Fruity, tasty and healthy – berries are among the most commonly cultivated plants in domestic gardens. There is a large selection of berry bushes, some of which can also be cultivated by beginners; In addition to the classic currants, gooseberries and raspberries, varieties such as blueberries, lingonberries and blackberries are now also being grown. With optimal care of the shrubs, a rich yield can be expected; Enjoyed pure or processed into jelly and juices, plant lovers can enjoy their own berries in the garden for a long time.

Diversity of varieties – overview

Gooseberries are particularly popular in home gardens . The shrub grows bushy and slightly sparse and can reach a height of up to 1.5 m depending on how it is trained. The flat-rooted tree presents gnarled branches, which are often provided with spikes. The berries, which are green, yellow or red in colour, are surrounded by a tough skin covered with down, short bristles or hoarfrost. Gooseberries are often cultivated as free-growing bushes or as golden currants (Ribes aureum) and as tall stems (jostaberries).

In the case of currants , a basic distinction is made between black (Ribes nigrum), red and white (Ribes rubrum) types, with the black variants having the highest vitamin C content. The small spherical berries of the flat-rooted shrub taste sweet to sour (red and white varieties) to tart (black varieties).

The fruits of the blueberry (Vaccinum) also taste slightly tart. In domestic gardens, the cultivar Vaccinum corymbosum, which is derived from the North American bush blueberry, is mainly cultivated, but it is not as rich in vitamins as the native wild species. The first significant yield is achieved after four years.

In contrast, the fruits of the raspberry bush (Rubus idaeus) are characterized by their very sweet taste. The subshrub with its long prickly branches offers conical or rounded aggregate fruits of pink, red or yellow colour. The blackberry (Rubus fruticosus) is also characterized by its sweet taste; however, the berries also offer a sour nuance.

Site requirements and soil

It is obvious: every berry bush is different. This also applies to the location requirements and the right soil. However, there are certain requirements that are the same for all types of berries. Locations should always be chosen that offer sufficient sun, air and light. It has also proven useful to protect the shrubs from strong winds and early bloomers from frost. The substrate used for the berry bushes should always be humus-rich and deep. Very heavy or loamy soils, on the other hand, are less well tolerated by most berry fruit bushes, as these can lead to rapid aging. It has also proven useful to mix some compost under the substrate; this promotes the growth process and at the same time the health of the shrub.

Optimal care of the shrubs

Berry bushes must be watered regularly during the growth phase, but waterlogging must be avoided at all costs. Long dry periods, on the other hand, delay flowering induction. – A less lush fruiting can be the result.

Berry bushes are fertilized twice a year – in autumn and spring. In order to estimate the right time for this, one should observe the fruit formation; as soon as the first berries can be seen, fertilization can begin. Certain aspects have to be considered when fertilizing:

  • Amount: 50g complete fertilizer per square meter
  • Fertilizer is put in small holes around the bush
  • Natural fertilization: compost, rotted manure, horn shavings, nettle manure
  • Mulching is also necessary for older and sensitive shrubs; bark humus is best

Varieties that are sensitive to frost are protected with reed mats for the best winter storage of the berry bushes. In the case of more climbing varieties, such as the blackberry, the long shoots can be detached from the framework in autumn and laid on the ground to cover.

Planting and propagation of shrubs

Most soft fruit shrubs are planted in late autumn between September and October; with container goods, cultivation is possible all year round. Before starting sowing, the earth is well dug up. Nutrients, fertilizer and sand are then added to the plant holes. Before the shrubs can be used, the roots must be covered with mud. They are then placed in the plant hole and covered well with soil. The bush is thoroughly watered.

Blackberries are preferably planted in spring and planted so deep that the buds on the root neck are below the ground. After planting, the rods are shortened to a length of 40 cm. The bramble bush can also be planted on fences with wires stretched across them; here the distance between the individual specimens is between 2.5m and 3.5m.

Blueberry bushes are also planted in spring. Alternatively, however, the cultivation can also take place in autumn. The shrub is placed about 10cm deeper into the ground than the young plants were before, with the distance between the individual specimens being about 2m. When planting raspberries, you can follow the same conditions that apply to blueberries. The basal shoots are planted 5cm deep in the ground and the main shoot is shortened to 30cm. Finally, all side shoots are removed.

If many berry bushes are planted in spring, late autumn is the right time of year to cultivate currants. The shrubs are planted so deep that the bottom shoots are just covered with soil. Standard stems go just as deep into the ground as they were before. Unlike currants, gooseberries are not planted lower than they were in the nursery. The crop is best planted in autumn or spring before it buds, with plants spaced one to two meters apart.

