Winterizing Boysenberry Plants – How To Treat Boysenberries In Winter
By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
Boysenberries are a cross between common blackberry, European raspberry and loganberry. Read on for helpful tips on winterizing boysenberry plants.
Caring for Boysenberries in Winter
Mulch: Boysenberry winter protection includes several inches of mulch such as straw, dried leaves, lawn clippings, pine needles or small bark chips. Mulch protects the plant’s roots from fluctuations in soil temperature and also helps prevent soil erosion that often occurs in heavy rainfall.
Apply the mulch in fall, after a few hard frosts. Aim for at least 8 inches (20 cm.) of straw, or 3 to 4 inches (8-10 cm.) of other mulches.
Fertilizer: Don’t fertilize boysenberries after late spring. Fertilizer produces tender new growth that is likely to get nipped in freezing weather. Boysenberries should only be fertilized before new growth emerges in early spring,
Winterizing Boysenberry Plants in Extremely Cold Climates
Boysenberry winter care is a little more involved for gardeners in far northern climates. Colorado State University Extension suggests the following steps for heeling in plants, which should be done after early November:
- Lay the boysenberry canes down so they face in one direction.
- Hold the canes down by placing a shovelful of soil on the tips.
- Use a shovel or hoe to create a shallow furrow between rows.
- Rake that soil over the canes.
- In spring, use a pitchfork to lift the canes, then rake the soil back into the furrows.
Additional Boysenberry Winter Care
Rabbits love to chew on boysenberry canes during the winter. Surround the plant with chicken wire if this is a problem.
Reduce water after the first frost. This will help harden the boysenberry bushes for winter.
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Read more about Boysenberries
Loganberries grow like blackberries but look and taste more like raspberries whilst boysenberries have larger plumper blackberry-like fruit. They are both taste sensations but fragile, the reason you don’t see them in supermarkets or other outlets. Loganberry doesn’t grow as prolifically as other berries, in fact they are both less robust than raspberries or blackberries. Both have the same growing requirements.
Autumn – Prune back root tips or strike them in pots to propogate more plants. Layering or root division will also produce new plants.
Winter – Prune. Cut back all the old spent canes to ground level, tie up the new season’s canes and feed well with compost. Both berries grow like blackberries but are more fragile, so take care when bending them.
Spring – Loganberries will begin to ripen from late November through summer. Think about bird netting if they are under attack. Weed, mulch. Feed every 3 to 4 weeks with seaweed, wormjuice or compost tea diluted 10 to 1. Watering longer and less often is better than a sprinkle regularly.
Summer – Boysenberries begin to fruit December through January. You may need to net them to protect from birds. Continue to tie up new canes as they grow and spread. Weeding, watering continues.
Generally – Both berries are sensitive to direct sun, so if they are ot getting some shade during the summer, it may pay to drape with shadcloth during the hottest part of the season. Tansy, marigold and the alliums (leek, garlic, onions) are said to be good companions.
Eating – Like strawbs, take them out of the frig before eating to let flavours develop. They make fantastic jams, jellies, tarts and pies.
Like raspberries, boysenberries will produce fruit on the previous years vines. It is important to remove the old vines then tie up the new vines for the spring.
Always wear long sleeves, pants and leather gloves to protect your skin from the thorns. These Florist Pro Thorn Resistant Gloves are more comfortable than leather while still providing the protection needed. They are great value and highly rated on Amazon. (Paid link)
The best time to prune boysenberry vines is in the mid to late winter once most of the leaves have fallen. In warmer climates some of the leaves will remain on the vines.
Yes you can however it is a good idea to cut the vines into smaller pieces to help them break down.
Tools and Materials Needed
- Pruners – Ratchet Pruners are the perfect option for people who suffer from arthritis. (Paid link)
- Wheelbarrow or Bucket
- Leather Gloves
- Twine or String (Optional) – This highly rated Garden Twist Tie with Cutter has many uses in the home and garden. (Paid link)
Guide to pruning boysenberry vines in the home garden.
- Cut Old Vines at the Base
First look for older vines at the base of the plant. They will be thicker and more gray in color. Cut at the base of the plant with the pruners.
Follow the vine up the support removing it as you go. If it is wound through the support you may need to make several cuts to easily remove it.
Continue removing each old vine being careful not to cut the new vines. Stand back then check your work.
Once you are happy you have removed all the older vines tie up the new vines by either tying the vine to the support with twine or threading the vine through the support.
Tying the vine to the face of the support makes pruning easier however it does use more twine.
During the warmer months cuttings can be taken of the vines to create more plants. See this guide to Taking Boysenberry Cuttings for more information.
