The Best Time to Plant Berry Bushes
We think of berries as the ultimate summer fruit, with their sweet juicy flavors gracing fruit salads and colorful desserts, or preserved in jars that last all year long. Some might ask what the best times to plant berry bushes are, especially blueberry bushes, raspberry bushes, and blackberry bushes. The simple answer is to plant them as soon as you get home with them from the nursery or garden center where you got them. Assuming your berry bushes will be potted when you buy them, as with most potted plants, they will already have a fully functional, acclimated root system that is ready to feed and support the rest of the plant. Therefore, they can be planted at any time of the year as long as you care for them with water when necessary. Watch your berry bushes carefully for signs of water distress. Berry bushes needing water will wilt at the tips and their new offshoots will not survive. New plants should be planted in well drained soil, or mounded up higher if your soil has poor drainage. Water them a minimum of once a week, depending on how hot the weather is. Established plants should be fine with normal precipitation, but again watch for signs of water distress during very hot weather.
Blueberry and black raspberry bushes are particularly susceptible to being eaten by birds. It may be best to plan your planting so that the berries are fruiting at a time of year when birds are at a minimum. Even so, no matter when you plant your berry bushes, be sure to invest in bird netting to keep birds off of - and out of - your berry bushes.
The amount of sunshine and shade is also something to consider as you ponder when - and where - to plant your berry bushes. Shade is always good in very hot climates, but make sure your raspberry bushes get shade in the afternoon. Blackberry bushes need full, complete sun in order to achieve maximum sweetness. Even the slightest bit of shade will cause blackberries to be sour. Blueberries are fine with occasional shade at any time of day.
With proper care, you should expect to see fruit on all of your berry bushes the year after you plant them. There is an exception with raspberries. Depending on the variety of raspberry bush, you probably will see fruit the same year you plant the bush.
So, the best times to plant berry bushes are those times during the year where you have preplanned and looked ahead to when you want your berries to eat, can, or preserve. With some preplanning, you can have beautiful, delicious berries all year round.