Blackberries: Autumn pruning

This year I’ve had a superb haul off of the blackberry bushes located toward the bottom of the plot. These blackberries grow wild at the plot and if they’re kept under control you can train the wild sprouts into some really decent plants and make use of the fruits that come with them.

Soon after they’ve flowered and you’ve picked the fruit, it’s a really idea to give the plants a prune to encourage new growth and to keep the mass of foliage under control – blackberries, hybrid berries and brambles are notorious for growing out of control at a rapid pace.

Generally throughout the year, I tend to prune the blackberry bushes here and there, and if I’m honest there’s no real hard and fast rules when it comes to pruning. The only rule I follow with these triffidesque plants is that if you feel that they’re in the way, don’t be afraid to give them the chop.

The other rule I have is to always wear decent, thick gloves. The thorns are notoriously vicious and can result in bloodshed if you’re not careful.

When pruning, I try my best to try and chop off all of the old berries and the dead flowers, I also try and cut back as far as I can to main leading stem, to encourage side shoots and shoots that look like they’re going to flower.

I have about five rows of blackberry plants, that are held together with wire – out of those five rows, I selected two rows to cut right back to the bottom of the plant. I wasn’t quite happy with the direction of the shoots, so I plan to start again with these particular plants.

Because blackberry plants are quite resilient, I’m not afraid to prune quite harshly – I do leave around a foot of stem from the main root of the plant however, so that I can see where the plant is and train it accordingly across the wire.

I usually find that doing jobs like this at the allotment a really gratifying task – it’s not a particularly difficult thing to do and you find that you have actually achieved something when you sit down and admire your efforts with a cup of tea.

I also find that you feel like you’ve gained some space at the time. To show you what I mean, I’ve included some before and after shots below.

If you’ve pruned some blackberries I’d love to hear any tips that you may have?

2017-09-18T20:35:16+00:00

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