The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Summer pruning raspberries

Pinched tip of black raspberryTwo weeks ago, I pinched off the tops of the black raspberry canes.  Left to their own devices, black raspberry primocanes will grow so long they bend down and root a new plant at their tip.  This trait is useful if you're looking to expand your berry patch, but is less useful if you actually want to be able to get into the patch to pick berries.

If you choose to keep your plants contained, you can pinch off the tips when the brambles reach waist high.  In most plants, apical dominance tells the plant to put all of its energy into growing the main shoot, but if that main shoot is gone, the side buds are allowed to grow.  The bottom photo shows what one plant looks like two weeks after pinching.  Notice how the side shoots have grown out --- these will all be coated with fruits next year when the primocane becomes a floricane.

Black raspberry two weeks after summer pruningI've similarly pruned our cultivated blackberries.  Blackberries usually aren't tip-rooters, but mine are, and I've also found that they will grow primocanes a dozen feet long if left to their own devices.  I prefer the plants to stay contained in my obsessive rows, so I take a few minutes to summer prune.

Make a homemade chicken waterer and escape for the weekend without worrying about your flock.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I planted quite a few thorn less blackberries this spring. I see what looks like thorns on your plants. What is your opinion on the type of plants I put in.
Comment by zimmy Sun Jun 13 09:21:43 2010
I haven't seen a black raspberry variety without thorns, though none of them are too thorny. Our blackberries are thornless, though, and I love them. That said, I also tried two other varieties of thornless blackberries that lacked vigor and barely made any fruits. I think with thornless blackberries, it's important to find a variety well suited to your climate.
Comment by anna Sun Jun 13 10:55:56 2010

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