Bramble berries include all types of raspberries and blackberries, like Marion, Boysen and their cousin the Dewberry. Bramble berries fruit on 2nd year canes and tend to bend over as a result of the weight of the fruit, so pruning and staking your berries will ensure a good harvest from year to year.

Diagrams are from The Backyard Berry Book by Stella Otto

Click to download this article Pruning and Staking Brambles


A trellis system helps support the canes and provides for an easy harvest. For raspberries, set two stout posts in the ground and string wires at 21⁄2 ft and 5 ft from the ground, then tie the canes to the wire. There are additional methods and some are shown for trailing blackberries.

Red and Yellow Raspberries

Raspberries are easy to prune once you learn the basics. For red and yellow raspberries, prune the fruited floricane to the ground after harvesting in summer. These canes tend to be woodier and silvery brown in color with light green leaves. Winter is the time to thin out small, weak canes. When spring comes head back the primocanes (with darker green leaves) to chest level, and thin out overcrowded canes, ideally keeping 6 inches between each cane. These will fruit later in the season for ever bearing varieties, or next spring for June bearing varieties.

For ever bearing varieties, remove the fruit bearing canes to

pruning red raspberries
pruning black raspberries

Black raspberries

Black raspberries, such as Munger, bear their fruit on side branches. To encourage this type of growth, pinch off the top 2 inches of the canes when they reach 3-4 feet. This is usually done in spring or early summer.

Additional pruning in the summer may be needed to keep the canes at the same height. In late summer, after harvesting, remove the fruited floricanes.

The following spring, prune side branches back to 8-10 inches, to encourage larger fruit.


Blackberries (including Boysenberry, Loganberry, Marionberry and Dewberry) are usually trailing, but some varieties of blackberries, such as Navaho can be upright. Each growth habit requires a different method for pruning and training.

Trailing varieties

First remove floricanes after fruiting in late summer or early fall, then select the six healthiest primocanes (vegetative canes) and tie them in bundles of three. Remove side branches that are growing 3ft from the ground and lower, and then shorten the side branches that are 3ft and higher to 2-4 inches. Each of the shortened side branches should produce several clusters of fruit.

Most of the blackberries we carry are trailing varieties that require trellising. It is best to install the trellis at planting, this makes it easier to prune from year to year. Place a post at each end of the row and string wire 5ft high between the posts. Take each of the bundles you selected at pruning and attach them to the trellis in opposite directions.

trailing blackberries
trellis designs

There are a number of ways to train bramble berries. Two additional methods, T-bar and V-trellis, are pictured here.

For more information about them please refer to The Backyard Berry Book by Stella Otto.

Upright Varieties

Upright varieties are pruned and trained like black raspberries. The first year they should be allowed to grow freely. Starting in spring the 2nd year, head back canes when they are 3-4 ft tall.

Summer is time to remove weak growth, tip the canes and cut side branches back to 12-18 inches. After harvest remove the canes that have fruited. Trellising is not necessary if they are properly pruned year after year.

blackberry pruning

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