Do you love growing your own food? Try this Vegetable Garden guide or get more from your home and garden with this guide to Homesteading.
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How to Plant a Knott's Berry Farm Boysenberry Plant
How to Plant a Knott's Berry Farm Boysenberry PlantJill Parkin |
Are you looking for a little boysenberry fun at home? There are tons of great boysenberry merchandise located at the Berry Market and Online Marketplace! They have several items such as boysenberry chocolates, jerky, soda, candy, coffee, and even a complete bath and body line. And for a limited time, they have real boysenberry plants you can purchase to take home and plant. Yep, we are going to grow our own boysenberries!
If you've recently purchased a boysenberry plant, then you are probably getting ready to plant it. You will be happy to know that right now is the best time of year to plant boysenberry plants, and if you have a nice sunny spot in your yard (as boysenberries love the sun and only partial shade), then you are good to go!
Here are some great tips on how to plant and grow your boysenberry plant:
First, you want to make sure that the pH in your soil is correct for growing boysenberry plants. A pH range from 6-7 is ideal. If it is not in this range, you can add lime to raise it, and sulfur to lower it. It is also best to incorporate compost and nutrients into the soil. The compost will help with drainage.
Next, you need to create a structure that will support your boysenberry as they grow. Boysenberries are a vine plant, so they will continue to wrap themselves around anything they can. You can simply use a trellis found at your nearest garden store, or build one yourself. A few poles and some wire will work just fine. Space out the poles along a fence and string three to four wires across them. You can use plant ties to help keep them secure.
If you'd rather plant your boysenberry plant in a flowerpot, make sure to get one that is at least 18 inches wide and 12-14 inches deep. It also needs to have several drainage holes and be filled with the slightly acidic soil mentioned above. Plant the boysenberry plant in the middle of the container and place a trellis, cage or poles entwined with wire. Make sure to add compost and nutrients to the soil.
Boysenberries grow best in moist soil. You never want the soil to become dried out because boysenberries are not drought tolerant. The moisture helps produce the boysenberry buds and berry development. When you water, make sure the water goes deep, but be careful not to overwater or flood your plants. Also, try not to get the leaves wet because that can cause rot and disease to your boysenberry plant. It is best to water in the morning so that any moisture on the leaves can dry up in the sunshine.
Once you have planted your boysenberry plant, you can spread a layer of mulch or wood chips over the soil. This will combat weeds and keep some of the moisture in the soil. Fertilize the boysenberries with a 20-20-20 mix (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) at the beginning of spring and then every 4 weeks after that. Remember to till in the fertilizer and then re-mulch the soil each time. If you have used a container to plant your boysenberry plant, you will need to water and fertilize it more often as most containers have limited volume.
As the boysenberry plant grows and vines, use plant ties to secure it to your trellis or wire structure. You will see white flowers bloom on your plant, and once they have been pollinated, they will grow boysenberries. You will know a boysenberry is ripe when it is dark purple, plump and shiny.
After the berries are harvested at the end of summer, the vines will need to be pruned. This is usually done between autumn and winter. Make sure to use clean cutting tools – you can soak in one part water, one part alcohol. Pruning involves cutting the fruit-bearing vines down and any of the long or weak vines to shorten. The fruit-bearing vines will be woody, and the next year will produce even more fruit. Boysenberry plants go dormant in winter, but they will be back next spring ready to start the berry growing process all over again!
I hope you enjoy your boysenberry plant!
Knott's Anniversary Ambassador
Jill Parkin is an Orange County native and the writer and creative mind behind the Southern California lifestyle blog, Sandy Toes and Popsicle Blog This is where she shares the best things to do in Orange County, recipes, crafts and travel tips for families. Jill is the mom constantly on the go with her family enjoying the outdoors, road tripping and exploring new places. She’s very grateful to be able to share her love for Knott’s on the Berry Blog.
A Berry Refreshing Summer Treat
Now you’re ready to grow your own boysenberries, which will refresh your palate like none other – especially if you eat them fresh.
Have you ever grown boysenberries? Let us know your tips and tricks in the comments below!
And if you are growing berries in your garden, check out these berry helpful articles next:
Photos by Laura Melchor and Nikki Cervone © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Product photos via Arbico Organics and Burpee. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock.
About Laura Melchor
Laura Melchor grew up helping her mom in the garden in Montana, and as an adult she’s brought her cold-weather gardening skills with her to her home in Alaska. She’s especially proud of the flowerbeds she and her three-year-old son built with rocks dug up from their little Alaska homestead. As a freelance writer, she contributes to several websites and blogs across the web. Laura also writes novels and holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.