Characteristics and features of the cultivation of shipless blackberries Lochness (Loch Ness)
Blackberries are not as common in our gardens as, say, raspberries. However, knowledgeable people will confirm that in terms of taste and healing properties, this berry does not lose at all to its closest relative. Those who want to try to grow this fruit shrub on their garden plot should pay attention to a relatively young high-yielding variety of English origin, like Loch Ness (in Russian transcription - Lohness), which will be discussed below.
It so happened that new blackberry varieties are being developed, mainly in Western Europe and America, while domestic breeders for some reason bypass this plant with their attention. Lohness, whose homeland is Great Britain, is no exception.
By its genetic nature, this culture is not even a variety, but a complex hybrid, created by crossing a same-sex hexaploid blackberry with tetraploid raspberry and then adding to the mixture (it has its own name - Logan berry) a few more European and American varieties of raspberries and blackberries:
- Ashton Cross;
The author and implementer of the idea of creating a new hybrid was Briton Derek Jenningsonand the base for his scientific research is the Scottish Crop Research Institute (Scottish Plant Research Institute), where the scientist conducted various experiments with the L1 gene he found, which is present in raspberries and is responsible for the large size of the fruit. Based on this gene, Jenningson, by the way, managed to bring out many other blackberry-raspberry novelties.
In 1990, the selection was completed. Its results were so successful that in just a few years, Lohness gained wide popularity in industrial production and on private land plots in many countries of Western Europe and the USA, and the Royal Horticultural Society (British Royal Community of Gardeners) awarded the variety the highest award for gardening services - Award of Garden Merit.
Did you know? Crossing blackberries with raspberries, which brought James Harvey Logan worldwide fame, actually happened in 1883 completely by accident. The American breeder was engaged in the cultivation of large-fruited blackberries, crossing its various varieties, but prototypes grew near the raspberry Red Antwerp, which led to cross-pollination.
From a botanical point of view, Lochness blackberry is a compact, but very tall bush (the length of each shoot sometimes exceeds 4 m). The type of crown formation is semi-spreading (in the English version - “semi-erect”, which literally can be translated as partially upright): in the lower part of the branch grow vertically, but closer to the tops they begin to lean towards the ground.
One of the main reasons why many summer residents will be interested in growing Lochness on their site may be that the variety is practically springless, although rather bushy (the branches of the blackberry are smooth, but grow very densely).
Lohness is distinguished by very intensive growth, although such blackberries are still inferior to such strong-growing English varieties like Black Satin or Chester.
The leaves are medium in size, have a bright green color and a slightly wrinkled surface, divided into 5-7 lobes. At the edges of the sheet plate is decorated with characteristic cloves.
Berries are formed in the hands of several pieces, differ in the same size and regular conical shape. The skin is dark, almost black with a blue tint, shiny.Large sizes are characteristic only for the first wave of the crop, then the berry begins to grow smaller. Thus, the mass of one fruit can range from 6–12 g (at the beginning of harvesting) to 4–6 g (at the end).
Did you know? Blackberry (from the word "hedgehog") received its Russian name precisely thanks to very sharp spikes that turn the berry picking into a real torment. But the British were not so sensitive: in the language of international communication, blackberries are called "blackberry", that is, "black berry".
The structure of the pulp is dense, but the juice content in the berry is quite high. The stone is small, the taste is very sweet. Sourness can be present only in unripe fruits, but the aroma of the blackberry Lohness has a pronounced and very pleasant.
With regard to the chemical composition of the berries of the variety in question, the following data are known:
|Ascorbic acid, mg / 100 g||10|
|P-active compounds, mg / 100 g||200–300|
The characterization of any variety of garden culture will be incomplete, if it is limited to a botanical description of the plant, it’s important for any farmer to have a good idea of the marketability of the plant, which includes growing requirements, timing and characteristics of fruiting, yield, fruit transportability, fruit life, etc. Fortunately, with regard to blackberries Lohness, despite the relative youth of the variety, these data are already well known.
