Triple Crown Blackberry Trellis

For those that grow this blackberry, you know how vigorous it is. When the new canes come up I cut them at about 3 feet. Then I let the side chutes grow for the rest of the season. They grow 10-15 feet long. I just cleaned up the side chutes this weekend by circling them around my trellis. I know from last year that blackberry chutes will grow out of these side chutes all along its length so do not cut them back in order to maximize the harvest. But, they really are a pain during the growing season. Next year I think I might continuously cut them back and then have more of a bush as more and more side chutes grow from side chutes. Wondering if anyone has a better strategy or feedback on what I’m doing?

Here is a picture of my blackberries. From left to right: Ponca, Triple Crown, PAF.

6 Likes

chutes = laterals (i loved the game chutes and ladders).

Looks to me like you are doing well with that small of a space… is your goal maximum berries or a tidy plant?

You state that next year you might continuously cut them back… that leaves alot of room for disease and entry points for insects…so keep an eye on that.

There are endless ways to trellis… and some folks dont even trellis at all.

Dr. Arlie Powell has a very concise way of trellising that he calls primocane suppression. Which is great for folks that want the neat and tidy yields. Several videos on youtube.

Bob Hays and Shalecreek Nursery both are into horizontal trellising which in turn encourages laterals to grow vertically which in turn has potential for higher yields. However this requires much more spacing and maximizes yield per plant due to maximum lateral length. These guys hang out at American Berry Growers if you want to look further.

Jim Elliot has probably my favorite trellis and production system for East Coast blackberries. His plants and berries have amazing production and eye appeal. He lives close to Univ of Ark and has spent years talking to those guys and lots of trial and error. His videos are deep in Backyard Blackberry Growers group on FB… I cant link you or go any further than that but if you see his videos you will want to grow them that way. He uses a 3 wire trellis and pinches lateral tips…never cuts. Very simple and easy.

From your pic the look of the raised bed looks nice…but i hope that there is room under there for the roots to wander. Most of my blackberry roots are under the walkways in my rows…not many people take that into consideration. I traced one root going 8 feet from the crown all the way into the next row…

Thats a pretty small space for some pretty big feeders. So i expect they will wander their roots anyways…but looks like you have a nice healthy place for that to happen.

I chop my triple crown back periodically thru the season

A caneberry-row trellis is intended to keep the plants and crop upright and within a short distance from the plane of the trellis. By doing multiple pruning per season on a vigorous variety like Triple Crown, you will get a higher number of shoots at right angles to the row that will have to be kept short to keep the whole planting near the plane. These wayward laterals can be bent back into the row, but it requires a lot of extra work and some may break. I find it best on TC to let a few long laterals develop and deal with them once at the end of the growing season, keeping any right-angle strays completely removed… The above BlueHen picture looks ideal.

@krismoriah
Yes I meant shoots / laterals :slight_smile:
I guess my goal is to optimize berry production and tidiness.
A lot of great references here! I will dig in to see if what other options exist, thanks!
The raised bed is open at the bottom so the roots can spread (and do as I found shoots coming up ~3 feet into the yard last year).

@ampersand
Good to know, thanks!

@LarryGene
Thanks also for the feedback. Maybe I will just do this again next year. I have to say though that when these primocanes were growing in the presence of the floricanes it was difficult to manage.

I’ve never bothered trellising my ‘Triple Crown’ blackberries. I gave them space to make a thornless blackberry border and trim any that are growing in a direction that will make them in the way. Super low maintenance.

2 Likes

Training TC does require some wrestling skills, but the laterals will withstand a lot of rough handling as long as it is done 2 or more feet from the main cane. Don’t be concerned about breaking off a few leaves; next year’s bud at the leaf base will survive. Keeping laterals that are literally in your way pruned off during the season and then one-time training at season’s end will save time.

I have 3 ten-foot caneberry rows and every year I prune off > 200 feet of laterals in October and still have to remove clusters of berries at green/red stage the next year just to keep the harvest under 100 pounds.

Same here. We’ve been growing them for Upick since 2012. I’ve never trellised them, nor ever pruned out old canes. We do prune primocanes once or twice (generally once) in the early season to encourage lateral branching, as LarryGene mentioned.

Here’s a couple old pics, but they look the same every year. The mowing is what contains them. My rotary mower is 7’ wide, so I just mow over any canes which get in the aisleways.

image

image

3 Likes

The Olpea method and picture reminds me of a more orderly version of our local wild “Himalaya” blackberry thickets. You can tell where people wade into the row to reach interior fruit because of the trampled spots on the ground, there are such spots every few feet.

1 Like




Here’s my TC last summer.

1 Like

Thanks for pointing that out.

We have grown commercial blackberries for a good while and I find that amazing! You eliminated two of the biggest costs involved with growing commercial blackberries and saved a bundle of money.

I’m wondering about the potential disease and insect buildup after 10 years of growing with no pruning, Do you spray Lime Sulfur or any insecticide to manage crown or cane borers?

We get crown gall. Sometimes badly, but it doesn’t seem to slow the blackberry patch down. We haven’t gotten cane borers.

One issue we have a serious problem with is orange rust. I need to figure out a spray program for that. We remove the infected canes and kill the infected plants, but we still can’t seem to keep it under control or eradicate it.

We used Rally and Cabrio when we had a big outbreak of leaf and cane rust a few years ago. Both were listed for cane blight and orange rust.

They eliminated the cane/leaf rust and may have helped manage the orange rust on the Navaho some. They did not cure it and over time the OR got worse. Finally got so bad we removed the Navaho to protect the other blackberries. .

Are other growers in your area growing TC with no trellis and no deadwood pruning?

We probably spend 100 man hours pruning our 2 acres of trellis blackberries.

I don’t have any TC at this time

1 Like

Blackberries look great! Do you sell PYO blackberries?

I have the Rose Stem Girdler (beetle) here, but TC are so thick and vigorous that the girdling does not slow down or kill the canes, unlike more delicate varieties such as Columbia Star and Logan.

Not that I’m aware of. I plan to attend a meeting of about 8 local commercial blackberry growers this week. I should learn more there.

I pulled all of my triple crown and chester plants… just too boring and average to me.

Apache is erect, disease resistnant and has berries the size of Kiowa and can handle the heat in CA and FL. Looks to be a very good cultivar for NC which has news of orange rust being a big factor from Extension Specialist Entomology and Plant Pathology N.C. State University

I liked the fruit from Apache but it seemed to suffer from white drupelets more than other varieties.

We got a lot of complaints and removed that variety a long time ago.

May not be a problem in all locations but it was a big problem here

No PYO at this time. In the future…yes.