[NAFEX] Trellising blackberries on steriods

Mark & Helen Angermayer hangermayer at isp.com
Wed Nov 21 12:19:00 EST 2007

Thanks Don,

Evidently my trellis is a bit short.  I have a 5' trellis with wires at 2',
3', 4' and the top at 5'.  I also may have my plants too close, spaced at 3'
apart.  This summer I cut the canes at the top of the trellis (5').  They
did spread laterally, but it seems most of the growth was at the top.  My
question is, how many canes would you recommend I leave on each wire for
good quality fruit?  Also is it too late to start cutting out some of this
summers canes if there are too many, or have the fruit buds already formed
and the damage done?  This is the first year for these Triple Crown and
they're so vigorous.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Don Yellman" <don.yellman at webformation.com>
To: "North American Fruit Explorers" <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Wednesday, November 21, 2007 12:55 AM
Subject: [NAFEX] Trellising Triple Crown

> Mark:
> 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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