In January 2001, blackberries, boysenberries, blueberries, raspberries, and other berries were planted by Master Gardeners.
Drip irrigation was then installed and an 8 inch layer of mulch was applied.
Plants have matured since then. We hope you will visit us next time you are at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center.
Most of the blueberries grown here are the Southern Highbush type because they have been hybridized to be more heat tolerant and to require less winter chilling. Northern Highbush blueberries are the most widely planted blueberry in the northern U.S., but generally require 800 chilling hours for proper dormancy. There are some Northern Highbush blueberry varieties at the far end of the berry patch that are doing well in our mild winters and hot summers.
Although most Highbush varieties are self-pollinating, berries will be more productive if two or more varieties are planted together.
Blueberries grow best in well-drained soil that is very acidic (4.5 to 5.5 pH). Here, soil sulfur was incorporated before planting to acidify the soil, and we added additional soil sulfur 5 years later after the soil pH rose to 5.5.
Raspberries can be challenging in the home landscape, but they are worth the effort. Their invasive roots will spread unless contained by borders, raised beds or containers. Use a hoe to cut canes that grow outside the vine row.
Raspberries prefer afternoon shade in the Sacramento area. At the Horticulture Center, summer shade was created by hanging shade cloth over the trellis, and was removed in the fall.
The raspberry plants grow well under the shade and do not get sunburned except for leaves on canes that grow beyond the shelter. There is good fruit set even with the shade cloth.
For much more on growing Blueberries, Blackberries and Raspberries, visit our Monthly Tips.