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Blackberry pruning – when and how to do it right

If you are new to the technique of pruning Blackberries, you may find yourself struggling with some problems. Read on so as not to make mistakes.

You can trim a blackberry throughout the entire warm season, from spring to autumn. The scheme largely depends on its purpose and purpose.

Black blackberry after pruning

Why does blackberry need pruning?

During the growing season, blackberry bushes look very attractive. They are lush, well leafy and, of course, giving excellent crops.

Blackberry crop

It is worth knowing that blackberries belong to two-year-old crops. This means that in the first year after planting, only the growth of young shoots occurs – they gain strength and plant many fruit buds. Fruiting occurs in the second year – it is at this time that they bloom and yield a crop.

Blackberry flowers

Then the shoots grow old. They can no longer be useful, i.e. give berries, but at the same time the bush continues to provide useless shoots with all the necessary substances. Although, he could spend his resources more rationally.

Properly performed pruning will allow you to correctly redistribute nutrients and only young and fruiting branches can receive them. This will positively affect the crop as a whole.

In addition to the formation of the fruiting bush of the blackberry itself, the removal of numerous basal shoots is also required. Some blackberry varieties have a lot of it.

You need to know that a heavily thickened bush does not let in enough sunlight, which automatically leads to the following problems:

  • Small berries;
  • Weakening of the blackberry bush as a whole, since the plant is forced to intensively waste its strength on useless shoots;
  • The development of diseases due to weakening of the bush;
  • Freezing plantings of blackberries in cold winters – the fewer branches near the bush, the easier it is to cover it.

Blackberry small berries

Properly pruned well affects the flowering and fruiting of the bush in the next season.

Blackberry flower

Spring pruning of blackberries helps to remove shoots that could not survive the winter cold. Indeed, sometimes even high-quality insulated bushes can freeze due to too low temperatures.

In addition, even good care cannot guarantee that the blackberry branches do not break off under the gusts of a strong wind. Clipping of diseased and mice-bitten branches also positively affects the condition of the plant.

When cropping, remember the following:

  • In the spring it is carried out until the swelling of the kidneys;
  • In the fall – after the fruiting is fully completed.

Video: How to prune blackberries for better harvests

Spring and fall pruning blackberries – recommendations

It is worth remembering that the pruning process is quite a difficult event, since the blackberry is a prickly plant.

Blackberry spikes

There are several recommendations that can help you do everything correctly:

  • The very first pruning is performed immediately after rooting the bush. The branches must be shortened to a height of 25 cm.
  • In the summer, it is necessary to remove all emerging shoots. In addition, it is allowed to remove weak and diseased shoots, as well as branches that violate the appearance of the bush.
  • In the first autumn after planting a blackberry, no more than 10 branches are left at the bush. A healthy plant, as a rule, has just such a number of shoots. If there are more of them, then you need to leave only the strongest, and cut the rest. You need to remove them just below the soil level.
  • Shoots of direct growing blackberry varieties should not exceed 1.8 m in height. In the creeping species, the lashes are cut, starting from the point of bending. The cut is done immediately after the first kidney.
  • The next spring after planting, all branches damaged by mice or frost are cut. All remaining shoots are shortened (from the crown) to a height of up to 15 cm – to the first healthy kidney.
  • Sometimes gardeners practice summer pruning. Perform it at the very beginning, shortening the fruiting shoots. This technique “makes” the bush to produce berries in the middle of the shoots, and also has a stimulating effect on the bush itself – it gives a greater number of shoots.

Video: When and why pruning blackberry plants

Rules of Autumn pruning

  • Autumn pruning is carried out annually;
  • Seedling shoots are removed completely, at the very root;
  • Weak, too short and damaged shoots are subject to cutting;
  • Young branches need to be shortened by about ¼ part of the length;
  • “Stumps” cannot be left, since they are clones to decay – shoots must always be cut off above the kidney.

Experienced gardeners recommend: if you do not like the appearance of the shoot, it is better to completely remove this branch. A well thinned, and therefore healthy blackberry bush, will yield a much larger crop than thickened with weak and diseased shoots.

Blackberry yellow shoots

Thoroughly inspect the blackberry bushes after wintering. It is important to timely cut all dead branches. You can determine them by their appearance – such shoots have a black bark, are fragile and easily break. Healthy and overwintered branches are always resilient, with a slightly shiny brown bark.

Before pruning, you need to calculate how many branches have successfully wintered.

  • If at least 6 shoots survived the winter, then the plant tolerated wintering well. It will give a good harvest.
  • If there are 4 shoots left alive, then this is also a good result.
  • If 3 or fewer shoots are left unfrozen, then this is an indicator of bush viability. It can be deleted.

Blackberry in winter

There are also rules for normalizing shoots. To obtain a good harvest of berries at the bush, it is necessary to leave a certain number of young branches.

  • For upright blackberries – 4 to 7 shoots. For creeping varieties – 7 – 10 branches.
  • In both cases, it is allowed to make a small margin of 1 – 2 branches. In the spring, during the preparation of the bush for fruiting, all unnecessary can be removed.

The procedure for standard pruning of a blackberry bush Blackberry pruning is done as follows:

  • With the help of a delimbing knife, it is necessary to completely cut out all the thawed branches.
  • Be sure to thin out the young shoots, leaving only the strongest. Those who have been rejected need to trim the tops. This stimulates the growth of side shoots.
  • It is necessary to remove all root growth with a shovel.
  • Then break through the planting and remove all excess garbage.
  • Close the base of the bushes with foliage or peat.

Regular blackberry pruning is a must. Otherwise, you cannot count on getting a good harvest.

Video: When to prune blackberry bushes

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