Berry Garden: Planting And Pruning Boysenberries

Eating a ripe berry from the vine is one of the joys of summer.  Boysenberries are particularly delightful and easy to grow. Here are some tips for planting and pruning a boysenberry garden.

Choosing a Site

Before you plant your boysenberry vines, you should choose a site that has plenty of sunlight and space.  Boysenberries are vigorously growing vines that tend to spread out quickly. Be sure to choose a site that has room for them to grow.  

Plan on planting a trellis for the vines to grow on.  Without a trellis, the vines will spread into a patch that will not only be difficult to prune, but almost impossible to harvest, which means leaving your delicious berries to the appetites of the birds and local critters.

Soil Preparation

Once you have chosen an appropriate site, amend the soil with a good amount of rich organics.  Choose organics like compost and mulch.  You should also work in a good dose of chicken or other manure to enrich the soil.  Bone and blood meal are also excellent amendments that boysenberries enjoy.


Planting the vines approximately three feet apart gives them good space to grow.  As the vines grow, take care to check them regularly to make sure they are working their way through the trellis and not wandering off on their own.

If you live in a cold weather climate (zone 5 or lower), plant boysenberry vines in the late spring.  If you live in a warmer climate (zone 6 or higher), then wait to plant your vines until late fall.


In the first year, your vines will grow vigorously.  Do not get over zealous and prune them in the first year.  Instead, wait until year two to get your pruning clippers out for your vines.

In year two, your vines will be ready for pruning.  During the second year, new canes will begin to grow.  Keep the new canes trimmed to approximately three feet, since these will be the canes that you will need to access when you harvest the berries.  With each following year, pay special attention to the new growth canes, since berries grow on the newest canes.

Right after harvesting the berries, prune back and remove canes that are two years old.  In the fall, prune back any growth below and above the trellis.


Boysenberry vines take several  years of growth before the really start producing any substantial amount of berries for harvesting.  While it is not unusual for growers to find a few berries in the first few years, usually it takes four to five years before they really begin to see large quantities of fruit.

Boysenberries are a wonderful summer fruit that can bring years of enjoyment once they begin bearing fruit.  When planting vines, choose a location that receives an abundance of sun and has plenty of space for the vines to grow.