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  • A few fruit questions

    Hi, a few fruit questions to help me improve my slightly neglected allotment plot...

    Raspberries
    I have raspberries popping up randomly through my plot. I think they are a mix of summer and autumn fruiting. Some of the fruit went a bit mouldy and i haven't kept track of what plants where what... I think that the autumn ones are the ones that still have some fruit on (duh..!) and the other ones are the summer fruiting. So i plan to move them using the instructions i found here. Any suggestions or tips?

    Blackberries
    I have 4 or 5 blackberry bushes that have become quite congested and close together. I am planning to move one or two of them to a different part of the plot. How deep do i need to dig around them? I am a bit concerned that i may damage the other bushes and wondering if i should just cut them down instead of moving them... AS you can see there are also a few raspberry suckers popping up here as well...

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    Plums
    i have some old plum trees at the bottom of my allotment that i have neglected since i have taken on the plot. They look very overgrown and are very tall. How best can i prune them

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  • #2
    I guess the first thing is what do you want from this? If it's separating the plants then you may have to dig out the lot including all the suckers from the Rasps, remove all dead wood on the Blackberries and then replant them. The Rasps ideally want separating into summer and autumn fruiting, autumn ones are cut to the ground and then planted in different grounds don't plant them back in the same ground they came from. Summer fruiting canes are pruned by removing last years fruit wood and keeping this years new growth for next years fruit, these too will require planting in fresh ground. Never grown Plums so have no personal experience, this may help.
    https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=339
    If I'm not on here, I'm probably fishing.

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    • #3
      Raspberries:

      The autumn ones will have ether fruit or the remains of fruit (bunches of old fruit stalks) on them. The summer ones will either be single, straight canes (which will produce next year's crop) or branched canes which will most probably be dead by now, and can be cut out.
      If you can learn to confidently tell which is which then personally I would leave the raspberries more or less as they are, and just prune each variety as required, thin out any badly congested patches, and dig out any suckers invading other areas.
      If you are not confident you can learn to tell them apart, then do as suggested above.

      "Blackberries":

      Those are blackcurrants, not blackberries.
      Personally I would leave those as they are, too, but that's mainly because I like to use space efficiently, and I'm happy enough to suffer some mild convenience in having to squeeze between the bushes. As long as you keep to the proper pruning regime (remove a third of the oldest wood every year) then they have enough space there that the bushes themselves should not suffer.

      If you really do want to space them out more, so that you can easily move between the bushes, then I would remove the middle one from that row of three and plant it elsewhere.
      How big a rootball you should give it depends on how quickly you want it to recover. You could dig it out with a large rootball and replant it elsewhere pretty much as-is, and then you can just leave it be, with the occasional watering in dry spells next summer, and it will grow as normal. Alternatively, you can cut it down to the ground and dig it out with a smaller rootball. It should still survive, as blackcurrants are tough and root easily, and removing the top growth reduces the stress on the roots, but it will need more watering next year while it establishes, and it will take an extra year to recover and start fruiting again.

      However you choose to approach the blackcurrants, you should pull out those raspberry suckers as best you can. I wouldn't dig them, as you'll damage the blackcurrant roots unnecessarily, but try and grasp them with both hands near ground level and pull them out with as much root as possible.

      Plums:

