How to Prune Blackberries

by on November 27, 2012

Berries ripening on the vine at Bucklers Hard

Berries like blackberries and raspberries are a challenge to pick, due to their thorny canes. This is especially true if you are trying to pick wild berries, or simply picking from plants that have not been pruned often or well. It will make you happy to know that with proper annual pruning, you can keep your berry plants under control and thriving.

Why do I have to prune my berry plants?

Simply put, you don’t. Berry plants can do quite well if left to their own devices. Unfortunately, they can also take over an area easily if they are not pruned appropriately, and it is far easier to keep that overgrowth at bay than it is to tame it once it has happened. Untrimmed plants are also more prone to disease infestations.

How do I prune my blackberries?

When you first plant blackberries, snip off the tip of the growing ends of your plant. This will encourage more growth on side shoots that will produce the next seasons berries. At the end of the growing season in the fall, you should prune out any canes that bore fruit. Then at the beginning of spring, prune your plants back to half a dozen of the strongest canes.

You can prune dead canes at any time during the season. In fact, it is best that you remove them as soon as possible because dead canes can easily spread disease. For this reason, it is advisable to remove all blackberry cane prunings from the area and dispose of them.

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