Drought resistance, frost resistance
In terms of drought and frost resistance, Blackberry Loch Ness is at an average level, which makes the hybrid ideal for growing in the suburbs and other areas of the Central region of the Russian Federation. The more southern regions of Russia, as well as the entire territory of Ukraine, are also a good platform for placing plantations of this fruit shrub.
According to the manufacturer’s official data, the Loch Ness blackberry is suitable for cultivation in frost resistance zones from the eighth (-7 ... -12 ° С) to the fifth (-23 ... -29 ° С), however, according to gardeners, winter temperatures drop to -20 ° С may already be a problem for the bush.
One of the main characteristics of the Lochness blackberry is its high yield. With good care during the season, European farmers manage to collect 20–25 kg of berries from one adult bush, and in some cases even records of up to 30 kg are announced. Nevertheless, in conditions of personal household plots, where the conditions of detention are far from scientifically verified and fully automated, you can count on 15 kg of fruits per plant as soon as possible, which, in general, is also a very good result.
In general, in terms of yield, Loch Ness is on par with Thornfree, between the less prolific Loch Tay and Chester, the record holder for fruit. The variety enters the phase of full-fledged fruiting approximately 2-3 years after planting.
Advantages and disadvantages
- Summing up the description of the Lochness blackberry, the following advantages of the new English variety can be distinguished:
- large fruit sizes (according to this characteristic, Lochness is ahead of such well-known blackberry varieties as Loch Tey and Triple Crown);
- very high yields;
- one-dimensionality and the correct form of berries (good presentation);
- ease of care (the bush can be grown without garter, the plant forms a little root root, multiplies very easily);
- full yield before the onset of frost;
- strong immunity to diseases and pests;
- weather resistance, drought tolerance and relatively harsh winters;
- unpretentiousness to the composition of the soil;
- high sugar content, as well as carotene and tocopherol;
- lack of tendency to shedding, which allows picking berries in a mechanized way;
- durability and excellent transportability (due to the dense structure of the berry);
- universal purpose of the fruit.
- Among the disadvantages of the variety are sometimes called:
- mediocre flavor characteristics of berries;
- the appearance of distinct acid in the fruit with insufficient lighting and excess rainfall;
- uneven ripening period;
- a tendency to shrink fruits as the crop forms;
- relatively low, in comparison with analogues, the content of ascorbic acid.
Some gardeners include mid-late ripening in the list of Lochness flaws, however, this characteristic is more correctly considered as a feature of the variety, and not its minus, because early berries usually have a less rich vitamin and mineral composition and are less suitable for winter harvesting.
In order for all the advantages of English blackberry to be shown in full, it is very important to plant a fruit bush correctly. Many factors are important here - planting dates, a good choice of a place, crop rotation (good predecessors), seedling quality, as well as the distance between individual plants.
You can plant a blackberry in early spring or mid-autumn. It is important that the bush at this moment be at rest, so it will be easier for it to take root in a new place. Therefore, at the beginning of the season, you need to choose the time when the sun has already warmed up, but the buds did not have time to bloom, in autumn it is better to wait until the leaf fall is over.
Important! According to the observations of professional gardeners, trees and shrubs planted in autumn develop much better than the same varieties during spring planting.
Nevertheless, in regions located in frost resistance zones critical for Lochness, preference should still be given to the spring period for planting blackberries, in all other cases autumn is the best time for such work.
Blackberry is very demanding on lighting. In the shade, the bush can develop normally, but the berries will form small and sour. Therefore, it is important to try to choose the most open place for the plant. At the same time, care must be taken to ensure that the fruit bush is protected from gusts of wind, even the most gusty and cold ones, so the ideal option is to place bushes along the fence at the northern border of the site at a distance of 50-100 cm from the fence.
For planting, a leveled place with a depth of groundwater of at least 1 m is best. The composition of the soil is not very demanding, it is much more important to choose “suitable” predecessors for it.
The standard crop rotation rules for BlackBerry apply here:
|Good predecessors:||Bad predecessors:|
Selection and preparation of planting material
Seedlings of fruit trees and shrubs belonging to valuable and rare varieties, especially of imported origin, you need to buy exclusively in specialized nurseries with a good reputation. At the same time, it is highly desirable to observe the principle of regionalization as much as possible, according to which a perennial culture is better able to take root in a new place, the smaller the distance it has traveled from the point of “initial” cultivation.
Experts recommend choosing annual plants with a well-developed root system when choosing blackberry seedlings.formed by a root bud and two shoots about 5 mm thick each. Such seedlings are more likely to adapt quickly after transplanting and to enter the fruiting phase earlier. For better rooting before planting, a young bush can be soaked for several hours in a solution "Kornevina», «Heteroauxin».
For planting a blackberry, a pit about 40 cm deep is used, the diameter should be about the same. The top layer of the earth extracted from the pit should be mixed with nutritional supplements per 1 bush:
- potassium salt - 50 g;
- superphosphate - 100 g;
- compost or humus - up to 5 kg.
The prepared mixture is placed in a small amount on the bottom of the pit, the rest is used in the process of digging the hole. It is important to ensure that the root bud of the seedling is 20–40 mm deep - this will protect the blackberry from drying out and from decaying of the roots. Immediately after planting, the bush should be abundantly watered and mulched.
The distance between the individual blackberry bushes depends on the chosen method of processing the crop. If this process is planned to be carried out in manual mode (in small summer cottages), a 2 × 2.5 m scheme can be used. However, it is important to provide room for the use of agricultural machinery. In this case, between bushes it is permissible to keep from 2 to 2.5 m, but the row spacing should be at least 3 m.
Care for the Lochness blackberry is not particularly specific and involves the implementation of quite standard procedures.
|Watering||Moderate, more intense in the spring and minimal during fruiting. It is best to install a drip irrigation system in the area so that water flows under the root (blackberry is not good for sprinkling).|
|Soil care||Mulching with a dense layer of organic matter with its periodic renewal. If mulching is not used, after each watering, the soil needs to be loosened, and weeds constantly growing in the region of the near-trunk circle must be removed.|
|Top dressing||Regularly, in spring and autumn. For 1 adult bush during the season you need to spend at least 7 kg of compost, 500 ml of wood ash, 100 g of superphosphate, 30 g of potassium sulfate and 60 g of urea or ammonium nitrate.|
|Pruning||Forming during the period of growth of the bush, then - sanitary, thinning and rejuvenating.|
|Garter||Desirable, but not required. It can be carried out in a fan or trellis way.|
You can get new bushes of the Blackberry Lohness only by the vegetative method - by air layers or root processes. Traditionally, the first method is more convenient to use for varieties with vertical shoots, the second - for creeping. Thus, both options are suitable for a semi-spreading Lohness bush.
For rooting air discharge you need to bend to the ground at the end of summer and dig one of the side shoots growing in the lower part of the bush, leaving an apex of up to 10 cm on the surface. After this, the layering is mulched and watered until late autumn. In the spring, when the shoot takes root, it is separated from the mother plant and transplanted.
Root shoots use for reproduction is even easier. In this case, it is enough to dig one of the root shoots appearing around the shrub, trying to maintain its own root, separate it from the adult plant and transplant it to a new place.
If the gardener has a desire to rejuvenate the old blackberry bush or transplant it to a new place, you can try using a sharp shovel to divide the root into 2-3 parts so that each fragment corresponds to an approximately equal number of shoots, and then plant each part as a separate plant.
Important! The blackberry seed propagation method should not be used for hybrids, such as Lohness, since young plants growing from seeds do not inherit parental properties.
Diseases and Pests
Lohness is characterized by a rather strong immunity to diseases and pests, however, under adverse conditions, the bush can suffer from them, so the gardener needs to respond to the emerging problem in time.
In particular, during the growing season, blackberries are threatened by:
|The main diseases of blackberry||Blackberry pests|
Fighting blackberry diseases and pests is best done with preventative methods. These include, first of all, the right agricultural technology - choosing the right place for planting, observing crop rotation requirements, regular watering, top dressing, shelter from the bright sun (shading), pruning, including timely removal of sick, damaged and dried shoots.
If, despite the measures taken to care, the bush is still affected by a disease or pest, experts recommend using non-toxic and environmentally friendly biological products for processing - “Phytocide», «Azotofit», «Fitosporin M», «Haupsin"And others. The disadvantage of such funds is lower, compared with chemical poisons, efficiency.
Therefore, in order for the struggle to be successful, two conditions must be met:
- treatment should begin at the very early stages of the development of the lesion;
- the procedure should be performed no less than three times, with an interval of 7-10 days (more detailed recommendations are indicated on the packaging by the manufacturer of the specific drug).
Among the more powerful drugs, which, nevertheless, can be used for processing fruit bushes without special fears, we can name some growth stimulants, in particular, “Pennant», «Albite" or "Vermistim».
Since the frost resistance of Lohness is not very high, in regions where temperatures drop to -20 ° C in winter, especially if there is little snow and cold snap is often replaced by unexpected thaws, it is better to cover the bush with sawdust, light burlap, agricultural fiber, spanbond or, in extreme cases, leaf foliage in winter ( the option is not very successful, since pests and carriers of dangerous diseases can winter in organic residues).
Important! Lohness only bears fruit on two-year-old shoots. Therefore, young branches should always be left to form a crop on them next year, and those that already had berries should be completely cut off this fall.
Before proceeding with this procedure, mandatory autumn pruning is performed. It involves the removal of all sterilized shoots at ground level, in addition, it is necessary to cut off sick, dried, interfering branches. In regions with a harsh climate in late autumn, it is recommended to water the blackberry bush abundantly. In moist soil, the root system is less likely to freeze with a strong drop in temperature.
Harvesting and storage
Lohness refers to medium-late blackberry varieties, but the calendar maturity of the crop depends on the climatic zone of the bush growing. In the central regions of Russia, berries reach biological ripeness approximately in the middle or second half of August, in more southern regions, including Ukraine, this moment comes at least two weeks earlier.
Did you know? Loch Ness (literally translated “Cape Lake”) is a picturesque deep-sea lake in the west of Scotland, which became world famous after a local resident named Hugh Gray photographed a monster unknown to science in 1933 that supposedly appeared from the thickness of dark water. And although the fact of the existence of a monster affectionately named Nessie has not been confirmed, the lake to this day remains a real tourist Mecca.
A feature of the variety is also that the fruits ripen unevenly. Sometimes the process of picking berries can take a whole month, or even a half. But, to the credit of the creator of Lohness, it must be said that with the correct zoning, a blackberry always manages to fully mature before the first frost occurs.
The dense structure of the berry makes the process of collecting, transporting and storing the crop very simple - the fruits do not crumble, crumple and can remain completely fresh for several days. For longer storage, various harvesting methods are used - jams, compotes, freezing and even drying (the high sugar content of the berries makes them universal in terms of directions of use).
For the same reason, you can make excellent home-made wine, liquor or liquor from Lochness, and for children, such blackberry goodies as natural pastille, marshmallows, marmalade will be interesting.
Loch Ness is a great blackberry for both the professional farmer and the novice summer resident. The ordinary taste characteristics of these berries are more than offset by the many undeniable merits of the variety. The central place among them is occupied by the absence of thorns, regular and very high productivity, as well as unpretentiousness, thanks to which growing a fruit shrub does not require much effort from the gardener.