      First of all, do you really want to keep these plums? Do they fruit well and the fruit is tasty, but is currently out of reach due to being too tall? Or do they not crop much.
      If the latter, no amount of pruning will help (heavy pruning discourages fruiting in plums), and I would just cut them down and dig them out, and if you want plums, buy some more and plant them in a different part of the plot.
      If they do fruit well, but the fruit is just out of reach, I would advise a (admittedly slightly risky) heavy crown reduction.
      Such heavy pruning is slightly risking in Prunus species, both because they are quite prone to fungal diseases (which lots of large cuts are more likely to let in) and because heavy pruning encourages vigorous non-fruiting growth, which then needs to be carefully managed in the following year or two, but in this case I think it's your best bet. I pollarded my large cherry tree this spring, and it has grown back quite nicely.
      This pruning will be best done in mid- to late May next year. That should be late enough to avoid fungal infection, but early enough that the trees will repair their wounds and put on plenty of new growth over the summer.
      Just cut everything down to about 5-6 feet.
      That initial stage is pretty simple. It's managing the regrowth which is a little more complex. They may take a month or more to start sprouting again, as they will be sprouting from dormant buds hidden under the bark, and these take a while to come to life, so don't worry. Once it does start growing, it will grow vigorously upwards. In early August of the same year, you should shorten all new growth by a third. Alternatively, you could try festooning the tree, which involves carefully tying down the young stems so that they are close to horizontal (horizontal wood is more likely to flower, vertical more likely to just grow more leaves and stems), but be careful as the stems can tear off quite easily where they join the main branch.
      Every year after that, prune in early August, shortening all new growth by a third (if you chose the pruning route). Or alternatively, continue to tie down all vigorous new stems (weak growth can be left to grow as-is), only pruning out any dead, diseased or congested branches.
      They should start fruiting again in two years, so if you start May next year, you'll have fruit in 2023. You may even get a small crop in 2022, although you definitely won't get any the year you heavy prune them.

      Also, bear in mind that these plums will likely be on St Julian A rootstock, which on good soils can't reasonably be kept any smaller than 9-10ft with yearly pruning (pruning any more heavily will prevent fruiting), and maybe 8ft on poor soil.
      If this is too large for you then, again, digging them out and replacing them would be best (although plant the new trees away from the old ones). Look for trees on Pixy or VVA rootstocks, as these are more dwarfing and can be kept to 7ft or so on good soil, probably shorter on poor soil.
      Last edited by ameno; 19-11-2020, 01:52 AM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by burnie View Post
        I guess the first thing is what do you want from this? If it's separating the plants then you may have to dig out the lot including all the suckers from the Rasps, remove all dead wood on the Blackberries and then replant them. The Rasps ideally want separating into summer and autumn fruiting, autumn ones are cut to the ground and then planted in different grounds don't plant them back in the same ground they came from. Summer fruiting canes are pruned by removing last years fruit wood and keeping this years new growth for next years fruit, these too will require planting in fresh ground. Never grown Plums so have no personal experience, this may help.
        https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=339

        Many thanks burnie. I do indeed want to seperate the different types of raspberries, just hope i make a good job identifying them!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by ameno View Post
          Raspberries:

          The autumn ones will have ether fruit or the remains of fruit (bunches of old fruit stalks) on them. The summer ones will either be single, straight canes (which will produce next year's crop) or branched canes which will most probably be dead by now, and can be cut out.
          If you can learn to confidently tell which is which then personally I would leave the raspberries more or less as they are, and just prune each variety as required, thin out any badly congested patches, and dig out any suckers invading other areas.
          If you are not confident you can learn to tell them apart, then do as suggested above.

          "Blackberries":

          Those are blackcurrants, not blackberries.
          Personally I would leave those as they are, too, but that's mainly because I like to use space efficiently, and I'm happy enough to suffer some mild convenience in having to squeeze between the bushes. As long as you keep to the proper pruning regime (remove a third of the oldest wood every year) then they have enough space there that the bushes themselves should not suffer.

          If you really do want to space them out more, so that you can easily move between the bushes, then I would remove the middle one from that row of three and plant it elsewhere.
          How big a rootball you should give it depends on how quickly you want it to recover. You could dig it out with a large rootball and replant it elsewhere pretty much as-is, and then you can just leave it be, with the occasional watering in dry spells next summer, and it will grow as normal. Alternatively, you can cut it down to the ground and dig it out with a smaller rootball. It should still survive, as blackcurrants are tough and root easily, and removing the top growth reduces the stress on the roots, but it will need more watering next year while it establishes, and it will take an extra year to recover and start fruiting again.

          However you choose to approach the blackcurrants, you should pull out those raspberry suckers as best you can. I wouldn't dig them, as you'll damage the blackcurrant roots unnecessarily, but try and grasp them with both hands near ground level and pull them out with as much root as possible.

