Tag Archive | Blueberries

Pruning Raspberries and Blueberries


“We purchased many bare root raspberries and blueberries in the spring for our new garden…. Many of the raspberries bore fruit this fall.  I’m wondering how they should both be pruned this fall?  Please
advise…
Thanks
Jesse”

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Hi Jesse,

Thank you for the email regarding your raspberries and blueberries.

First question: do you have summer-bearing/everbearing or fall-bearing types of raspberries?

Raspberry PruningIf you have a summer-bearing and everbearing types of raspberry, you do not want to prune it in general.  The berries will be produced on canes from the previous year.  The only ones that you should think about pruning would be those that have grown up beyond the area you have designated for them, or any that are spindly or diseased.

As for fall-bearing types, you definitely want to prune them in late winter/early spring before the buds break dormancy.  Prune all canes that bore fruit last year; they won’t fruit again. These will have grayish,
peeling bark.  To force your everbearing raspberries to produce only one crop in the fall, prune back the entire raspberry bush in early spring. As the canes grow back in the summer, remove outside suckers and thin the canes to about 6 inches apart. Keep the sturdiest canes. This technique will give you a larger fall harvest and is good if you also have summer bearing raspberry bushes and you want to stagger the harvests.

As the summer goes on, you can always prune out any dead, broken or diseased canes or those that are outside your designated row area. Of course, you can prune broken, dead, diseased or infested canes at any time of the year, the sooner the better.

And one other thing:  wear thick gloves as raspberries have some serious thorns on them. And use clean, sharp tools.

As for the blueberries, spring is the best time to prune. Before domancy has broken, remove any diseased or broken wood, plus crossing branches. You want the bush to have a narrow base and a wide, open top that allows sunlight and air in.

I hope this information helps you out.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Blueberry Recommendations for NE Wisconsin


“what would be the best blueberry to grow for my family to pick and freeze for my area and also that it does not grow to big.  I live in New London, Wisconsin, and we are a Zone 4.

Ann”

You can see Ann’s question here.)

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Hi Ann,

Thanks for your question!

The varieties I recommend for folks in your area are:

–Blueray

–Chandler

–Dwarf Northblue (for garden or container)

–Dwarf Northcountry (for garden or container)

–Friendship

–Nelson

–Northland

–Patriot

–Rubel

–Top Hat (for garden or container)

 

One last note: depending on where you look online, many folks say you can’t grow (insert variety) blueberries because they have tough skins when frozen. Contrary to popular belief, tough blueberry skins are not caused by the variety, but by what you do to them prior to freezing. Blueberries *technically* are not supposed to be washed prior to freezing. However, if you are like me, you will be washing them! What I do is wash them and then lay them out on a cookie sheet to allow them to dry before bagging and popping in the freezer.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Register Now for AAS Summer Summit


Register Now For The AAS Summer Summit
Can’t make the entire meeting?
Single day options are now available!

Would you like to participate in All-America Selections’ 80th Anniversary?
Are you going to Michigan for the Michigan Garden Plant Tour?
Do you want to see some possible future AAS Winners that are currently being evaluated?

Then you should plan to attend this year’s AAS Summer Summit in order to learn more about the AAS Trialing process while networking with the AAS Board of Directors and Judges. In addition, many current AAS Winners can be seen in the AAS Display Gardens we will visit. As an added bonus, this event coincides with the dates of the Michigan Garden Plant Tour 

so you can also take part in this popular horticulture event held in the third largest horticulture production state.

We now offer a single day registration option for anyone who cannot attend the entire 2 1/2 day event.
Full registration is $350 (before July 19)
Tuesday/Wednesday registration is $180 (before July 19)
Thursday only registration is $170 (before July 19)

Registration includes all meals, tours and bus transportation. But register early as the rates increase by $100 after July 19.

We will begin our event in Lansing, Michigan with a tour of the Michigan State University Trials and Gardens then travel to C. Raker and Sons to see their extensive trials, including an AAS Display Garden.

The next day will take us to the western part of the state to visit Elzinga Greenhouses and Mast Young Plants in the Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids area. We end that day with a tour of the stunning Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park followed by our annual dinner and awards program.

As we close our meeting, you have your choice of returning home, continuing on to other trials in the Michigan Garden Plant Tour, or extending your stay in Michigan for a relaxing vacation in one of the most scenic states along Lake Michigan. August is prime time for blueberries, cherries, celery and many other horticulture crops that the state produces.

