Blackberries and their yummy kin | | – La Grande Observer


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Himalayan (Rhus armeniacus or R. Bifrons) and evergreen (Rhus laciniatus) blackberries are invasive species. They grow into huge mounds and impenetrable thickets.Himalayan blackberries have lobed leaves composed of three or five leaflets. Their leaves are dark green on the upper surface and gray-green matte lower surface.Evergreen blackberries have deeply cut, lacey leaves.Native blackberry or dewberry (Rhubus ursinus), are vines which trail low to the ground.Blackberries are biennial large shrubs of the family Rosaceae. They grow from either seeds or daughter plants growing from arching canes whose tips contact the soil and grow roots. The first year, blackberry plants do not bloom. The second year plants will flower, fruit, then die.In late summer, berries ripen and can be gathered for jams, jellies, pies, and cobblers. Berries can be frozen or canned for use at a later time.Hybrids, or blackberry crosses produce berries with slightly different flavors, some more sweet or tart, most are improvements on the original blackberry.• Olallieberry — a cross of loganberry and young berry.• Youngberry — a cross of native Pacific blackberry and dewberry.• Loganberry — a cross of dewberry (R. Ursinus) and raspberry (R. Issues). Loganberry is named after American horticulturist James Harvey Logan.• Chehalem blackberry — has native blackberry, Logan, and raspberry in its genetic makeup.• Marionberry — cross of Chehalem blackberry and olallieberry. Developed in 1945 at Oregon State University, the marionberry was named after Marion County, Oregon, and was first brought to market in 1956.• Boysenberry — nearly identical to Marionberries, but are composed of larger drupelettes that are big on flavor. They are sweet at first, but has a distinctive earthy undertone which distinguishes them from other blackberry varieties.• Tayberry — takes its name from the river Tay in Scotland.Garden Chores for June-July• Trees and shrubs can still be fertilized before July.• Apply organic mulches as soil warms. This will retain moisture.• Check soil moisture daily in hot weather.• Mow lawns frequently enough to remove no more than 1/3 the total height per mowing.• Water turf grass as needed to prevent drought stress.Enjoy the warm weather and happy gardening! Thanks for reading.

Wendy Schmidt is a longtime gardener. She lives in La Grande.
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