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I purchased some "Prime-Ark® Freedom Primocane Blackberry". Around 4-5 of them I planted in a corner area near my yard (against a fence). They are meant to be an upright cane and while they aren't scrambling everywhere on the ground...I wouldn't really call them "Upright" (Then again they are still pretty young as I JUST planted them maybe 3-4 months ago).

Whats the best way to "Contain" these. Since they are all in sort of a corner area, I don't really have a "Straight line" of bushes where I could just trellis them in a line. I was thinking some sort of string containment fence? (Imagine about 4-5 plants in the corner right angle of a fence, as thats what they are planted like right now)

  • You could use chicken wire I suppose. Also, they make trellis's in many different sizes so you could use an array of smaller ones. – Rob Sep 24 '18 at 16:56
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    String won't be strong enough. If you want to try that idea, use wire. All blackberries that I know of are "upright" rather than "scrambling around on the ground" but non-primocane varieties certainly need the canes tying to support wires at the end of the first growing season, so they don't get damaged in winter and they have some support for the weight of the fruit in the second year. I don't know what you are supposed to do with primocanes when they fruit in the first year but "common sense" would make me think they need support before they fruit. – alephzero Sep 24 '18 at 18:27
  • I might try circular chicken wire...I just feel like they would outgrow it. – msmith1114 Sep 24 '18 at 18:45
  • If you use chicken wire you will have a nightmare picking the old canes out of the mesh when they're done with. – David Liam Clayton Sep 28 '18 at 12:47
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The advice I've read about blackberries is based on managing the plant, harvest and cutting back. Basically the idea is that they fruit on last year's growth, so you need to allow a certain number of new vines to grow, while keeping the others trained in a convenient way to pick the fruit. The suggestion is to tie the old growth along horizontal wires, while keeping the new growth upright, tied together in kind of a bundle. Then in the winter, cut off the old (fruited) growth at the ground, untie the new growth and tie it onto the wires. Repeat ad infinitum.

This sounds like a terrifically complicated way to grow something that abounds in hedgerows here, and I have not succeeded in achieving it with the (non-cultivar) blackberries that I inherited on my allotment which just grow in a chaotic mass and give me lots of fruit. I have resolved to try again next year though.

  • Yeah im not really looking for "maximum harvest" more just something that is easy and keeps the plant healthy. I mean...where im from wild blackberries grow like crazy anyways. – msmith1114 Sep 25 '18 at 18:54
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Better stand back next year when they are established. I don't have the cultivar you have but the similar one I planted is vigorous with stalks growing to ten feet long. It is also quite happy to root where the stem touches the ground.

For ease of harvesting and to keep the plants in the same area you need a trellis solution. I used T Bars and clothes line which worked quite well.

  • I like this solution. Seems like a logical method, KISS I always say. – Rob Sep 25 '18 at 19:09
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You said it yourself: "where im from wild blackberries grow like crazy". The same applies to cultivated blackberries, but they're less resilient, require more nutrients for better fruit production and might need an occasional antifugal spray as well. Other than that the general rule of thumb is really just "containment": if you trellis it, it will grow to 2-3m high or even more. If you let it spread on the ground, it will cover it completely (and quite densely) with a height of 1-1.5m. You have to "thin it out" quite radically to avoid any of these scenarios. Unfortunately (as others have already pointed it out) it fruits on previous year's shoots, so thinning it out (pruning it) too much will have a noticeable impact on the amount of fruit it will produce. Your best bet is to strike a balance between these 3 factors (height, density and fruit production).

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