Thursday, Oct 18, 2018
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Amy Stone

Treat dad to some backyard brambles


Instead of a new tie or golf clubs for Father's Day, give dad a gift on Sunday that will keep on giving - a cane.

Not a walking cane, but a raspberry cane. Help him get some raspberries growing in his yard and he will be supplying cobbler ingredients for years to come.

Brambles - the most popular are raspberries and blackberries - come in a variety of colors: red, black, purple, and yellow.

Growing them in a long group can create a tasty hedge. If you don't have a lot of space, grow them on a trellis.

Ohio State University scientists say black raspberries are most popular in the Buckeye State and red raspberries are next. Red will ripen first, then black, purple, and yellow.

Brambles are categorized by fruiting habits and color. Some produce a big crop once a year, and another will produce one big crop and one small crop in a season. Summer-bearing raspberries have only one crop of fruit on a cane that is two years old. Everbearing raspberries produce two crops of fruit each year, a smaller one in the summer and a larger one in the fall.

Red raspberries have fewer disease problems, but a sour taste. They can be planted in the spring and will yield berries for fresh cobbler in the fall. They spread from the roots, forming new shoots around the base of the plant. Red raspberries can handle cold temperatures better than other varieties and have larger berries.

Black raspberries have a sweeter taste but more problems with diseases such as anthracnose. Black and purple raspberries can multiply by sticking a cane in the ground to form roots. Black raspberries need more protection in the winter and have smaller, seedier fruit. But they are sweeter and more aromatic.

Purple raspberries are hybrids of red and black and take after black raspberries while growing in the garden. Yellow raspberries follow the red raspberries with large berries and hardiness.

Best time to plant them is in March or April and they will usually take about a year to settle in before producing buckets of berries. After planting them, cut the red and yellow raspberries to about a foot above ground. Black and purple raspberries should be cut to the ground.

OSU recommends planting black summer-bearing cultivars such as Allen, Black Hawk, Haut, and Bristol. Allen produces the biggest fruit. Bristol is the most popular cultivar in Ohio, with large fruit and hardy canes.

Look for Latham, Newburg, Reveille, and Sentry for reliable varieties of summer-bearing red raspberries.

Liberty produces medium berries that have a good flavor and good freezing quality.

Purple summer-bearing cultivars such as Brandywine and Royalty produce large fruit with vigorous canes. Brandywine is more tart, according to OSU.

Most everbearing brambles are red and yellow. OSU recommends Heritage and Redwing for high yielding red cultivars. Heritage has a firmer fruit that is better for freezing. Redwing is a large soft berry that is great for jam and jelly. Fall Gold is at the top of OSU's list for yellow everbearing raspberries. It has a medium size soft fruit with excellent flavor.

Timing is important when pruning raspberries. Summer red raspberries get pruned in the spring and after their first harvest. Everbearing red raspberries can also be pruned two times and produce a second round of fruit. Heritage can be mowed to the ground in early spring, but you will sacrifice one crop of berries for this simple pruning procedure.

Black and purple raspberries are pruned three times a year: in spring, summer, and after harvest.

Next year, you will have to buy Dad a new pruner for Father's Day.

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