          Plums:

          First of all, do you really want to keep these plums? Do they fruit well and the fruit is tasty, but is currently out of reach due to being too tall? Or do they not crop much.
          If the latter, no amount of pruning will help (heavy pruning discourages fruiting in plums), and I would just cut them down and dig them out, and if you want plums, buy some more and plant them in a different part of the plot.
          If they do fruit well, but the fruit is just out of reach, I would advise a (admittedly slightly risky) heavy crown reduction.
          Such heavy pruning is slightly risking in Prunus species, both because they are quite prone to fungal diseases (which lots of large cuts are more likely to let in) and because heavy pruning encourages vigorous non-fruiting growth, which then needs to be carefully managed in the following year or two, but in this case I think it's your best bet. I pollarded my large cherry tree this spring, and it has grown back quite nicely.
          This pruning will be best done in mid- to late May next year. That should be late enough to avoid fungal infection, but early enough that the trees will repair their wounds and put on plenty of new growth over the summer.
          Just cut everything down to about 5-6 feet.
          That initial stage is pretty simple. It's managing the regrowth which is a little more complex. They may take a month or more to start sprouting again, as they will be sprouting from dormant buds hidden under the bark, and these take a while to come to life, so don't worry. Once it does start growing, it will grow vigorously upwards. In early August of the same year, you should shorten all new growth by a third. Alternatively, you could try festooning the tree, which involves carefully tying down the young stems so that they are close to horizontal (horizontal wood is more likely to flower, vertical more likely to just grow more leaves and stems), but be careful as the stems can tear off quite easily where they join the main branch.
          Every year after that, prune in early August, shortening all new growth by a third (if you chose the pruning route). Or alternatively, continue to tie down all vigorous new stems (weak growth can be left to grow as-is), only pruning out any dead, diseased or congested branches.
          They should start fruiting again in two years, so if you start May next year, you'll have fruit in 2023. You may even get a small crop in 2022, although you definitely won't get any the year you heavy prune them.

          Also, bear in mind that these plums will likely be on St Julian A rootstock, which on good soils can't reasonably be kept any smaller than 9-10ft with yearly pruning (pruning any more heavily will prevent fruiting), and maybe 8ft on poor soil.
          If this is too large for you then, again, digging them out and replacing them would be best (although plant the new trees away from the old ones). Look for trees on Pixy or VVA rootstocks, as these are more dwarfing and can be kept to 7ft or so on good soil, probably shorter on poor soil.
          Hi Ameno,
          Many thanks for the very detailed answer.

          Rapberries
          Given the descriptions i think i can tell the difference between the summer and autumn fruiting. The issue i have is they are all over the plot so i need to gather what i have into single area.

          Blackberries / Blackcurrants
          For some reason i always make the mistake of calling them blackberries"!
          I think i will take your advice and leave them in the same spot, but give them a good pruning and remove the raspberry suckers. Could these suckers be re-planted elsewhere?

          Plums
          They have fruited well, but some have had mould on them.
          I will take the suggestion of heavy reduction next May and see how they crop over the next couple of years.

          Comment


          • #6
            Ameno has covered more or less everything and I agree 99% with what he advises.

            My approach to the plum trees would be to decide which you want to keep alive first. Then dig up the rest and either add them to a bonfire or give them away. The remaining trees then need to be considered from the pov of how close together they are and how big they may ultimately grow to be. The trees will grow and survive whatever, but if they are to crop well and be healthy they need light and air. In rough terms that means a 10-meter tall adult tree should be at least 5 m from its nearest neighbour. Plums move easily, especially young trees, as long as you don't mind the work, there is very little chance you will kill a tree by digging it up and replanting it any time when the leaves are off.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Rapscallion View Post
              Could these suckers be re-planted elsewhere?
              AS long as they come up with a half decent amount of root on, yes. Raspberries root pretty easily (they're kind of weeds, really, as you have found).

              Comment

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