Pruning Blackberries

Daniel Gill  |  7/30/2015 8:07:52 PM

I have erect and semi-erect thornless blackberry varieties. After harvest, the new canes were topped at about 3 to 4 ft. as per instructions from various resources. Now, I have lateral growth, some of which is in excess of 3 ft. and reaching the ground. I understand from instructional information that these laterals should be cut back to 12 inches. However, I am unable to determine when for sure this should be done; now or this winter. I would appreciate any help you might be able to provide. Thank you.

- Jim A.

That pruning is done in early spring before growth starts. Here is an excerpt on pruning from our online blackberry publication (link below).

After removing floricanes, top the new primocanes by removing about 6 inches of growth from the tip in the summer when they reach a height of 3 to 4 feet. Heading the new canes back early in the growing season encourages lateral branch development on which fruit will be produced the next year.

Three or four canes of the erect varieties and four to eight canes of the trailing varieties should be selected for fruiting wood the following year.

Remove dead and weak shoots in the winter.

Cut lateral branches back to about 12 inches in length before growth starts in the spring.

Growing Blackberries for Pleasure and Profit

Dan Gill
Consumer Horticulture Specialist

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