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Two spectacular soft fruit plants - Loganberry and
29 Sep

Two spectacular soft fruit plants - Loganberry and

Posted By: rocket veg Category: Seasonal Tips

If you have the space and would like to grow a spectacular plant which will reward you with pounds of luscious, juicy berries – read on. Logan and tayberries are long-established examples of hybrid soft fruit plants, bred to get the best of two or more varieties of existing species. Both were created by crossing specific varieties of blackberry and raspberry, loganberry named after an American horticulturalist and lawyer, James Harvey Logan, whereas the tayberry takes its name from the River Tay in Scotland, a country well-regarded for producing excellent species of raspberry due to the excellent soil and temperate climate.

I have both species growing on my allotment, a thornless loganberry of dramatic proportions which spans a complete bed when it’s at the height of glory in mid-summer; and a tayberry which although less vigorous in habit is covered with a myriad of tiny, needle-sharp thorns. The fruit of both plants is delicious, a real summer treat when eaten with cream or as part of a summer pudding. It also makes wonderful, though slightly pippy, jam.

Planting, space and support

Late autumn and early winter are the best times to plant both types, but not when the soil is frozen. There are quite a few varieties of each, so do a bit of research and select one which best suits your requirements in terms of eventual height and spread, as well as with or without thorns. You may be lucky enough to obtain a ‘logan’ or ‘tay’ from a tip rooting someone has pulled up, which is how I acquired my tayberry. Choose a sunny spot and as with most plants, enrich the soil with good compost or well-rotted manure before planting.

From what you have read so far, you will have gathered that both species need space to stretch their out their long shoots, so allow a span of at least 4m (12 feet), either planting in the middle and training the shoots in both directions, or plant at the end and tie all the shoots along the same way, alternating higher or lower along the support each year. A good, strong framework to provide support is essential. My tayberry straggles along a wire fence, but I have constructed a frame consisting of four tall (1.8m above ground), sturdy posts to which I have tied a couple of rows of long canes using cable ties. Use soft twine when tying in the new shoots.

Pruning and training Loganberries and Tayberries

Pruning is a straightforward matter, as long as you follow the basic principle of cutting out the stems which produced fruit that season, then tying in the new shoots to allow them space and support to develop and fruit the following year. If this sounds complicated, I can assure you that it is isn’t: once fruited, the old stems and their leaves quickly begin to discolour, thereby identifying themselves for cutting. When tying in the new shoots, be creative! As well as looking fanciful, curves and loops also allow light and air to filter through the stems, thereby encouraging strong growth and a heavy crop of fruit.

One last piece of advice…

It takes up to two years for a loganberry or tayberry to develop as a mature, fruiting specimen, so if you are tempted to grow one, plant this year and train the new shoots as they develop next spring. You may be rewarded with a modest crop next summer, but from then on, you should be inundated with gorgeous fruit.

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