Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Please Share Your Wisdom

I am bartering with a super nice lady. She has 3 flower beds to be maintained and in exchange for the weeding and mulching, I get free use of a garden bed, all the fruit and nuts I want from some trees and bushes plus free horse manure. It's an awesome swap! Found it on Craigslist. :)

She has 2 things that I've never taken care of before. Since wise people keep telling me that I can't learn it all thru just reading about it, I thought I'd ask for advice from the 'net.

The two things are: grape vine and blackberry bushes.

The grape vine is growing on a very sturdy fence and has 2 main branches going each direction. Off of each of these main branches are tons of smaller branches plus, one end has grown so long, it's now sticking up out of the top of a nearby apple tree. I'd estimate that it's about 15' past the end of the fencing structure.

Question: How much do I prune back? Can I take the prunings and dip it in root stimulator thereby propogating new grape vines? Does it need any other care?

The blackberry bushes appear to have been whacked accidentally with a weed whacker, causing some damage.

Question: Should those canes be pruned? If yes, what time of year are they pruned? Before fruiting or after?

I wish I had taken photos when I met with her, but it was an incredibly windy day. I will next time I'm out there. Oh, and there are pecan trees. What do you know about them? Thank you!!


Karen in Wichita said...

I don't know anything about them, but I bet if you signed up on myfolia.com you could find answers.

(I really need to sign in and update my gardens there, if they haven't closed my account already.)

Melissa ~ Wife to 1, Mom to 5 said...

Karen ~ Can I just hang out with you someday? LOL You know the coolest sites!! Thanks for this site. :)

fullfreezer said...

I'm no expert on either. I think blackberries are like raspberries and bloom on second year canes. I would think there are lots of answers out there. As for grapes, it depends on what kind of grapes they are. If they are a european variety, they need to be grafted onto american root stock to survive (hello, invasive species! They kill things off). If they are native species I think you may be able to root them from cuttings,I'm trying to remember what the guy said when we took a tour of a local vineyard last year. Anyway, great score on the barter!

Lanny said...

Pruning: A good rule of thumb is one third but that fifteen foot thing really ought to go completely. It pulls too much from the main plant. I have one grapevine that I have "let go" to extremes but it's purpose is to shade my house the fruit is a side note, but it is a good example of how small and not ripened the fruit can be when the vine is let go. If you are growing it for fruit, which is what we grow most grapes for then keep the vine fairly close in two to four feet out each side of the depending on variety and the number of growing buds. Do grapes now or the bleed will freak you out!

And yes, grape is very easy to propagate.

Your blackberry depends on the type, upright or trailing, Logan, Marion etc. But getting any type down to a manageble size prior to the growning season is good. Cut out all the weak spindly and spent stuff, tip the long stuff. If the weed whacker shredded some of the canes cut them off cleanly. These root too. Spreading stuff out is better than trying to make one cramped clump do the work of five nicely spaced decent clumps. You know I think the advice is good, take some time to look at what you have and apply what you know from the stuff you already know. Gee have I said "stuff" enough today?

have fun good find

Claire said...

I agree with all of Lanny's comments. We moved our grape vines last year (7 of them) and it was a huge chore. This year, though, we will probably move them again, since their home last year was temporary because we moved in a hurry after selling the house more quickly than expected. I will prune heavily to give them a good chance to get over the disruption.

Blackberries are hard to damage! They just go like crazy. Cutting out the old canes is important. One other thing - you may want to put in additional support so you can tie up some of the drooping branches as they get fruit - they can be a painful experience to pick if they are not well spaced and tied back!

Melissa ~ Wife to 1, Mom to 5 said...

Fullfreezer ~ thanks. I wish I knew what kind of grapes they are. The owner has no idea either. Time will tell.

Lanny ~ thanks for the helpful info. I *thought* grapes would be easy so I'll give it a shot. I think the length of the vine is about 12 feet in either direction - longer than what's probably good for it, but not too bad. It's going to get a good trim this weekend.

Claire ~ I hadn't thought about supports as they're just standing there. Supports would definitely keep the mower/ trimmer away from damaging them further. Thanks.

Femin Susan said...

Good questions.........