Propagating cane fruits by root cuttings

hello all!

i am interested in propagating large amounts of cane fruits, mostly blackberry and raspberry.

methods i have used before, such as tip layering and division, will not be able to produce the amount of plants that i want to create.

so, i am looking into starting these plants by root cuttings.

though i have skills, i have never started blackberry or raspberry by root cuttings, and having recently joined this site, i figure this is a great place to ask what general practices others here have used to have good success with this method. sand down off the learning curve a bit.

i am zone 7b, so the cane fruits are starting to move out of dormancy, meaning that it may be too late to have ideal success this year, so that is one consideration i have in mind.

another would be the size and diameter of ideal root cuttings.

looking forward to hearing of others methods and advice.

thanks :slight_smile:


Running suckers coming of raspberries should be able to provide many opportunities for propagation. I’ve only tip rooted blackberries but I’d guess it may be more variety dependent for blackberries based on the propensity to send up growth from runners… just a guess

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Tissue cultured Rubus are sold in trays of 72.



I have hardy illini blackberry and both I and @krismoriah tried to propigate them by root cuttings last year and failed.

I have had them 20+ years and they have never sent up a root shoot … like many raspberry and other varieties of blackberries do.

They only send up primocanes very near the original crown.

Which was a clue that illini are possibly near impossible to propigate by root cuttings… where some other varieties of blackberry propigate easily that way.



I have some root cuttings going of Illini that i got from Minnesota. I will post here in a few weeks or so if they have any different outcome.

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Raspberries propagate from root cuttings. Black/yellow raspberries and blackberries are tip-rooting. You propagate them by staking the tip of a primocane to some soil. It is possible to dig up a blackberry bush and divide it, but it is not as good as tip rooting. I have heard that root cuttings do not work as well with blackberries.

I have had success propagating blackberry by carefully digging up suckers with significant root mass attached. They tend to get a slow start.


thanks for the response. i probably should have been more clear in my original post that i am looking to create hundreds of plants. tip rooting and suckers is not a great option for this number of plants. :slight_smile:

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yeah, sounds like you got the right idea there. a propensity to spread is a good indicator of ability to root from cuttings. as is observation of sprouting from root damage.

did you and @krismoriah try chilling them first? inside or out. i have read that blackberry root cuttings benefits from at least a couple of weeks of cold storage.

Agreed, I was just saying that because I’ve never propagated blackberry root cuttings but I haven’t tried. Looks like the plug trays @Richard suggested will be your best bet regarding speed.

Otherwise, looking forward to your experimental results. Make sure to share win or lose

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@Richard thanks for the link. can you offer me pricing without me having to create a wholesale account? i operate a bare root nursery so am wanting to create 100s of plants. your links are not a bad option if the price is right. :slight_smile:

Just email them for a quote.

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I accidentally propagated about 200 Caddo blackberries 2 years ago. How? I dug up and moved 3 plants to a new location leaving all of the old roots in place in the ground. A few weeks later, new growth emerged from the roots and hundreds of new plants grew.

From what I know of blackberry propagation via roots, the best size root is from pencil lead up to 1/4 inch diameter and about 8 to 12 inches long. One root generally produces one shoot. If you have a bunch of blackberries available right now, you could dig them up and salvage as many roots as possible. One plant should produce between 20 and 50 roots of the right size. Plant them in rows a foot apart.


@Fusion_power, great information. thank you. i have seen this too, root damage creating shoot growth. from other posts here it may differ from variety to variety. i appreciate your observational advice :wink:

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We planted blackerry root cuttings a few times when the nursery was sold out of bare root plants in the 80’s.

It should be pretty easy to produce a bunch of root cuttings from a single blackberry.plant. Perhaps turn 2 plants into 50 or more plants and have a lot of fun. A lot easier than rooting softwood cuttings. Tip rooting works great too but not as fast per plant as root cuttings.

Most of the newer varieties are still under patent which would prohibit unlicensed propagation.

I really like Richards idea of TC plants, especially for patented varieties. Not sure about the current pricing on TC plants but the last batch we bought were about $2 including the royalty. I believe they had a 2 tray minimum.

Virus infected planting material can be a big problem on Rubus, expecially bare root plants. Tissue Culture removes that problem.

Downside is $2 a plant is a lot more than making your own plants for free, especially large amounts


Best i remember they had just chilled all winter… and it was early spring when i collected the roots.

We tried to grow them early spring… and i gave up on mine early June… checked and found the roots had died… no sign of a sprout attempt.

I do keep my row of illini blackberry mulched good with bark mulch. Not sure if that might have reduced the winter chill effect enough to matter ?

There is one other downside to propagating via roots. Sometimes a thornless variety will propagate with thorns when grown from the roots.

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What a great thread!

Softwood under mist has worked well for every raspberry and blackberry I’ve tried. I would say it depends on the material you’re starting with, if you have first year stock plants there’s more softwood than roots to propagate from. I’ll probably use softwood exclusively once I have some stock blocks established, will try some single note cuttings this summer. I noticed they’ll tend to root all along the stem, probably anything with that rooting habit doesn’t need the bottom node.


This is consistent with what I saw with the Caddo plants. I moved 3 vines. Now there are at least 200 and maybe more in the same area.

@krismoriah … that is similar to TN Ginseng harvest laws…

Strict laws in place on harvest season that are enforced.

But those laws apply to ginseng that is being harvested and sold.

A land owner can harvest ginseng any time of the year (outside of the stated harvest dates) if it is being harvested for personal use.

Ginseng laws vary by State… many States do not make that exception.