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Which bramble?

Posted by sophiarosehips none (My Page) on
Fri, May 31, 13 at 13:24

Hi everyone!

I'm new to these forums and looking for advice as I build up my garden. Currently I'm working on clearing an area that's lower that the rest (about 400 sq ft), where I intend to put a chicken coop and six chickens. I'll be erecting a fence around the outside of the lowered area, and I thought that maybe a nice way of making it hard for dogs to come and bother my chickens (dogs roam the neighborhood freely) would be to put some raspberry plants all around the outside of the fence.

I have lots of questions about this, the main one being, what kind of brambles would be the best fit for what I want? Basically, I want some natural barbed wire that bears nice berries. I don't like the hard seeds in the local blackberries that grow--I'll make jelly with them, but I'd rather plant brambles that will bear fruit with softer seeds so they can be eaten off the bushes.

Some background:
I've learned that I'm pretty much too late in the season to do this now. I live in Mt. Shasta, which is apparently zone 7. We sometimes have long winters (not this year, yay!) and it can get pretty cold, lots of snow. Summers get up in the hundreds but only for about two weeks. Mostly it hovers in the high eighties. Since they are saying we'll be having 80 degree weather this week I guess any bare root plants I might order would die from the shock of being planted.

Fair enough. When is the best time to plant brambles? I've read the fall on some sites and the early spring on others. We can have frosts as late as June.

Also, our soil is dry (even with regular watering) and on the acidic side. Is there a variety that would be better adapted?

Any other advice anyone has would be great. I can tell I'm going to nee guidance eventually to understand the right way to prune. This is especially the case since I want to use the plants as a barrier--the idea of mowing them completely as I've read here and there doesn't work for that goal.

Thanks in advance to all who respond!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Which bramble?

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Fri, May 31, 13 at 13:39

I grew Kiowa in central CA by Fresno. No dog will mess with those thorns. The berries are huge. I don't remember seeds but they aren't real sweet. Still a good berry and add a little sugar if needed.

They could be planted now with regular watering and some shade until rooted in. Either shade cloth or floating row cover. I just transplanted some chard under 4 layers of row cover.

RE: Which bramble?

  • Posted by ericwi Dane County WI (My Page) on
    Fri, May 31, 13 at 14:57

It sounds to me like the spot where you want to grow raspberries is good bramble habitat, and they should do well in that location. My experience has been that they like morning sun, and some shade in the afternoon. We have a patch of Heritage everbearing red raspberries that has been producing fruit for 15 years, and is still going strong. I generally transplant volunteers in the spring, after they have begun to leaf out, but before they get very high. I think they can be planted now, but they might need a little shade provided for a week or so to prevent wilting.

RE: Which bramble?

  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Fri, May 31, 13 at 21:17

You may want to try Wineberries. They are even more vigorous than normal raspberries, so you won't need to baby them any, though they may take over the world if you let them. They have nasty thorns- my brother planted them in a part of his yard that kids were crossing through, to discourage such incursions.

Edible landscaping is one of the few places which sell them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wineberry at EL

RE: Which bramble?

I'll second Bob's recommendation for wineberries. I bought mine from Oikos Tree Crops, and I was very happy with the quality.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wineberries at Oikos

RE: Which bramble?

Not sure of your basic premise. If the chickens are inside a fenced area, how will the dogs bother them?

Outlining the area in brambles will not stop dogs from barking at them. The gate in the fence will need to be kept clear of brambles, could a dog jump over that or menace from it?

It would be easier to maintain a perimeter of roses rather than brambles. 400 square feet means an 80-foot perimeter.

If brambles are used, note that most raspberries will spread underground to inside the enclosure, while most blackberries will stay put if you keep the cane tips off bare ground in autumn.

RE: Which bramble?

Thanks for all the suggestions! I'm going to have to read up on wineberries.

There are dogs (one in particular) that really like to DIG, so I'm hoping the brambles with discourage them from trying to go under my fence. I do plan to bury it, too, but I just like the added barrier brambles would provide.

I haven't actually built the fence or gate yet, but I'm definitely going for height to keep the chickens in and predators out. Could a dog menace from it? Yeesh. Probably. I'm going to have to come up with something there. We've actually considered not putting in a gate at all since we can access the run area from the house.

Plants spreading underground *should* be okay because on the run side there's a wall and on the other side I should have no trouble managing them. It's hard to explain about the wall... it's like we're on a hill (which I suppose we are, although it's not steep at all) and someone dug out a large area to put in the house, with a kind of patio next to it. They then build a wall into the hill on the sides around the patio, if that makes sense. So you have this patio area with raised ground all around it, kept from crumbling in by the wall. Then someone destroyed the patio cement or whatever was there, so now it's dirt and weeds and such. That's what we're using for the run. So on two sides there are these two and half foot walls and on another side there's the house, and one side is open. We'll build fencing on top of the walls and on the open side. Which is probably more information than you really wanted, but there you go. :)

RE: Which bramble?

Hi again, all. I've read up on wineberries, and they look great! I've emailed OIkos to see if they'll ship them now or not. Edible Landscape seems to want phone calls only, so I'll wait and see what Oikos says. Thank you so much!

RE: Which bramble?

If a gate is made, put some large pavers in front of it to prevent digging.

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