Berries can be profitable in Texas, if managed right

11/14/2012 08:52:00 AM
Vicky Boyd

blackberriesCourtesy Texas AgriLifeProviding they plant suitable varieties and manage them accordingly, growers in Texas can profit from berries, whether black or blue.

Blackberries do well in the Lone Star state since they are improved varieties from wild dewberries, which grow along the roadsides of most Southern states, according to a news release.

Blackberries come into full production within two years, bloom later in spring and provide a long harvest that may last into the fall.

They grow best in sandy soils and in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Hardiness Zones 7, 8 and 9.

About 70 percent of expenses are tied to harvest labor, according to Monte Nesbitt, Texas AgriLife Extension horticulture program specialist.

They must be picked when ripe since they do not continue ripening after harvest.

Blackberries may produce for more than 20 years and may yield up to 10,000 per acre, if well managed.

Blueberries also can be profitable but take a bit more attention than blackberries.

Each plan can yield up to 15 pounds for a total of 9,000 pounds per acre.

The biggest challenge is the acid soil—4.0-5.0 pH—they require.

Rabbiteye blueberries, native to the Southeast, do best in east Texas.

Most rabbiteye varieties need cross-pollination from another variety for good fruit set.

Harvest can extend from May to August, depending on the varieties.

To view a series of how-to videos produced by Nesbitt and horticulturists Jim Kamas and Larry Stein, visit aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu.



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