Blackberry with NO new canes?

NilaJones(7b)June 27, 2013

Hello, folks --

I saw the thread for blackberry with FEW new canes, but thought this might be a different problem...

My favorite blackberry (unfortunately a well-meaning friend threw away the tags -- I have learned my lesson and now make planting maps, but this berry I do not have a name for) has, this year, one cane about 15 feet long, with lots of fruit. But, so far, no new canes for next year! Is there anything I can do to encourage it?

It has a ton of root space and compost. It had, last year, been crowded and shaded out by other plants, so this year I put it in a large (20-inch) pot in a sunny, airy location. I have other blackberries in smaller pots/bigger plants, and they are happy. And this plant seems very happy in terms of top growth and fruits, just no new canes.

It has a chipped-wood mulch. I don't THINK it is deep enough to prevent sprouting, but I tried pulling the mulch back, about 6 weeks ago. Still no sprouts. Should I remove it completely?

I know they are tough plants and if I leave it alone it will probably survive and make canes next year, but that means skipping a year of fruit. Alternative suggestions would be welcome :).

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I would just wait. It is very unusual to not have new canes by now, but on the other hand there is still lots of time for new canes to emerge and grow well. I'm in zone 3 and the new canes on my blackberries are only about a foot or two long now, but they will probably reach 8' or more by September and will be my fruiting canes next year. So if I've got time for canes to grow and mature, you certainly have time, 4-5 zones warmer. If nothing's up in another month, then you've got a problem.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 2:20AM
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I was the guy posting about only having one new cane. Still just that one loner... Guess its better than none, though.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 12:13PM
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Thanks for the good wishes, lawanddisorder. I wish the same for you!

And thank you don555, but I am in zone 7 and the new canes on other varieties here are 12 feet already :(.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 12:51PM
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dmtaylor(5a (WI))

I have a Chester blackberry that only puts out one single new cane each year. Probably doesn't help that it grows in the shade for 2/3 of the day, but still disappointing. Last year I encouraged it to spread by burying a side branch below the ground. Now this year it looks like that buried side branch is the sole source for the sole new cane coming up this year. Otherwise maybe I wouldn't have gotten anything!? Not happy with this plant. The Illini Hardy blackberry that I just planted this spring right next to it already has two new canes like 4 feet high. Grows in the same shade and everything. Very impressive in comparison. I might tear out the Chester next year if it doesn't put out more than one cane.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 3:36PM
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dmtaylor, not sure if you need to mulch your canes in zone 5, I sure do in zone 3. My plants are Chester -- I know Illini is supposed to be hardier, but the trailing canes of Chester are much easier to lay down and cover than the vertical canes of Illini. A consideration if you cover your plants.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 3:43PM
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I mulch my Chesters and i average 5 new canes on each of my 8 Chesters. Some have 7 some have 4 just depends. Mulching, drip lines, and fertilization 2-3 times per year does amazing things.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 3:53PM
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The key phrase above is: "so this year I put it in a large (20-inch) pot...".

A recently transplanted caneberry can do everything or nothing the first year.

You will have to rely on your other blackberry plants for fruit this year.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 10:55PM
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Oh, it has a lot of fruit this year! It's next year I worry about :(. But I appreciate the encouragement that this may be transplant related.


Will layering (laying down canes and covering) or taking cuttings work if I do them with a fruiting, second-year cane? 'Cause that's all I have... should I try it?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 12:47AM
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megan_anne(TX U.S. z8a)

I noticed that Nila did not get an answer to her question about layering second-year fruiting canes. For the benefit of those who have stumbled on this thread via a Google search-- the answer is 'No, a floricane will not propagate through tip layering.' Once a floricane (second year cane) has made fruit, it's basically 'retired'. It has done what it's going to do and it is normally pruned off.

I'm dealing with a fairly new 'Navajo' that's only got one new cane. This is its second year in the garden (planted in 2013) and it produced very well this spring. But it only has ONE vigorous new cane, despite good watering, fertilizer and seemingly 'good' growing conditions! I plan to tip layer that cane a bit early so that I can get a new plant off the mother AND still be able to prune to get that one lonesome cane as full as possible. I did get a few 'crown suckers' that already had a bit of a root system on them, and I have those rooting now. They're still tiny in size as far as plants go, but they're definitely growing. I think they might become productive in a year or two, but we shall see... it's just an experiment that costs me nothing but a pot and some soil and a wee bit of space if it fails.

To sum up: Tip layering BB's is done with PRIMOcanes, not completed, retired FLORIcanes. However, one can propagate BB's in other ways. :)

~Megan Anne

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 10:49PM
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