Do primocanes fruit sooner if the floricanes are cut?

My first year of gardening I went to my local nursery and they sold me some prime ark freedom blackberries. I assumed given that we are located in zone 5 that the nursery would sell me blackberries that are suitable for my climate. Unfortunately, the floricanes become so damaged by the winter temps that they don’t reliably produce fruit. The primocanes will fruit fairly heavily but rarely are able to ripen in time. Will cutting the plants down to the ground so that there are only primocanes the following year cause them to fruit and ripen earlier?

If the floricanes are dead, isn’t it sort of the same thing as cut down? Sounds like in your climate some years will be better than others. It may also do better as it gets older. I have two of the Prime Ark varieties and they are pretty easy to manage.

1 Like

They don’t die, they just do extremely poorly. Many buds are so damaged they don’t grow leaves, others do. But the primocanes are always extremely healthy and vigorous.

Every winter is different, but you will not know it till it’s too late. Why cut the canes down when there is a chance they may come back perfect? Same with the late crop, some years they will ripen in time. Your on the edge of their zone.

Well its been 3 years and every year the floricanes get so cold damaged they only produce a couple berries at best. Which is why I was asking if just sacrificing them will speed up the primocane production.

You can force tomatoes to ripen fruit earlier… by doing things that make the plant realize it needs to speed things up.

Like taking a shovel and cutting off some of the roots near the base of the plant… removing the terminal bud… removing excessive green growth.

Pinching the growing tips of figs… and removing any young shoots or branches.

Reducing water and no more fertilizer…

I have no idea if things like that might force a blackberry f-cane to set and ripen fruit earlier.

You could experiment and see…

Good Luck.

if you have room, grow a z5 rated trailing blackberries like chester or triple crown. train the primocanes to stay along the ground, in late fall put a tarp over them and some insulating material. the heat from the ground gets trapped by the tarp. been doing this to my dewberries for 4 years now with no winter damage. next spring, after frosts, unbury them and tie to a trellis. unfortunately you cant do it with p.a freedom as theyre errect.

@steveb4 … I bet if you worked with those PAF p-canes when they were first growing up… and forced them to grow low just above the ground (like a step over fig) on a low trellis… that would work.

I started 3 of those PAFs this spring and those p canes are quite flexible early on.

1 Like

yes, youre right. it could work as long as you kept up with it. i tried growing p.a. freedom here. it grew great but i had a hard time to get them to survive through the winter so i pulled them. they grew awesome sturdy canes though.