Pruning brambles – Facts for Fancy Fruit

Pruning brambles

March is a good time to finish pruning summer-bearing brambles. Last years fruited canes should be removed now if they were not removed last summer or fall. Remove weak or spindly floricanes and thin to 4-6 canes per foot of row. Laterals on blackberries and black raspberries should be shortened to about pencil diameter on thornless blackberries, or to 6 to 12 inches on black raspberries to promote flowering on strong wood. Red raspberry canes can be tipped if desired, but should not be tipped more than 1/4 of the total cane length. If the planting is trellised, the canes should be tied to the wires now before growth starts. Fall bearing types can be mowed to the ground now for a fall-only harvest. If a summer and fall crop is desired, remove the fruited tips and thin out weak floricanes. Remove and destroy the prunings to help prevent anthracnose and Botrytis gray mold. There may be some spring freeze injury this year in raspberries. I recently cut buds that had emerged early and they showed damage from the cold temperatures experienced in mid-March. The outer leaves were burned and on some cultivars the growing point was dead. It’s too early to tell how much crop loss to expect.


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