Blackberry Plants - Knowledgebase Question

Fenton, Mi
Question by lgdretired
November 28, 2009
My Blackberry plants were planted one year ago. This season (though the weather was cooler and wetter than usual) they grew well. They stand nearly six feet tall and are strong, healthy looking specimens! However, only 2 or 3 bore large, tasty fruit. I suspect the 'others' did not get enough sun, perhaps. More importantly, how should they be trimmed back for the winter season? Larry


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Answer from NGA
November 28, 2009

0

Spring is usually the time to prune blackberries but since yours are quite long and they may whip around in the wind, you may want to wait until after a heavy frost has arrived and prune them back after they have gone dormant. Blackberry plants produce primocanes the first year which develop floral canes the second year. So, prune the primocanes back to 3-4 feet in height. This will force lateral floral canes next spring which will produce berries next summer. After you have harvested the berries from the cane you can prune it out completely. During the summer new primocanes will have grown from the crown of the plant. These are the canes that should be tipped back to encourage lateral growth the next spring and summer. After they have fruited, these primocanes should be cut down to ground level. This constant renewal process will keep your berry patch under control and will ensure you have berries every year. Hope this clarifies things for you. Enjoy your blackberry plants!

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