Blackberries aren't quite as enthusiastic growers as raspberries, but they will yield better with regular pruning. And as with raspberries, they can be prone to diseases that spread rapidly in unmaintained plants.
How and When to Prune BlackberriesBlackberries can also have dangerous thorns. Gloves are recommended and clean, sharp tools are also necessary. There are some modern blackberry varieties that are virtually thornless and they make pruning a lot less hazardous.
Pinch or prune off the growing tips of all new canes to encourage side shoots (laterals). This is where next seasons blackberries will grow.
Newly Planted Blackberry Plants
Maintaining Bearing Blackberry Plants
- Prune out all canes that bore fruit, shortly after harvest. (It's advisable to dispose of all clippings, either by burning or taking to the dump. Dead canes can spread disease.)
- Thin canes to about 5 - 7 per plant.
- Prune side branches on remaining canes to about 12 inches or 12 buds.
- Tie the pruned canes to your fencing.
As with raspberry plants, you can prune broken, dead, diseased or infested canes at any time of the year, the sooner the better.
Pruning raspberries takes a little more thought, but it's still worth the effort. Here are the steps for pruning raspberry plants for a better harvest.