Garden thug

The blackberries are taking over their part of the garden. Seriously. Have I planted a monster?

Those support posts are 5′ tall, people!

What do I do? Should I trim them back, or would that hurt the plant? I know it would reduce future harvests because this year’s fruit is all on last years’ stems. But these looong arms are reaching out and drooping over so it’s impossible to walk upright anywhere in the vicinity.

Maybe I need to look into different blackberry support systems. Because this thug refuses to stay in its cage.

6 Responses to “Garden thug”

  1. heidi Says:

    Our neighbor has them trellised lengthwise and just feeds them back and forth along wires and along the fence backing the boxes she planted them in.They need to be “taught” while they are young and flexible shoots. Do you have more length they can trail into? Her planting boxes are about 3-4 feet deep and I don’t know how long. She has passed the Master Gardener courses here. Shall I ask her what to do?
    She also has them planted in slightly elevated boxes to keep them from sending out suckers (or maybe it makes it easier to see them when they pop up outside the perimeter of said boxes.)

  2. Diane Says:

    Are they just on single poles per plant? Or some sort of cage or trellis or??

    I’ve got mine planted along a fence and will just play it by ear as they grow. Weaving them in and out of the fence was a tempting thought until I considered what a PITA it would be to remove the old, spent canes from this particular fence. Maybe I’ll just tie them to the fence when they start flopping?

  3. villager Says:

    We pinch out the tips of our new (this years) blackberry canes when they get about 4-5 feet long. Then they send out lateral shoots, which will also flower and bear. We do that for upright or semi-upright varieties.

    For trailing varieties most folks just let them grow, and tie them to wires or other supports. So it sort of depends on what type of blackberries you have. I can’t tell by looking at the photo.

  4. diana Says:

    Villager – I’m not completely sure if they’re an upright variety or not. They’re not Natchez after all, which means they must be Kiowa. Though the copy for Kiowa says it gets 5-6′ tall, and these vines are about 10! I think I remember that they are upright… though these are flopping over somewhat. I like the idea of pinching the tips, that ought to put a stop to it!

    Diane – there are four 6′ T-posts in a rectangle, sunk down 1′ and tied together with heavy galvanized wire like a cage. I thought it would be a simple way to keep all the shoots pointing up instead of out. Then I wouldn’t have to tie individual vines – because the thorns are wicked!!

    Mama – I suppose I can replace them with taller T-posts, but I’ll have to special order them. Maybe I’ll try cutting them back first. :/

  5. Darcy Says:

    Your mom is right – the large droopers aren’t your main problem – watching out for those offshoots is a PITA! I actually found a new one 12 feet from where my original bush starts! I train them into a chain link fence and I have to cut them back to stay as far from my daughter’s swing set as possible. It hasn’t affected production too much from what I can tell – but the main bush isn’t even in my yard anyway, so all the branches that are producing are new.

  6. Diane Says:

    Villager, thanks for that tip-cutting idea! I’m filing that tidbit away in my brain for when mine turn into thugs, too.

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