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Blueberries, Blackberries together?

                              


Joined: Jul 12, 2010
Posts: 123
I was wondering if anyone had tried creating a blueberry / blackberry guild?  In central texas where I live blackberries grow wild and boy do they go wild in the garden!  Im toying with the idea of creating an acid bed in my garden for some blueberries bushes.  i was thinking of something i could use as ground cover and blackberries immediately came to mind.  not the erect cane sort of blackberries but the trailing kind that sprawl across the ground if not trellised.

i guess im worried about the blackberries overwhelming the blueberry bushes because theyre just so prolific.  also blackberries root wherever the cane touches the ground.  i suppose i should look at how the roots of each plant grow. i should also consider what time of year they fruit so they're not robbing nutrients from each other at the wrong time.  they both tolerate the same acid soil.

the area i would be planting is relatively small on the scale you folks seem to work on... 3.5' x 18'.

any ideas, considerations, warnings?
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
they might GROW well together but they won't HARVEST well together..

blackberries are too aggressive to have with blueberries, the blueberries would be too congested very quickly..and it would be hard to remove the blackberry canes when they are spent.

i have been thinking on companions for both for a while.

my raspberry/blackberry hedge is along a picket fence..i have them separated into groups by type..i have first got red rasp, then golden, then black raspberry and then blackberry, with the final two being the most aggressive.

between i have chestnut tree seedlings , a large fruited hawthorn seedling and a bearberry seedling..and at the far ends of each i have (south) at a right angle to the hedge, a hedge of blueberries with service berries spaced behind them..and at the (north) at right angle to the blackberries i have wild plum and then east of that dwarf hazelnuts and mulberries behind them.

so this forms 3 side of a box..with the berry  hedge on the west side..the far side of the box is a mixed bed which started out as asparagus and rhubarb but also now has dwarf cherry trees and a mtn ash and a small paw paw at one end


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
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Jan Sebastian Dunkelheit


Joined: Aug 08, 2010
Posts: 201
Location: Germany/Cologne - Finland/Savonlinna
I would never even think of planting blackberries by choice. They grow like mad everywhere in my region. I use clover and wild strawberries as covercrop under my blueberrie bushes.


Life that has a meaning wouldn't ask for its meaning. - Theodor W. Adorno
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3080
Location: woodland, washington
    
  52
I'm trying out growing low Vacciniums such as low bush blueberries, lingonberries, and bilberries under high bush blueberries.  may end up having trouble because I'm double dipping from the same nutrients for both layers, but the advantage is that they all like the same conditions.

I'm also planning to try growing groundnuts (Apios americana) in the same area.  it's a root crop, so there may be some risk of disturbing shallow blueberry roots, but I'm counting on being able to pull them out of the moist dirt without too much trouble.  fixes nitrogen and does well in moist conditions.


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Joined: Jul 12, 2010
Posts: 123
do you think blackberries planted in a bed inside a chicken yard would be kept in check by the 'chicken moat'?

ACK!  terrifying thought: will they eat the blackberries they can reach and then poop the seeds out all over the place?  the horror....

edit: upon further research is seems that chickens are very good at digesting blackberry seeds.
Jami McBride
volunteer

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 1777
    
    9
And so you all prune your black berries and raspberries, each fall?  And this is how you maintain your hedges and keep them from taking over?

I ask this because my raspberries are still in planter boxes, I haven't figured out how to manage them exactly.

Any insights on management of these spreading berry plants would be appreciated.

Jan Sebastian Dunkelheit


Joined: Aug 08, 2010
Posts: 201
Location: Germany/Cologne - Finland/Savonlinna
I do prune my raspberries. Each fall I cut the two year old, woody stems down to the ground and the one year old, green shoots down to 40 cm (15 inches). I only leave the medium sized shoots there.

