BlackBerry Canes brown and dry

Asked May 18, 2018, 1:31 PM EDT

I let be in Grand Rapids, mi and this is my 5th year with blackberries. I have 48x4 foot row. They have always done great. This year the blackberries don’t seem to be coming out of dormancy. It is May 18 and they are still brown and dry. New canes growth is coming up like normal, but last years canes are not yet showing any sign of life. What could be going on or am I just too anxious expecting some life three weeks after the last snow?

Kent County Michigan

2 Responses

My guess is that the canes were killed by winter cold. Blackberries are considered cold tender and the few commercial growers are located close to Lake Michigan where the lake moderates the winter cold. The symptoms you describe are exactly what I would expect with last year's canes dead and new canes emerging from the ground. We had several instances of very cold nights during the Christmas and New Year's Holiday weeks.
It looks like your injury occurred on morning of December 27

Thank you. That makes sense, just the first year they died off like this. Thank you for your insight.