Blackberries, blueberries and strawberries...

Bryan, TX

Hi! My husband and I just bought a blueberry bush, a blackberry bush, and some strawberry plants at Home Depot. This is really our first year to garden, and I'm not quite sure what to do with these plants. I'm in zone 8b and it is still a little cold... around 42 degrees right now. Can I go ahead and plant these? Do I need to wait a little longer? How long will they take to produce fruit? What kind of fertilizer should I give them and when? Thanks for your help!

-Rachel

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

The bushes should be fine to plant now....and the strawberries too. Just be alert to a possible frost and cover the berry plants if one is forecast. Strawberries are called 'straw'-berries because they are usually covered in a straw mulch through the winter. They may benefit from a nice mulch now too....and it makes for keeping the fruit clean and dry later on if the berries were held off the ground by a nice straw mulch.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6a)

Your blueberries will produce in about 2 years and go into bigtime production about year 5 or 6.

If your soil ph is between 4.5 and 5.5 (try to have it tested before you plant) then there's really no need to fertilize at planting. Just make sure you mix in a lot of compost in the planting hole and around the bushes. Keep mulching with compost through the first growing season. Next year you can side dress with cottonseed meal in a ring around each bush in about April.

You sure will be happy in a few years :) Once they take off, they will produce for years and years.

Perhaps someone else has good blackberry tips - we do red and gold raspberries here and the 4 year wait til they really came into their own was most definately worth it.

Rome, GA(Zone 7b)

If you only bought 1 blueberry bush, you need to get another cultivar. They need another one to pollinate. Are they Rabbiteye blueberries or Southern Highbush? The Lowe's here was selling them and they had 2 of each different type for that reason. For instance, if they're rabbiteyes, they were selling climax and tifblue and you'd need one of each of them. Rabbiteyes get very big like 8-10' tall and 5-6' wide so make sure to give them plenty of room.

McLean, VA(Zone 6b)

I'm a bit further north than Rachel, but HD is carrying these here as well. I wanted to buy the strawberries now, but I was concerned it really is too early. I'm pretty sure that the ground is rock solid. Would it make sense to purchase them now, and pot them up in 4" pots for a month or two?

Frederick, MD(Zone 6a)

Hi pennefeather :) I'm in Urbana - just south of Frederick, and when we did our strawberries several years ago we did just that! Otherwise, there won't be any plants left by the time the weather is right.

They won't grow much right now, so we put ours in the big containers we use for annuals - 4 plants per container - and then just put them in the ground once it was workable.

Make sure you keep them well mulched and they'll do just fine :)

Dea

Lakeland, FL(Zone 9b)

How hot does it get there in the summer?

McLean, VA(Zone 6b)

Dea,

I'm glad that I took your advice. HD is completely sold out of strawberries now.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

they really should have more later too- this is ridiculously early. I got mine at the right planting time at a southern states type store.

Satsuma, AL(Zone 8b)

Are the strawberries you bought the kind that come in the bags, or are they actual seedlings in pots?

I think I've seen the ones in the bags, but I have never grown them before, so I'm iffy.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

mine were 25 plants wrapped together in a roll of cardboard, so it was about 4 inches across and 8 inches tall, with leaves sticking out the top, as I recall. now, each plant was really one or two leaves, coming out of a base with a few roots on the bottom. But they grew fine.

Waaaay Down South, GA

I have one of those strawberry pots. I saw strawberry plants at HD just the other night. What type of soil do I need and will they grow in that? How long will it take to get strawberries? I sure do love them. We're already getting them from FL now.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I'm not the expert- but I think I just read this recently-be sure to buy an 'everbearing' type strawberry for a pot. I'd use the moisture contrl Miracle Gro, or another good soi l , with moisture crystals added. I'd worry that clay pot will dry too fast in summer. They should bloom in April maybe and just I guess two weeks til the berry is ripe. Each of my plants gets a cluster of blooms, so each plant will give you five berries or so, then maybe rest a bit before another cluster of bloom.
But I am somewhat speculating- you'd be better waitng for a more expert opnion or researching.

Independence, MO(Zone 6a)

Blackberry: if you can stick a bamboo stake into the ground now, you can stick the blackberry in. Then jump back. If your blackberry bed isn't surrounded by deep stone or concrete, be ready to mow down volunteers every week, and don't let the baby run around outdoors barefoot.

Livermore, CA(Zone 9b)

Hi!
Just wanted to mention - I'm in zone 8 as well. Watch out for the blackberries, they are vigorous and terribly difficult to keep under control. Our first house had them rampant and it took me 3 years to really get them under control (and ALOT of scratches!) I have raspberries now and love them, they don't send nearly as many shoots out - got berries the first year (unbeleivable). Lots of blueberries the second year - I throw coffee grounds on the blueberries now and again, they seen to love it. Good luck!

Windsor, ON(Zone 6a)

If blackberries are anything like raspberries, you have to prune out the 3 year old wood as they only produce berries on the 2 yr old wood and 3 yr old only saps energy that could go into berry making. So whatever produces berries next year is removed in the third year. Be careful! #*@$* OUCH!!!

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