Blackberry Spring pruning question for SoCal coastal area

Hey, newbie blackberry grower here. I have a few second year floricane varieties (Triple crown, Ponca, Columbia Giant). While they have some floricanes growing and started to fruit, the emerging primocanes (3-5 each plant) are much more vigorous and are starting to take over the floricanes.

Should I prune the primocanes? I wonder if I will sacrifice next year’s production if I do that. Thanks for the help.

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Hi @gh0001 – welcome to GrowingFruit!

Whereabouts are you located?

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I’m located in SoCal costal area, zone 10a. thanks

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I am not aware that pruning practices of west coast vs east coast growing differs much in terms of production.

On the Triple Crown and Ponca which are East Coast semi-erect/erect plants the highest production will be from not pruning at all and training the canes horizontally as best that you can. This would require about 5 foot or so spacing in order to maximize production per crown. If you are low on space and like a neat tidy bush…then you will do as most suggest and tip at 4ft and then keep tipping the laterals at 4 foot through the growing season. This method will allow you to space at 3 feet give or take.

On the Columbia Giant… personally i would remove it and replace with Columbia Star which is the thornless version of Marion and is higher yielding. Much better pedigree and flavor of Star over Giant…which is a novelty in size but otherwise lackluster.

Trailing varieties are best left unpruned and lasso’d on the top two wires that are about 8-12 inches apart. This will allow most of your fruiting buds and laterals to be at chest or near eye level. Some folks like to drape the canes and make a waterfall effect instead which will lead to tip rooting if that is what you want…if not its best to tip those plants when they near the ground after draping.

@krismoriah Thanks a lot for the info. I grow TC and Ponca in pots with a supporting structure (basically tomato cage reinforced w/ metal conduit) so I have limited space. The idea is to have laterals grow and hang out of the cage.

The top of the cage is probably 5 ft. So I will tip them at 5ft but no removal of pcanes.

Being in CA it’s not easy to acquire different varieties so I will keep Columbia Giant for now. One of my friends loves it but I will look into Columbia Star. thanks for the help!

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ok if you or your friends want to try Columbia Star sometime there is a seller in Fresno that sells it and others from time to time. I have bought from him in the past. He also sells on Etsy, Marketplace and other venues

A follow-up question from a blackberry newbie. I planted Osage in the fall. This spring it has grown like crazy. I’m worried that the crowding of crowns might lead to disease or pest problems.

It’s the plant on the right in the photo. There is little room or light in the new canes. They seem to be blooming well and pest free currently.

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Nice looking place you have there. You shouldnt worry about the ‘crowding’ causing disease or pest problems. now. The folks that are obsessed with pinching and pruning in the prime of bug season are the ones that get the most issues.

The ‘new canes’ will have plenty of light soon…as they grow towards the sky and pass the old timers below.

Here is Osage on the Left… to ease your mind on overcrowding.

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Oh my! Thanks for the reassurance :grin:

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Could you share or PM his contact? Thank you

He uses the same name on FB, Etsy, Ebay and he has a website…so its nothing private…he is a public seller. ProFig or Profigusa is what he goes by.

Pretty neat business model- he buys plugs for $2 and sells them for $8 give or take…and offers mostly free shipping… so hes not as greedy as some as the big names…same plants just different sales technique.

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