Pruning Brambles – Facts for Fancy Fruit

Pruning Brambles

It’s been a cool spring this year and brambles are still mostly dormant in the Lafayette area. This is a good time to finish pruning chores. In summer fruiting types, this past year’s fruited canes should be removed if they were not removed last summer or fall. Remove weak or spindly floricanes and thin to 4-6 canes per foot of row depending on vigor and type. Laterals on blackberries and black raspberries should be shortened to about pencil diameter on thornless blackberries (these could be 3 to 4 feet long), or to 6 to 12 inches on black raspberries to promote flowering on strong wood. Strong wood produces the largest fruit. Red raspberry canes can be tipped if desired, but no more than about 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 handled in two ways: either mowed to the ground for a fall-only harvest on primocanes; or if a summer and fall crop is desired, retain the floricanes but remove the fruited tips and thin out weak floricanes.

Remove and/or destroy the prunings to help prevent diseases. It is better to remove and burn the prunings than mow or flail chop in the planting.

There may be some winter  injury this year in blackberries, depending on location in the state. See the related article on winter injury in this issue.


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