Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Zone 5b - Maine - Borealis and Tundra Haskap update

Borealis blossoms, May 12, 2014
(planted spring 2012)
Same Borealis bush June 3, 2014
It has been a very cold/late spring in Maine and many of my thornless blackberries and even red raspberries experienced moderate to severe  winter die back.... Haskaps loved it! and I also believe around 95% of the flowers put out were pollinated thanks to mr bumble bee! 

Tundra blossoms May 12, 2014
Same Tundra bush June 3, 2014

I was worried the interior of my plants would remain un-pollinated  due to how thick they are but the bumble bees would just land on the plants and walk their way through the plants from flower to flower (average time a bumble bee would spend on each bush was well over 2 minutes) then just fly to the next haskap plant in the row, ignoring all other flowers in-between in the process. At one point I had a highway of bumble bees going up and down my haskap row.

June 3, 2014 Haskap berries
I have only ever pruned one Tundra while it was in growth (late April) as a personal growth experiment and found it to be extremely detrimental. Instead of spurring new shoot growth it seemed to dramatically slow the plants growth for the rest of the year. I think pruning late fall is the way to go. (Editor's note: A Polish study reports pruning is not recommended until bush is mature, after six years).

The first 2 years the deer really ate all 6 of them back heavily during the fall, this is why I think why the Tundra plants I have seem just as bushy as the Borealis. (Editor's note: Borealis and Tundra are difficult to distinguish the first couple of years anyways, but as they mature, Tundra is significantly more open and sprawling, while Borealis forms a dense dome of branches and leaves. Deer or rabbit pruning does encourage more shoots from the roots. Whether this is recommended in the long term, we don't know, as it takes awhile for the bush to catch up to its unpruned state. Borealis seems bushy enough as it is, while maybe it is beneficial to Tundra to encourage more shoots from the roots.)

Berry Smart Blue fall 2013
(Planted spring 2012)
Berry Smart Blue grows upwards a lot faster and blooms a fair bit sooner then the other two leaving not much overlap but enough (2 weeks this year only 1 last). (Editor's Note: Berry Smart Blue, (aka Czech No. 17) is a Russian cultivar that pollinates with Borealis and Tundra. It has slightly smaller and tarter tubular berries, with some berry drop and leaves turn color earlier as well, but a productive and vigorous bush that fills out more solidly with maturity.)

Brian, coastal Maine

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