I have a rhizome blockage around my raspberries but my aunt simply uses the lawn mower to keep them in check. My raspberries don't grow surrounded by lawn so that option doesn't work for me.
Karl Teceno


Joined: Mar 16, 2010
Posts: 91
Location: Portland Maine
I used high bush blueberries, low bush bluberries and cranberries as a guild. Seems to be working...
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3080
Location: woodland, washington
    
  52
Karl wrote:
I used high bush blueberries, low bush bluberries and cranberries as a guild. Seems to be working...


how old is that guild?  I'm a few years into something similar with no problems, but I could see things going wrong in a few more years.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
well brambles are fairly difficult to control if you let them get ahead of you..that is the main thing, keep them pruned out if they wander, or pulled..raspberries pull easy but blackberries are tougher..use good quality leather gloves..or buy thornless
Joshua Msika


Joined: Jun 06, 2010
Posts: 66
Location: Nova Scotia
I know the kind of blackberries you are talking about: the trailing ones that spread to make a mat. In Edible Plants of North America, the creeping blackberries are called dewberries. We have some wild ones creeping out from the edge of our forest.

Our dewberries bear in early summer, this is Nova Scotia, zone 5b, so probably not relevant to Texas. The berries are delicious, not as reliably sweet as  blackberries but larger and maybe juicier. I'm not sure whether they fruit only on new runners or old ones as well. They have very few prickles and are definitely not as vicious as blackberries. They do form a pretty thick groundcover but low grass grows between them as do other taller flowering herbs that are able to grow up above the mat. The soil where they are growing is dry, sandy loam. I couldn't tell you the pH but lowbush blueberries (V. angustifolium) are growing right next to them so it must be pretty acid. They grow in another place as well, under some semi-wild apple trees where the soil is moister and they receive a bit more shade. They don't seem to be doing as well there but do produce fruit quite reliably.

The one thing that I would watch when cultivating them is containing the runners. They have been gaining ground quite quickly in our field. I'm not particularly worried about it because our field is too big anyway but it would be something to watch. If you can deal with that somehow, by planting them as a fenced island in a pasture or chicken run, or maybe surrounding them with a physical barrier to prevent spreading, then I would definitely consider cultivating them.
Karl Teceno


Joined: Mar 16, 2010
Posts: 91
Location: Portland Maine
This is the third summer. A lot of berries from the high bush. A fair amount from the lows and a few handfulls from the cranberries
                          


Joined: Mar 14, 2010
Posts: 41
I'm also trying to stack plants of the same type in different growing forms.  There are actually three types of blueberries.  Lowbush, half-high, and fullsize.  In the front of the house I have lowbush and a single half-high (which was chosen so that it doesn't obscure the front window).  On the other side I have dwarf lingonberries backed by regular sized lingonberries and further still I have currants/gooseberries which get a couple feet tall.  This forms a wedge-shape where each layer will get its share of afternoon sunlight without shading out what's behind it.  I am also edging both of these with heather plants.  It makes sense to kind of recreate a heath polyculture.



                              


Joined: Jul 12, 2010
Posts: 123
Well after reading bits of this article:
http://www.nyshs.org/fq/09winter/results-of-a-new-york-blueberry-survey.pdf

Instances where
perennial weeds had encroached
on plantings, serious
economic impact on yield
resulted. One interesting weed
was found in two Eastern NY
plantings. It was groundnut,
Apios americana, a perennial
vine which grows from edible
tubers (Iungerman 200 (Figure
4 ABCD).


I've decided that groundnuts are definitely going in with the blueberries.   

I suppose I'll have to make sure the blueberries dont get overgrown ... hopefully not a bit deal.
Bispo Barbosa


Joined: Oct 31, 2013
Posts: 2
Tell us how it goes...
Bob Randall


Joined: Dec 22, 2012
Posts: 1
I have been growing both southern highbush blueberries and upright domestic blackberries (kiowas and Tupis) for many years here in southeast Texas. Blackberries if tied to a stake (or grape trellis post )and pruned to eye height and secondary branches to 18 inches are easily managed and stack well under improved muscadines. They can be triple stacked with sweet potato spinach below. These three plants don't really benefit from each other but don't compete in the same horizontal space.

Blueberries need much more water and are thus not well suited for this guild because blackberries grow too much if watered a lot and I need to mosquito net blueberries which would snag in thorns of blackberries. I am experimenting with kiwis in the paths near the blueberries but don't have any Houston plants yet that benefit from them that I can benefit from too.
Miles Flansburg
steward

Joined: Feb 03, 2011
Posts: 2116
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
    
  52
Welcome to permies Bob, thanks for the info!
 
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