Pruning

Different types of brambles require specific pruning methods.

Red raspberries. Around mid-March, thin canes leaving three or four per linear foot of row (see Figure 23). Prune off winter-damaged tips. Cut top canes no more than 1 foot beyond the top wire of the trellis but below the point of any winter injury. (Lower the trellis wire if damaged canes require hard pruning.) Tie canes loosely to the trellis wire to prevent wind damage.

Black raspberries. In the summer when the primocanes reach about 2 feet tall, cut back their tips at least 4 inches to encourage lateral growth. By the end of the season, primocanes will be branched with long laterals. These

Figure 22. With a V-trellis, primocanes grow in the center of the V the first year (left). During their second season (when they become fruit-bearing floricanes), tie them to the trellis to keep them from shading the new primocanes (right). This system also makes the berries easier to harvest.

should be supported by trellis wires in the winter to prevent breakage from snow. In early spring, remove any winter-damaged wood and shorten the laterals to about 1 foot long to increase berry size. Thin canes to about two or three per linear foot of row.

Purple raspberries. Purple raspberries are hybrids of red and black raspberries and can be managed like either. However, when managed like red raspberries, they grow very tall and don't yield as well. A better alternative might be to pinch primocanes when they are about 3 to 4 feet tall in June. This produces a stockier plant, more laterals, and better yields, but there is some increased risk of disease, especially if weather is hot and wet following pinching. In early spring, remove any winter-damaged wood and shorten the laterals to about 1 foot long to increase berry size. Thin canes to about two or three per linear foot of row.

Thorny blackberries. Prune twice, similar to pruning black raspberries. Tip primocanes when they are about 3 to 4 feet tall in the summer to stiffen the canes and encourage lateral branching. In early spring, shorten the lateral branches to between 12 and 16 inches, and thin canes to two per linear foot of row. Alternate-year mowing helps avoid the difficult task of pruning (see "Cane Management," page 69).

Thornless blackberries. In early spring, shorten fruiting canes to the top trellis wire, or weave them around the wire. Shorten laterals to about 18 inches. Low-growing laterals are less likely to suffer winter injury. For good production, maintain six to eight canes per clump.

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