[NAFEX] Trellising Triple Crown

Don Yellman don.yellman at webformation.com
Wed Nov 21 01:55:22 EST 2007


The solution to your cane crowding problems may be some fundamental changes in your cultural practices with this cultivar, particularly with respect to pruning.   The fact that this very vigorous blackberry grows fast, with a lot of long canes, does not mean you should leave them all.  Plants should be spaced at a minimum distance of 4 feet apart under the trellis, and 6 feet is better.  The trellis should be at least 6 feet tall, and preferably a little taller.  Only three horizontal wires stretched across the trellis, spaced at roughly 18 inches apart are needed.  You can get by with two.  The top wire should be very close to the top bar of the trellis.  Individual primocanes coming up from below should be tied to the horizontal wires in a rough fan shape, and the main canes pinched back when they reach the top.  This will lead to formation of lateral canes which are also tied to the wires, and allowed to grow up to a length of 2-4 feet, depending on the degree of crowding
.  The objective is to expose all the fruiting laterals to sunlight, which they will need when the time comes to produce blackberries the following season.  Bundles of canes tied together will produce few berries of lower quality than fewer canes properly spaced.

As you have observed, tying all the canes together, whether at the top of the trellis or at any other point will result in a jumbled mess of canes and will not favor the production of blackberries.  If you can't spread them out on your trellis so that each cane is exposed to light, cut some of them out entirely.  Next July, when you begin picking blackberries, new primocanes will already be halfway up or more up the trellis.  Floricanes may be removed anytime after the last berry has been picked, which is not a difficult task if the trellis is not overcrowded.  Then you begin the pinching, pruning and training cycle over again with the new primocanes.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA  

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