Please click here to register to attend.

Our host hotel is the beautiful Marriott in East Lansing, just steps from the MSU campus. Click here to book your hotel.

For more information, please contact the AAS Office.

 

 

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Recipe of the Week: Raspberry Fig Newtons


This recipe can also be modified with blueberries, blackberries, mulberries, or strawberries as the filling.

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 1 cup dried figs, chopped
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • zest of 1 orange

Cookie Dough:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 egg white, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour

Combine butter and sugar in mixer and beat until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).  Add egg white, zest and vanilla extract and beat until you have a smooth texture.  Scrape down sides of bowl, add flour and beat until everything is mixed together.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for two hours.

Combine figs, raspberries, water, apple juice and sugar and bring to a boil.  Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until figs are soft (make sure to stir figs occasionally so they do not scorch the bottom of pan).  When figs are done, the water/apple juice mixture will have cooked off and will be thick and sticky.  Remove from heat, place in separate bowl and cool to room temperature.  When cool, transfer to food processor or blender and blend until it resembles a smooth paste.

Take chilled dough from refrigerator and roll out onto flour-dusted work surface to a very thin rectangle (go for 16 inches long and 12 inches wide).  Spread fig filling along one length of dough and roll to other side.  Gently transfer to parchment covered baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes or until they are puffed and golden brown along the edges.  Transfer to wire rack and let cool.  When cool, cut into little squares and enjoy!!!!!

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Recipe of the Week: Triple Berry Crisp


This is a wonderful berry crisp. I’ve used a triple berry mixture of raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries, but just one works well too! Serve it with whipped cream and it looks great.
INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
4 tablespoons white sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups butter
DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl, gently toss together blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and white sugar; set aside.
3. In a separate large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press half of mixture in the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan. Cover with berries. Sprinkle remaining crumble mixture over the berries.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until fruit is bubbly and topping is golden brown. 

 

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Mulching with Pine Needles?


“If I use pine straw/needles, how do you get the leaves out of them in the fall without blowing or raking all of them away? Is there a trick to this?  I am thinking about mulching around the trees in my yard but want a way to get rid of the leaves in the fall without removing the mulch. ~M”

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Mulching trees and shrubs is a good method to reduce landscape maintenance and keep plants healthy. Mulch helps conserve moisture — 10 to 25 percent reduction in soil moisture loss from evaporation. Mulches help keep the soil well aerated by reducing soil compaction that results when raindrops hit the soil. They also reduce water runoff and soil erosion. Mulches prevent soil and possible fungi from splashing on the foliage —- thus reducing the likelihood of soil-borne diseases. They help maintain a more uniform soil temperature (warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer) and promote the growth of soil microorganisms and earth worms.

Mulches eliminate mowing around trees and shrubs and provide a physical barrier that prevents damage from lawn mowers and weed trimmers. A 2- to 4-inch layer (after settling) is adequate to prevent most weed seeds from germinating. Mulch should be applied to a weed-free soil surface. Simply covering perennial weeds such as bermudagrass or nutsedge will not prevent their growth.

The mulched area should include as much of the root zone as possible. For beds mulch the entire area. For individual plants, such as trees, the mulched area should extend at least 3 to 6 feet out from the base of the plant. It is advisable to pull the mulch 1 to 2 inches from the base of plants to prevent bark decay.

Mulch depth depends on the type of material used and the drainage and moisture holding capacity of the soil. Sandy soils dry out quickly and often benefit from a slightly deeper mulch layer (3 to 4 inches). A site that stays moist may not benefit from mulching at all.

Mulch can be applied any time of the year. However, the best time to mulch is late spring after the soil has warmed. Early spring application will delay soil warming and possibly plant growth. It is not necessary to remove the mulch when you fertilize. Apply the fertilizer over the mulch — nutrients will move with water to the roots below.

There are a number of materials that can be used for mulching, each has advantages and disadvantages.

Organic Mulch Materials
Many organic materials can be used as mulch. The material should be weed-free, non-matting, easy to apply, and readily available. Fine particle organic mulch will form a more complete soil cover than a coarse, loose material. Coarse mulch material will need to be applied thicker in order to achieve the desired benefits.

Organic mulches decompose with time, releasing small amounts of nutrients and organic matter to the soil. The layer of mulch should be renewed as needed to maintain a 2- to 4-inch depth. On previously mulched areas apply a 1-inch layer of new material. Pine straw will need to be reapplied each year while pine bark may not need to be replenished for several years.

