Blackberries In Tomato Cages vs Trellis?

Does anyone grow erect blackberries in large tomato cages?

Thinking same cages I built for my tomatoes out of concrete re-mesh- 5 ft tall and maybe 2.5 to 3 feet diameter.

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Kind of redundant to have an erect variety then imprison it. A good variety will have 5 or so strong canes from the crown… factor that plus all the laterals and 3 feet isnt enough. If you want to limit the crown to one cane it would be ok.

Not factoring in how much harder it will be to remove spent canes and do your pruning thru the holes of the mesh.


That makes sense, may go with a trellis of some sort. And try to keep the row width to maybe a foot to prevent a jungle.

I like using simple stakes with the upright types, well with the trailing types too. What got me using them. I would wrap the trailing type canes in a loop and secure the sides of the loop to a stake. Although most of my plants are on a trellis. I used simple electrical conduit steel poles, the cheaper ones, sunk them 4 feet. Drilled holes in them, used trellis wire and tighteners. Love it.


What height are your wires- about 3 ft and 5 ft? Then you tie to the wires, right? I might put an 18 inch crossarm and run wire on ends of the crossarm, just let the canes grow untied inside that 18 inch space. But not sure if they would still need to be tied up.

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Yes, works best for me.

Yes, AI loop them through the poles, twist tight. I also tie to a tightener, see 2nd photo.

Heavy duty tighteners

Photos from 2013. The yard looks completely different now. All trellis wires and poles look exactly the same. Held up 9 years so far. All steel!


A single stake per clump will work fine for upright varieties if you are keeping laterals short, just lasso the whole mess loosely to the stake.

The trellis and arm method is fine also; in early to mid summer you need to inspect the berry patch every two days to keep the primocane tips within the crossarm wires; a certain percentage of these will not cooperate on their own and once they are a foot or two taller than the wires, it can be tricky to coax them inbounds without breakage.


Thanks. If I keep my cane bed one foot in width, can I do six feet between rows and still have a path to walk down between the rows?

I really like the V trellis best now… you can tie your fruiting canes to either side of the V… and your primocanes have plenty of room to come up in the middle. Blackberries or raspberries from now on… mine will be done like that.

If you do get 5 nice canes off one crown… tie 3 to one side and two to the other.


With V trellis are second year canes bendy enough to tie to one side of the V?

There is a new V trellis I setup last year for an 8 ft long bed of raaberries… mostly black in there but a few reds too.

I used tpost and galv wire… and it works nicely. You can make it as narrow as you want at the bottom and wider at the top.

I think I made that one near 3 ft wide at the top. I think in that type of trellis you can plant your crowns a little closer together… because the fruiting canes will be divided in half… part to one side of the V and part to the other…

While your fruiting canes are producing fruit… the new primocanes have plenty of room to come up in the middle…

If you have longer beds… you could use tpost instead of upost. The 5 ft upost I used on that 8 ft bed are working great. Very simple, low cost, easy to setup by yourself.

I have 1 wire run around at 24 inch and another at 48.

When you drive the post in simply angle them out some so when you put that top wire on you can apply some pretty good tension to it. It is not that hard to support blackberry or raspberry canes… and something like that will sure do it nicely.


I got the idea of that type of V trellis from this video… watch it to the end to see how he prunes and divides all those raspberry canes up in that trellis. So neat and organized.

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@TNHunter Thanks for this explanation. The primocanes that grow straight up in the middle of the row- do you support them or not the first year? Guessing I can install V trellis any time before growth starts next year-year two, right? How far apart should a person plant blackberries for V trellis? Does 3 or 4 feet work?

A trellis seems to make a nice neat blackberry rows for smaller plantings. For larger plantings, I’m of the opinion that trellises are a waste of labor.

We planted Triple Crown, Navaho, and Apache without a trellis in 2012. Here is an old pic, but the rows still look the same.


After all these years, we are starting to get more orange rust in the planting. The rows are about 8’ wide with 7’ aisleways. It’s a bit tricky reaching to the middle of the rows (customers have to wade into the blackberries to pick that fruit). The blackberry rows could be kept narrower, but my 8’ wide seems to work OK.

We don’t prune out old canes. We do tip the growing primocanes to encourage lateral growth.

The erect AR varieties Navaho and Apache don’t fill in nearly as well as Triple Crown, so it seems like every year we have to do some significant weeding to those rows


I think that trellis helps with air circulation, light penetration and better plant health. Not pruning out old canes can lead to more infection… all kinds of stuff likes to live in the old dead canes…then goes on to the new canes.

With that being said your system obviously works. So that goes to show there is no real right or wrong way to do things…just do what works best for you.

I have seen some absolutely amazing plants in backyards with all the wrong care… and i have seen some very crappy plants where the rows looked perfect and the farmer did everything in his power to make it work.

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@hambone … with very erect varieties like heritage or fall gold… the primocanes will just come up in the middle there… you could also run a wire down the middle to keep them temporarily tied to the middle… until you take out your spent flouricanes.

I am sure it will work just as well with erect blackberries… but I have not tried that yet.

My two blackberry rows now … illini and ouachita… simply have a post on each end with two support wires run between them.

That works good enough when you just have primocanes in there… or just floricanes… but when you have floricanes fruiting and primocanes coming up in all that together… it gets overcrowded and messy for a while there.

The V trellis fixes that.

I double crop my raspberries and take out the spent floricanes about a month after production stops.

This year I will have 3 prime Ark freedoms and one loganberry setup in a V trellis. Think I will let the logans run around the top and bottom wire… they can easily put out 15-20 ft canes… and the PAF’s… they are pretty erect so these first year primocanes will just let them grow up and divide them to each side of the V.


Really like your V trellis system- it seems to reduce required distance between rows which I need as am working in a confined space. Plus it nicely sorts out first and second year canes.

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i like the v trellis idea also esp. for thorny canes. it can be a p.i.t.a to remove the spent canes from the cluster of canes. the v trellis sems like it would make management easier and let good airflow in there.

I would recommend at least 3 feet between any adjacent row element for the home garden.
(3 feet from crossarm2crossarm or 3 feet from top(s) of V2V)

My patch has 4-foot row spacing stake2stake, but the crossarms are only 10 inches wide.


TNH, excellent link with video, that person is well spoken. I am using a similar design, it’s more like an upside down V. I don’t push plants too closely in rows, not trying to maximize my space. Used to set 5 rows of nursery stock, 6’ on center and then a lane of 12 feet for the tractors/trailers, digging machines, speed spray applications.

Gardening in the 60 X 60 plot is all an old person requires, least for me!

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