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 and purple raspberries should be trimmed back to about 2/3 to 3/4 of their original length 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 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, or the fruited tips can be removed if a summer and fall harvest is desired. Remove and destroy the prunings to help prevent anthracnose and botrytis. There may be some winter injury this year in blackberries. I will not be surprised to see floricanes completely fail to leaf out, or leaf out then collapse during the first hot weather. This is especially true in the southern half of the state where temperatures in late February reached -15° F or colder.

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