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I Have 4 Rows Of Blackberries. Should I Be Using…

Irene Asked

I have 4 rows of blackberries. Should I be using a soaker hose to water. I read somewhere that watering was not necessary???
We just visited New Orleans and they have crepe myrtles in bushes and trees. Their pink flowers are large, soft and fluffy. Is the soil in ky appropriate for these or are there many varieties. We have crepe myrtles but they look nothing likethose in New Orleans.
Thank you for your expertise.

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The Gardener’s Answer

Hello, Irene in Kentucky: Even established plant material requires supplemental water if Mother Nature does not provide adequate moisture. We have had such a hot and dry growing season so far that additional moisture is necessary to maintain the health of your berries. As a general rule, new plantings should receive 1.5-2 inches of water per week from April until late fall. If an inch of rain each week is provided, no additional watering will be needed. Otherwise, soaking your berries two to three times per week during the hottest, driest months will be necessary. You can let the hose trickle at the base of the berries for approximately 20-30 minutes. It is best to mimic a steady rain so deep, infrequent soakings are preferred to frequent, shallow watering. A thin layer of mulch will help retain the moisture. Avoid piling the mulch around the base of the trunks and make sure that it is no more than 2 inches thick. Otherwise it can encourage insect and disease issues. As far as Crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia) go, they are a great Southern planting. They are grown in hardiness zones 6 through 9. As Kentucky gardeners we are on the lower edge and gardeners in New Orleans are gardening in zones 8 or 9. There are many cultivars of Crapemyrtles and some are hardier than others but we can certainly grow them here. They are available in a wide range of sizes as well as bloom color. There are smaller shrub forms like ‘Razzle Dazzle’ and there are larger tree options that can be single or multi-trunked. Crapemyrtles flower, depending on cultivar in white, shades of pinks, purples and reds. In Kentucky we do not recommend planting these until later in the spring or early summer because they can be temperamental in our zone(s). We also avoid planting them later in the fall for the same reason. Visit your local garden center to see what cultivars they carry or if you have a specific bloom color in mind I can give you cultivar recommendations.

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