It has been quite a while since I tried to post to this blog, which seems to have a technical problem. I’m hoping this post will end up at the top of the blog.
Firstly, a word or warning about the bird netting shown in previous posts; at the end of the season while I was removing the net for storage I was saddened to find a small dead native bird that had been trapped in the net, a honeyeater I think. In all my years of bramble-growing I’ve never had this happen, and I’m inclined to blame the new net that I bought that season, which was rather finer, wider and more elastic than my old one. Perhaps it is a thing that can happen with any bird net. I can only advise that if possible take a look at the net daily, or more often. I’m open to any advice about avoiding harm to birds with bird nets.
There’s not a lot of other news to report in the youngberry department. Last summer we had an extraordinary couple of days of extreme heat, and smart gardeners took the time to erect shade-cloth shelters over prized garden plants just for that heatwave. It was the kind of heat that can kill mature plants and seedlings alike. I didn’t go to a lot of fuss, and I lost an Alogyne huegleii and my youngberry died back a lot, but that was canes that were destined to die off anyway as they had fruited.
The plant survived with a few mature canes, and I’ve just done the annual task of breaking up the dead canes and removing them and training up the living mature canes in some orderly fashion onto the wires of the trellis. When man or woman-kind does battle with a bramble there will inevitably be bloodshed, but this can be minimized by wearing long sleeves and stout garden gloves. You will need to master the art of handling thorny canes effectively and breaking up dead, brown and brittle canes but with not enough pressure to drive the thorns through your gloves. More youngberry canes will grow before next season, but I don’t think they will fruit. I believe the fruit form on year-old canes.
When you prune your roses in winter you will also fertilize them, and even though the brambleberries are distantly related to roses, they should not be fertilized at the same time as pruning in the cooler seasons (if that is what you would call the process of removing dead canes and re-organizing live canes). From now (autumn) on your bramble will go dormant, so fertilizing is not appropriate. My old Farmnote from the WA Dept of Agriculture about growing raspberries and brambleberries tells me that the months for fertilizing are October through to January inclusive, but it depends on what fertilizer you are using.