New to growing Blackberries

icantdriveJune 14, 2013

I recently purchased a blackberry plant. When I purchased it from the nursery it was tied to 3 stakes in the center of the pot for support. I planted it as is and left the stakes in. Now there is one branch which has grown far out to the side and I think I need to trellis is.

My questions are, how exactly should I trellis it? Should I put something behind it to tie the branch to? Are tomato cages a good option? Should I remove the support that I planted it with?

I am also wondering about pruning. What do I cut back? Where do I cut it? And when? At the end of the season?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

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Any idea what variety of blackberry it is? I'm guessing it might be a black satin that came in a Monrovia pot? If so, it is semi erect and will likely need a trellis or you'll need to keep it pruned back to about 4-5 ft tall. The canes next year will be more erect and not so trailing.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 2:50PM
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Yes! That is exactly the kind of blackberry plant it is. I asked the nursery where I purchased it and they recommended a tomato cage. So I am going to try that and see how it goes. Think I should leave the original stakes it has in there or remove them?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 6:47PM
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A tomato cage will be entirely inadequate. Trust me, I have the exact same plant. Next year it'll put up four or five new canes that will be 10 plus feet long each. It needs a trellis or three or four really big stakes. Mine is on a three wire trellis with t-posts. If it's close enough to the fence you could get it to grow up onto it. But you'll need access to both sides of the fence for picking.

Check out the link to a picture I found online to see what a few of these plants can do. These look about like my black satin does this year.

As far as the stakes go, you can just leave them for now. After it finishes fruiting, remove the stakes and cut those canes to the ground. The cane(s) that grow this year will fruit next year.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 9:57PM
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If you intend to keep your blackberry planting at just one clump of canes, a single metal fence stake with flukes on one end driven 18" into the ground is all the support you would need. Drive it in about a foot from the current clump.

Just lasso the canes loosely to the stake to keep them mostly vertical. Cut the new unblooming canes to 5 feet, or stake height. Cut the branches that form on those to 2 or 3 feet. That will give you a gallon or two of berries each year.

You can cut back the canes that bore fruit after all the fruit is picked. Cut back to below the first leaf node, less than a foot above the ground. By the time you have picked all the berries off the old canes, the new ones should already be tall, pruned to height, and forming branches.

If you eventually want a bigger planting, the one posted by drewbym is excellent.

Doesn't matter if you remove the original stakes, but those small dowels will rot before many years. If you pull them out, poke some dirt down the voids to fill them in.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 11:36PM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

I have a navaho that grows just as large. New canes that come out of the ground are easily bent and wire-tied along wires on my trellis (4in x 4in x 8ft posts supporting wires 18"apart). This keeps them well-supported and accessible, not to mention easier to toss bird net over the next spring. On previous years I didn't think to bend the new growth as it came out of the ground, so I used to weigh those canes down in the winter by laying stuff over them. Sometimes they would crack at a 90-degree bend but would actually heal and come back to life in the spring. It makes sense to me now to simply grab these new canes when they are new, soft and pliable and will them how you want them to grow.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 12:01AM
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