Red berries differ on their growing methods as well as the special care they require. Each of these plants will be subjected to a custom-made maintenance to fit its needs in terms of soil fertilization and pruning. Maintenance of red berries makes it possible to protect the plant against diseases and pests. Pruning will improve the tree’s health while fertilizer will provide the essential nutrients for plant growth.

Red berries such as blackcurrants, strawberries, redcurrants and blueberries are excellent in jams, marmalades, pies, jellies and salads. They can also be consumed fresh and raw, or as juice, sorbet or ice cream.

Growth and maintenance of cranberries

Cranberry is a perennial shrub, recognizable by its stems’ thread-like appearance. Its branches can grow to a length of 31.5 inches (80 cm). Cranberry particularly appreciates acidic soils, of which the pH is around 4 or 5, and low temperatures. The cranberry’s small oval inflorescences are pink and its berries are red. Although this shrub likes cold weather, it is still difficult to grow given the fact that it needs large amounts of water to prevent the buds from withering during the winter. During the spring season, lay down a 1.5-inch (4 cm) thick layer of sand on the ice around the cranberry’s base. The cranberry’s first harvest of berries occurs four years after planting. Abundant watering is necessary for the roots to remain strong in all circumstances.

Growth and maintenance of the raspberry bush

The raspberry bush comes in two varieties, which are distinguished by their fruiting frequency. Everbearing varieties give their first harvest in autumn and a second one the following year. Summer-bearing varieties only produce one crop in summer. The branches of all varieties of raspberries die after two years, making room for new shoots to appear, but the raspberry’s roots are perennial. For the vegetative cycle not to be interrupted, the raspberry bush will need to be planted on acidic or calcareous soil, or even on light soil rich in humus. Hence, make sure not to grow the raspberry bush on a heavy or clayey soil , as this will benefit neither its growth nor its fruiting. In addition, the raspberry bush cannot withstand humidity in winter and much less excess heat in summer. The raspberry bush is distinguished from the red berry bush family by its trunk, which is buried in the ground, and from which the aerial stems, roots and leaves sprout. As for the raspberry’s shoots, they either grow on the root suckers located on older shoots or on those near the roots. It is for this reason that many raspberries can be found on the same tree.

If you bought a potted raspberry bush, you can replant it in the garden provided you fulfill its requirement. First of all, the planting area must be weeded (thistle and couch grass) and perennials must be kept away. Also remove eggplants, strawberries, potatoes and tomatoes because the diseases they are subjected to threaten the raspberry bush. Once this is done, dig a hole about 8 inches (20 centimetres) deep and 16 inches (40 centimetres) wide. Winter will take care of dispersing earthly clods. Amend the soil with a mixture of horn powder added to volcanic soil. Ideally, place the raspberry bush in a sunny location where the soil is sandy and full of organic substances. Do not water the roots of the raspberry bush as this may cause them to rot.

In regard to the maintenance pruning, trim the branches that have borne the previous harvest. Usually they have a rough skin. Also cut off branches of which the height does not exceed 16 inches (40 cm). This will stimulate the following harvest, making it more abundant. Prune diseased, stunted and overlapping branches in order to air out the shrub. Upon the arrival of winter, mix new compost with the first layer of soil at the base of the raspberry bush. If this involves a whole orchard, a shovelful of compost is sufficient for 11 square feet (one square metre).  Once the temperature is milder, till the soil and weed again. Add a 1/5 oz to 2/5 oz (6 to 12 grams) dose of ammonium nitrate per square meter of land because this fertilizer will speed up manure decomposition. Spraying some nettle liquid manure will maintain the leaves in good condition. Be careful not to spread hemlock or thuja sawdust on them. Finally, process the raspberry bush with natural pyrethrum before flowering so that larvae mites do not eat away the crop and to prevent aphids from destroying the raspberry bush’s stems.

Growth and maintenance of the strawberry bush

Strawberry bushes have the particularity of being similar to vegetables in terms of growth, acting like other fruit trees in terms of production. Runners of strawberry bushes self-propagate by natural layering , whether in the garden or in nature. The strawberry bush is a perennial that generally tolerates all soil types although it cannot withstand a persistent frost. It is recommended to enrich the soil at the base of the strawberry bush with a mixture of phosphorus and potassium and sodium nitrate. Spray insecticide on strawberry bushes to prevent the invasion of aphids, white grubs, mites, mole crickets, click beetles or cutworms. Powdery mildew will be treated with a special fungicide. To prevent weevil attacks, spray strawberry bushes with natural pyrethrum because these insects feed on the flowers’ peduncles.

Cultivation and maintenance of blackcurrant

Unlike other red fruit trees, blackcurrant is a hardy perennial that does not really enjoy sunny areas. The blackcurrant is 5 feet (150 cm) tall by the time it reaches maturity, provided that it grows on well-drained, humid and acidic soil preferably.  If you want to have several blackcurrant plants with a single subject, you can resort to the taking of cuttings. To grow well, the blackcurrant requires that the soil on which it grows be fertilized. Manure will improve crops but also reduce excess limestone. Balancing the soil’s chemical make-up also consists of dealing with potassium deficiency and ensuring the sufficient presence of trace elements essential to the blackcurrant’s growth. Before its second year of growth, perform a shape pruning on your blackcurrant starting with the stem cut to stimulate the emergence of new branches. Also prune branches that have reached three years or more. Thus, the new branches’ growth resumption will be further facilitated. However, keep at least ten stems, with three shoots each, to serve as the blackcurrant’s frame.

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Published in Red fruit by Alexander on 14 Sep 2011