Some of the best organic materials include pine bark nuggets, pine straw, and compost. Pine straw is aesthetically pleasing and will remain in place better than most other materials. Pine bark nuggets are longer lasting, but can be washed with a heavy rain. Note that pine bark mulch is primarily used as a soil conditioner and that pine bark nuggets are used as mulch. Bark used as mulch should contain less than 10 percent wood fiber.

Yard waste, such as grass clippings, leaves, and small twigs can be used as mulch in moderation. The back side of the shrub border or natural area is an ideal place to dispose of small pruning clippings. Ideally, these materials should be shredded or composted before applying; however, small amounts can be applied to an existing mulch.

Other organic materials that are sometimes used as mulch include wheat straw, shredded newspaper, peanut hulls, wood chips, sawdust, and partially decomposed leaves. Most of these materials are less expensive than pine straw or pine bark but have some major limitations. Any fresh, light-colored, unweathered organic mulch will tie up nitrogen during the early stages of decomposition.

Properly composted wood chips can be used as a long lasting mulch that weathers to a silver-gray color. Unfortunately, most wood chip material is sold as a fresh material rather than as a composted or aged material. The chips decompose slowly, but as they decompose, microorganisms use nutrients from the soil that might otherwise be available for plant growth.

Non-shredded leaves and grass clippings can form a thick mat that makes water penetration nearly impossible. If sawdust is used it should be well aged, otherwise it will be difficult for water to move into the soil. Uncomposted sawdust is low in nitrogen and will rob nitrogen from the soil as it decomposes.

Organic material that has been stockpiled in a large pile often goes through anaerobic (low oxygen, high moisture) decomposition and becomes very acidic — pH of about 3.0. (Properly composed organic material will have a pH between 6.0 and 7.2.) Anaerobic decomposition is often a problem with leaves or large piles of wood chips. Such materials are toxic to plants due to the byproducts of anaerobic decomposition: methane, alcohol. The mulch will have a smell of vinegar, ammonia, or sulfur. Marginal leaf chlorosis, leaf scorch, defoliation, and/or plant death may occur. Damage usually occurs within 24 hours after application.

The only problem you may encounter with using pine needles is that the soil in the area covered by the needles will lower in pH.  Pine needles are acidic, and as they decompose, the acidic components will mix into the soil.  Only use pine needles on plants that like lower pH soils, like blueberries and azaleas.

 

 

 

 

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Blueberries for Michigan


“Hello, I live in MI (zone 5). I am going to put in about a dozen high bush blueberries. I would like an equal number of early, midseason, and late berries. I will use them for eating/freezing/preserves. I would like heavier bearers with good flavor. What varieties would you recommend for each? Thanks, M.”

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Thank you for your email regarding our blueberry varieties. The ones I recommend are:

Early:

–Dwarf Northblue: low to moderate yield with medium berries. They are dark blue in color with a medium sized blossom end scar, have medium firmness, and have a fair to acidy flavor.

Mid:

–Blueray: This one is going to have a moderate to high yield with large berries. They are medium blue in color with a medium sized blossom end scar, are firm, and have good flavor.

–Patriot: an early midseason variety with high yield. The berries are large, medium blue, have a small blossom end scar, are firm and have an excellent flavor. This is one of the varieties my parents have and I can vouch that the jams, muffins, and pies from it are de-lish!

Late:


–Rubel: The other variety approved by my family and it reminds me of the wild blueberries I used to pick in my Grandpa’s woods as a kid. Moderate to high yield, but the berries are small (although worth the effort). They are medium blue in color, have a medium sized blossom scar, are firm, and have that wild, good flavor.

Not Recommended:
–Chandler: If you have it protected, you could get away with having it. However, because it produces such large berries, it needs a little bit more pampering than most varieties with the cold. The fruits would be perfect for your uses, but it will require a protected area with southern exposure.
–Top Hat: For borders and containers. The blueberries are very tasty, but about the size of peas. If you want a berry to have for a few for your breakfast cereal, than it would be perfect.
–Northcountry: similar to Top Hat in yield. More for your gardener that wants edible landscaping.
–Dwarf Northsky: they have wonderful berries, but only about 2 lb. per plant when mature. If you want something up around your house for looks and a little more, then choose this one. Otherwise, there are better options.

 

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.