Winter is a great time to take stock of your existing berries. All the leaves are gone so it makes it easy to see how they are spaced, how they have been growing and what they might need. Winter is the best time to prune and care for your raspberry and blackberry canes. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
Most varieties of blackberries and raspberries grow on one year old wood. There are exceptions so be sure to do your homework before pruning. However, it is a fairly safe bet that you can thin out two year old (and older) canes each winter. The old canes drain energy from the plant and produce a spindly crop of small berries, at best. Your canes will thrive with regular pruning to focus the plants’ vigor and to keep air and light circulation at a maximum.
Your berry canes are at their lightest in winter. Come spring, they will put on dense leaves, abundant flowers and heavy crops of delicious fruit. And new canes will be coming in before you know it. Winter is the right time to make sure your support systems are still adequate for holding up your harvest.
Inspect your foundation wires and posts to make sure they are sturdy enough for the new cane weight. Wiggle, tug and lean on them a bit to test them out. Strengthen your posts and add new wires, if needed. We also recommend tying up (or back) any new canes that haven’t been restrained yet. A tidy berry patch will be a healthier berry patch- and easier to harvest too!
Do you have enough?
Think back to last year’s supply. Did you have enough of each variety? Did you have a hankering to try something new? While berries do spread when there is room and when they are healthy, it can always be nice to try a new plant or two. Peruse our berry selection to get ideas. Each one has growing information and fruit descriptions to help you decide. Follow the links below!