Prune Cane Berries Now, They'll Crop Up Next Year

For those lucky enough to have a cane berry patch--blackberries, raspberries or boysenberries--the crops are just about over in most areas. It is the time to prune back the canes to ensure a good crop next year.

Blackberries will bear fruit next year on the canes that started this year. They will not produce again on the same cane, so trim them now, when you can still remember where you had the berries.

If you can't remember, the shoots coming up from the base are the new shoots that will bear next year. Be sure to train the new shoots onto a trellis so they'll be ready for next year's crop.

Raspberries, both standard and ever-bearing, cooperate by telling you what to prune. The canes that will no longer produce die--whether they are the ever-bearer that does produce for the two years or the standard that waits until the cane is 2 years old to produce. The new canes will spring up from the base or from root suckers. Pruning can be done on the canes that will produce next year because every bud on the cane will produce fruit, with the lower buds producing larger fruit.

Boysenberries are really blackberries and should be treated as such. They will grow anywhere that it is cool enough in the winter and can survive if the canes are left on the ground and covered with straw to protect them. The crops are very heavy and popular for that reason, although seeds are rather large.

Remember that all berries really like the soil to be at least damp most of the time, but keeping their feet in water is a no-no. Good drainage solves that. Most plants like a good feeding of a fourth of a pound of nitrogen per plant each year.

Check with a California Certified Nurseryman at your local nursery for the best product and timing for plants in your area.

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