Do I need to protect young blackberries through winter in Raleigh NC?

Hey guys, I planted some blackberries recently and I realized we are having a low of 19 tonight and tmrw morning here in Raleigh. I’m wondering because the canes aren’t mature enough to be lignified if I should protect them? Or should I just let them settle into the winter cycle and prune them back if the canes die back? One is larger and somewhat lignified so im thinking the canes will survive freezes but the other is still mostly green and only about a foot tall.


Nah. I just planted some rooted primocane cuttings and tip rooted plants… and mulched heavily… roots will continue to grow and harden off until the ground freezes at the level of the roots later in winter. I will cut to the ground anything still standing in the early spring… Waste of energy and resources to keep alive a floricane that is not strong enough to bear fruit…so no sense in protecting the canes… if anything protect the roots with heavy woodchip or leaf mulch.


Usually it doesn’t get too far below 15 or 20 here so I’m not sure if the ground even freezes that far down! I’m new to the area so who knows! Thanks for the information! I assume they will come back next year with some appropriately sized canes and they are primocane producers anyways so I should see some blackberries next year! Woohoo!


@Regenerative_Andrew — those canes that came with the blackberry plant from a nursery… really should be cut off at ground level or just under, and mulched over.

Next spring the crown will send up new canes (primocanes) off the crown… Those are the canes you want.

I have done it both ways… and not had any problems here… but some say leaving those canes on and up above ground could allow some disease issue into your site from the nursery. Best to just whack off those canes that came from the nursery… and your crown will send up brand new (hopefully) disease free primocanes in the spring.

Those old canes left over from when the nursery grew them… are not required for the crown to send up your first round of primocanes. So it really does not matter if they freeze… as long as the crown does not.

Good Luck !



Thanks for the advice! I got these in the spring and they have been growing all year in pots with their current canes… Any advantage to letting them die back before cutting? Maybe more energy to the roots?


If they are actually primocanes that grew this year… even if smallish… i would think they would survive winter for you… unless you get some extreme cold.

It will depend on the variety… the illini hardy I have had for 20+ years… never ever any die back from winter cold.

But… i started 3 prime ark freedom a couple years back… and they (in a morning sun only location) produced some smallish pcanes that first year… and the winter that followed… (last winter) we got a 3F night before Christmas… and 2 of the 3 suffered significant cane die back.

I bet at 10-15+ (more the norm for us now days) they would have been fine.

Good luck.

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