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How to Prune Blackberries

By Yolanda Vanveen ; Updated September 21, 2017

When pruning blackberries, direct the wild branches back onto the fence and cut them back as much as possible. Pull up the main plant of blackberries with help from a sustainable gardener in this free video on gardening tips.


Hi, this is Yolanda Vanveen. And in this segment we're going to talk about how to prune blackberries. Now some people grow blackberries as a fruit in their garden. And they keep them on a fence or a string and grow them just like you would a raspberry or other berries on a vine. And you would just grow them along the vine or along the fence and just trim them back every years, and direct them any of the shoots onto the fence and they'll grow beautiful berries every year. Well we live in the north-west. And blackberries are a huge invasive weed here. And on our property we have probably a half an acre or more in the back that's just covered with blackberries. And we are slowly but surely getting rid of these blackberries a little bit at a time. But whether you're growing in your garden or they're an invasive weed in your garden there's a few rules you can follow on pruning them. So blackberries produce a flower and then the flower produces a berry. And then they eventually turn black. And those are blackberries and they just taste so good, and the deer love them as well. And as you're pruning them back if you were in your garden, you want to direct all the wild branches back onto your fence or wherever you're growing them. But in our situation we are just hacking and hacking and hacking. And it seems that the more you cut the more they grow. And so the key too is like other plants if you are; cut them to where a leaf meets. And that way they'll fill out a lot more. So when you're pruning back your blackberries you've got to realize every little piece of blackberry vine, if it touches the ground in any way will root itself that quickly and start new roots. And if you look really closely the have little pink eyes and that's where it'll grow a new stem. And it's amazing; they will take over an entire area if you let them within a couple years. So the key is to cut them back as much as you can. So the only way to get rid of blackberries is to chop and chop, and chop, and chop until you get down to the ground. And when you get to the main plant in the ground you pull them up. There's really no other way to do it. And even chemicals in the long run don't seem to work very well. Blackberries grow so easily. So even if you cut them all the way to the ground they're going to come up lush the next year because they love to be cut back. You can always leave the main branches and if there's any wild branches put them back onto the fence or wherever you're growing them. But in a situation like ours, we are just hacking and hacking them. And make sure to wear gloves and long sleeves because they are pretty wicked.


About the Author


Yolanda Vanveen is a third-generation flower grower and sustainable gardener who lives in Kalama, Wash. She is the owner of VanveenBulbs.com, selling flower bulbs on the Internet, at garden shows and at farmers markets in the Pacific Northwest for more than 20 years. Vanveen holds a degree in communications and international studies from Linfield College, and is a graduate of the WSU Master Gardener Program. Vanveen represented the United States at the 2006 Indigenous Bulb Society Symposium in South Africa and has been featured on the PBS show Smart Gardening, demonstrating which way is up with flower bulbs.