at a point a, Fig. 8 (a), and all except three or four of the
most vigorous canes are cut out of each hill. The height at
which the young canes are pinched off varies according to the
vigor of the variety, the young canes of the more vigorous
varieties being allowed to grow to a height of about 2 feet.
This pinching off of the tips of the young canes at a height
of 18 to 24 inches is done to induce early branching, which
will produce a stocky bush with well-developed side branches
capable of producing and supporting a heavy crop of fruit.
The growth induced by this practice is shown in (6), which
shows a plant at the end of the simimer*s growth. The pinch-
ing off of the yoimg canes at the height mentioned, 2 feet or
less, is particularly important, because the most vigorous buds
will always be found near the tips of the canes. If the young
canes are allowed to grow too high, say to a height of 4 or
5 feet, and are then cut back to a height of 2 feet, the buds
below this point will be weak, the side branches will not form
so readily, their growth will be poor, the bush will be low, and
the yield of fruit will be light. Usually, a patch will have to
be gone over several times early in the season in order to get
the young canes pinched off at the proper height.

Late in the winter or early the next spring after planting,
the 1-year-old canes should be pnmed much the same as 1-year-
old black raspberry canes are pnmed. The side branches,
or laterals, on these canes, which should be well developed,
are usually cut back to a length of from 12 to 18 inches; but
this pruning requires experience, because varieties vary in their
habit of bearing fruit buds, some bearing most of their fruit
buds close to the main stem and some bearing them farther
out. Hence, it is not safe to cut the side branches of all varieties
back the same. If in doubt, wait until blossoming time before
trimming. The upper laterals should be cut a little shorter
than the lower ones so that when the pruning has been
finished each cane with its trimmed laterals will be somewhat
cone-shaped in outline. The appearance of a bush after this
pruning is shown in (c). When doing this pruning it should



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20 BLACKBERRIES AND DEWBERRIES § 18

be borne in mind that this is the method of thinning the fruit,
and that although the cutting out of a large quantity of wood
is a necessity, too much should not be removed or the >deld
of fruit will be greatly reduced.

During the second summer of growth, from five to six of
the most vigorous of the young canes in each hill should be
allowed to develop and should be pinched back at the proper
height. As soon as they have borne their crop of fruit the
three or four original canes (now considered old canes) should
be removed, taken out of the plantation at once and burned.
This will to a great extent prevent the spread of insect and
fungous troubles, and will leave room for the symmetrical
development of the new canes. The pruning out of the old
canes as soon as they have fruited is somewhat more impor-
tant in the case of the blackberry than in the case of the rasp-
berry, because of the more vigorous growth of the plant and the
consequent greater demand on the soil for water and plant food.

The third spring the laterals on the 1-year-old canes are
pruned as previously described. The plantation should be
gone over and any 2-year-old canes that were overlooked in
the pruning of the previous summer should be cut out. No
canes should be left in the rows except five or six of the most
vigorous 1-year-old canes that are expected to bear fruit dur-
ing the coming season. The pruning in subsequent years is
a repetition of that just described.

In localities where moisttire is likely to be deficient, it is
frequently advisable to modify the method of pruning just
suggested. In this case the young canes are often not trimmed
back during the stunmer, but are allowed to develop intx) long
straight canes, which are cut back in the spring to a height of
from 2| to 3 feet. In dry localities, this method of pruning
will generally provide enough fruiting wood for all the fruit
the bush will be capable of maturing.

A few blackberry growers in some parts of the countr\' train
their blackberry bushes on wires as suggested in the case of
raspberries. In such cases the yotmg shoots, or suckers, are
allowed to grow at will, are not pruned back in the spring,
and the long canes are tied to the wires for support. Black-



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§ 18 BLACKBERRIES AND DEWBERRIES 21

berries are not as convenient to pick when trained in this manner
as when grown on a stocky bush.



Fig. 9



The closely-pnined, stocky blackberry bush has another
advantage over the long, straggly kind in that it may be cov-



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22 BLACKBERRIES AND DEWBERRIES § 18

ered more easily with straw and protected against late spring
frosts when occasion reqxiires.

A vigorous full-grown blackberry bush is shown in Fig. 9.
This bush is a good type to model after. It is a trifle thick



Pic. 10

with canes but the fruit is placed where it can be readily picked.
The bush shown in Fig. 10 is thinner and illustrates more
clearly the lateral branches on which the fruit is borne.

14. Fertilization of Blackberries. — Blackberries should
be fertilized wdth due regard for the soil in which they are



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§ 18 BLACKBERRIES AND DEWBERRIES 23

growing, and too much nitrogen should not be applied to bushes
that are planted in soil that is naturally rich in this element.
As a general rule, however, blackbenies should be fertilized
about the same as other small fruits. Manure and fertilizers
rich in nitrogen should be applied the first year to stimulate a
vigorous wood growth. In later years, when the plantation is
in fruiting, the proportion of nitrogen in the fertilizer should be
decreased and the proportion of the phosphoric acid and potash
increased. An excess of nitrogen when the plants are fruiting
will favor a rank growth of wood at the expense of the fruit.
On most soils, the application of liberal quantities of potash
is advisable, though the quantities that will give the best net
results on any particular soil can be determined only by
experiment.

An increase of about one-third in the crop of fruit has been
secured by a judicious use of fertilizer.



INSECT PESTS AND INJURIES

16. Insects and Diseases. — The principal insects that
attack blackberries and dewberries are the saw fly and the
cane borer; the principal diseases are anthracnose; crown gall,
or root knot; red rust, or orange rust; and leaf spot. All of
these pests have been described and the methods of control
given in the Section on Raspberries.

In some sections of the country, at rare intervals, the canes
in a blackberry plantation will suddenly be f oimd to be cov-
ered with dark-brown soft scales. These may be so abundant
as almost to cover the entire canes. These insects suck the
sap from the plants and greatly weaken thern. In case of such
an attack, all of the unnecessary wood should be pruned out
and in the spring before growth begins a thorough spraying
given with lime-sulphur solution (at specific gravity 1.03 — ^that
is, concentrated lime-sulphur solution of 33*^ Baum6 diluted
1 to 8 with water) or with a kerosene emulsion. In most cases,
however, it will be found necessary to abandon a blackberry
plantation so attacked and to set out another on fresh, good,
rich soil.



249—29



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24 BLACKBERRIES AND DEWBERRIES § 18

16. Winter Injury. — Blackberries cannot be successfully
raised in many parts of the country without protecting them
in the winter. The amoimt of moisture present, as well as the
lowness of the temperature, has an important bearing on the
necessity for this protection; if the air and soil are dry, tmpro-
tected blackberry bushes will suffer severely during cold weather.
Though winter protection is absolutely essential to success in
some parts of the cotuitry, there are, in fact, very few sec-
tions where some such protection will not be of advantage;
in some localities where it has never been considered neces-
sary, winter protection has been known greatly to increase the
yields of fruit the following year.

The best method of protecting a blackberry bush for the
winter is in the fall to loosen the earth on both sides of the
plant, carefully bend it over in the direction of the row until



Online LibraryInternational Correspondence SchoolsPeach culture: plum culture; grape culture; strawberries; raspberries ... → online text (page 27 of 35)