Berry bushes are very easy to propagate. There are usually different options available for this:

  • Propagation by layering and cuttings in blackberries, blueberries and gooseberries
  • Blueberries can also be propagated with sticks
  • Gooseberries can also be propagated as tall stems by grafting
  • Raspberries are propagated by stolons that crawl underground and soon sprout again
  • Currants are propagated by sticks; Standard stems are grafted

Carry out the maintenance cut correctly – this is how it works

Regular pruning is important for all berry bushes. Gooseberry bushes and currant bushes should always have two four-year-old, three-year-old, two-year-old and one-year-old shoots each.

Tip: You can tell the age of the shoots by the color of the bark. The rule of thumb is: the darker, the older.

The side shoots of these eight leaders need sufficient air and light; Therefore, these should be arranged loosely around the main shoot, and superfluous side shoots should be cut off accordingly.

March is the ideal time for pruning a currant bush. During this time, the plant presents itself as a leafless shrub, so that the growth can be seen particularly clearly. In order to be able to carry out the pruning in a targeted manner, it must be noted that with red and white varieties the berries form on two- or three-year-old wood, while with black varieties one-year-old shoots are also possible. The young canes, of which red and white varieties can form up to 40 pieces a year, are the main target of the pruning measures; of these, the five strongest specimens are left standing while the remaining canes are cut off. The canes chosen should be evenly distributed throughout the shrub. Even very weak or flat-growing specimens are eliminated. In addition, branches whose fruit quality has declined; if you shorten these close to the base, budding and yield are encouraged.

The pruning of the gooseberry can be designed in a similar way to that of the currant. During the annual pruning of the berries, branches that are more than five years old are removed. These branches are especially dark in color. All bottom shoots except for four particularly strong new shoots are removed, as are twigs that grow inward. After an optimal pruning, the bush has between eight and twelve shoots, which should not have exceeded the age of four years. The greatest fruit yield is to be expected on one to three year old shoots that come off older main shoots. As with the gooseberries, pruning can take place in March. For varieties that are not resistant to powdery mildew, it has proven useful to also cut off the tips of all shoots,

For blackberries, on the other hand, slightly different pruning rules apply:

  • Maintenance trimming required once a year in spring
  • The fruit canes that are worn out in winter are removed at ground level
  • Shorten the side shoots of the young canes (green and juicy color) to two eyes
  • Incision is made one centimeter above the eyes
  • Four strong shoots are sufficient for a full yield

Raspberries are usually sold in containers and are not cut back after planting. Otherwise, in the case of varieties that bear fruit in the autumn, all the fruit canes that have been worn off are cut off at the bottom. Worn canes of summer raspberries should also be removed immediately after harvest. Then a part of the young canes is thinned out. Strong rods should be selected at intervals of ten centimeters, which should bear fruit in the following year. All rods that are between the selected specimens are removed. In order for the fruits to grow particularly large, it has also proven useful to shorten the tips of the young canes in March to the height of the trellis.

Blueberries should also be cut back annually. The pruning takes place in late winter, whereby worn, three to four year old wood as well as thin side shoots that are too close together have to be removed. After the cut, up to eight main branches should remain. If necessary, a radical pruning can also be carried out, which leads to a rejuvenation of the plant. The shrub is shortened to a height of about 20cm.

diseases and pests

Berry bushes are attacked by various diseases and pests, which are usually very specific. One of the most common diseases affecting blackberries is Gnominia bark disease, which manifests itself as brown to silver spots on the bark and can be treated by carefully cutting back the affected areas.

Raspberries often suffer from cane disease; the disease, caused by several fungi, is manifested by white-gray spots on the bark of young shoots. As the disease progresses, the rods become brittle and die. So that the bushes are not infested, optimal soil conditions and the introduction of horsetail broth are effective.

If, on the other hand, the currant bush becomes ill, the leaves are often affected. If the plant is affected by leaf fall disease, for example, black spots can be found on the leaves before they curl up and finally fall off. A targeted fungicide can help here. Powdery mildew is also best combated with a fungicide; this disease, which is noticeable by a white coating, affects mainly gooseberry bushes.

In addition to certain diseases, the plants are also attacked by pests:

  • Gooseberries: gooseberry wasp (leaves with holes and defoliation); Soft soap solution helps
  • Gooseberries: gooseberry moth (feeding damage, webs with pupating caterpillars); Neem preparations or beneficial insects can help
  • Currant: Currant blister or shoot aphid (twisted shoots, arching leaves); Control: Sprout spraying with an oily preparation
  • Raspberries: raspberry beetle (feeding damage to buds, dirty white larvae); Control: beneficial insects such as parasitic wasps, spraying with pyrethrum preparations
  • Raspberries: raspberry rod gall midge (brown spots on the rods, rod disease as a result); Control: Promotion of natural enemies such as parasitic wasps, remove infested rods
  • Blackberries: blackberry mite (fruits do not ripen and taste sour); Control: if it occurs frequently, treat young shoots with pesticides, such as rapeseed oil

If berry bushes are planted correctly and pruned regularly, the plants are quite easy to care for. The plants are also suitable for beginners who want to grow healthy fruit in their own garden and don’t want to take up too much time for this.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *