Monday, April 27, 2015

Diagnosing Blackberries

So, every year, the blackberries seem to bloom, berries form... and then nothing.  The fruit never ripens, or maybe it turns shriveled.  I can't really remember.

So this year, we have kept a close eye on them.  Anything that looks out of the ordinary, we run over to the Natural Gardener.

The first thing Dave noticed a few weeks ago was that the new leaves were all much paler than they should have been.  

We ran a leaf over to NG, and they suggest the plant might be low on iron.  So, we have been diligently watering with Maxicrop Seaweed with Iron (about once per week). We have seen some of the leaves at the bottom turn darker, and the ones at the top now have dark veins, but the leaves remain lighter than they should be (as evidenced by the leaves above, which have received three to four treatments of Seaweed iron)

Then this weekend, we noticed a large number of holes in the leaves. 

This jostled my memory, and I realize that this has happened in previous years.  in fact, it started off with a few holes, and then took over the whole plant.  

I ran over to NG, and showed them my leaf:

Based on the brown edges around the leaf, the gardener there thought the problem was fungus and not insect.  When I was dubious, she suggested that I go out in the evening with a flashlight (around dusk), and watch and see if I saw any pill bugs, snails or slugs feasting on my leaves.  If not, she was sticking with the fungus idea.

So today, I slathered all of the leaves in Serenade.  She suggested I do this twice a week, and I should see the problem go away in the new two weeks. The leaves will not heal, but the holes should not get any worse.

As a gauge for whether it is working, I will use the top photo from above to determine if the problem gets any worse on that branch.

On the plus side, a few of the blackberries have gotten somewhat large, and some seem to have a faint tinge of black to them...

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