Prepare Your Berries for Winter

It's cooling down, so it's time to start preparing your berries for winter. I'm not a gardening expert, but here is how I prep my berries:

Raspberries - By now, you may have already pruned out your dead canes. If not, you can either do it now or wait until spring. I have multiple varieties and each of them have their own pruning recommendations, so be sure to search which canes to cut for your variety. Other than that - leave raspberries alone until spring. Then you can fertilize them right before they leaf out.

Black Raspberries - This is a great time to prune out any
dead canes (those that produced fruit this year) and also prune the 1st year canes to maximize fruit next season. Here is a great link about pruning black raspberries. Since I tip-layered my 1st year canes this year, I won't be pruning until spring.

Strawberries - Most people regenerate (mow down) and cover their strawberries with straw in the fall. That's a great idea. But I'm a lazy gardener. In early autumn, I un-net my strawberries and allow the deer to regenerate for me (lol - they do a great job) and then allow the forest to cover my berries. Every year the trees throw down their leaves on our yard and garden. I just let the leaves stay on my berries. It's a great mulch layer.

But what about mold? I go out in the very early spring and remove all the leaves. We have such long winters that I am itching for gardening way before it's time. So I'm out there as soon as it's above 40 degrees. So far so good on the mold issue.

Blueberries - My blueberries are only 4 years old, so they don't require heavy pruning. That being said, I still cut out any broken or damaged canes. Once they hit about 7 years old, I'll need to thin out some of the older growth.

We live right near a forest, so rabbits and deer (among other things) are drawn to our garden. A few years ago, rabbits devoured all of my blueberry bushes....down to the roots. I was so sad. But I'm hoping that will never happen again!

Every winter, I cover my blueberries with burlap. It still allows the plant to breathe and obtain moisture, but keeps the deer and bunnies from chewing on the bark.

Be sure to secure the burlap completely on the bottom so nobody can get in. It may also help protect the branches from breaking from the heavy snow, but it can be risky if the burlap is too tight. The plants aren't growing in the winter, but the soft buds and young shoots can freeze to the burlap and get damaged.

So be careful, try to keep it loose around the plant, but tight enough on bottom to keep critters out. And take them off as soon as you can see the ground. By that time, the animals should be able to find other food sources and your bushes need the sun to start setting blossoms.

2 comments:

Carolyn @ My Backyard Eden said...

It looks like you're in berry heaven! We grow raspberries, blueberries and just ordered some blackberry plants.

Love your new holiday header!

~Carolyn

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I have an award for you at www.jdaniel4smom.com.

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Thank you for your comments! I appreciate all your tips, advice, and well wishes!

Angela

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