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Growing Blackberries

Category Berries
In many areas blackberries grow profusely with no help from us. However, if you are thinking of planting some berry bushes in your garden, then this information can be helpful for providing you with a bumper crop. This is a guide about growing blackberries.


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0 found this helpful
May 8, 2006

Planning Tips:

Blackberries grow well in zones 4 to 9. Choose hardy, virus-free plants cultivated to your specific growing zone. Because varieties have different growth habits (upright or trailing), plan ahead to create a training and support system to match the variety you select. Blackberries are self-fertile so you can plant just one cultivar and harvest a crop-usually 10 to 15 pounds of berries per season per mature (2 to 3 year-old) plant.

Site Preparation:

Blackberries need at site that provides full sun and well-drained soil. Ideally the soil should have a slightly acidic pH (about 6.0). Domestic cultivars should be planted at least 300 feet away from their wild counterparts. Erect trellises or other types of supports before planting.


Erect blackberry varieties should be spaced in 3 foot intervals with 8 feet between each row. Trailing types should be spaced 5 to 8 feet apart with 6 to 8 feet between rows. The plants themselves should be planted to a depth about 1 inch greater than they were at the nursery. Apply a thick layer of organic mulch to the base of plants.

Care & Maintenance:

Blackberries may need maintenance pruning after the first season. Pinch off the tips of new canes when they reach 3 feet (or the top of the trellis for trailing types). After harvesting berries, cut fruit bearing canes to the ground. Apply a fertilizer (5-10-10 or 8-8-8) around fruit canes each spring. In the winter, thin canes so that only 4 to 6 remain per row (8 to 10 per plant for trailing varieties) and shorten all side branches to 12 to 18 inches. Canes from trailing types should be laid on the ground in the winter and covered to avoid cold damage.

Harvesting & Storage:

Blackberries ripen according to the variety grown and regional growing conditions, usually starting in mid-summer and continuing on through mid-fall. Collect berries every few days when fully ripe as they will not ripen off the stem. Ripe fruit will feel soft once it is pulled away from the plant. Pick the berries in the morning while it's still cool and remove any rotting berries at the same time to reduce the spread of mold and disease. Blackberries are delicate and should be handled gently to avoid crushing. Store them in a shallow container in the refrigerator immediately after picking. They are very perishable and will stay fresh for only one to two days at normal refrigerator temperatures, but will keep a day or two longer at cooler temperatures (31 to 32F ).
Comment Was this helpful? Yes
September 5, 20060 found this helpful

I have no idea if mine are wild or domestic as they came in with the city's free "organic" mulch. There are too many canes, but I managed to weave/wrap them all around and up a large tomato cage and to keep them green, but no fruit. I heard they can be awful in a garden. Should I cut them out of the garden before next Spring? I don't have a lot of room for them and yet, they seem to stay alive on the cage. They have terrible thorns and no berries.

I don't want them too much. ;< ( yet I hate to kill a fruit bearing plant. This was the year from Hell, remember, yet I watered regularly, but did not know about fertilizing with compost, so I didn't.

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Black Satin blackberry plant

CommentPin It! Was this helpful? 2

I've said that my passion is propagation. It is. A close runner up would be experimentation. My latest experiment is standardizing blackberries.

August 2, 2011

This is just a warning to those of you who are interested in planting blackberries. Choose your site carefully. They are terrible to get rid of if you don't want them in a particular place in your yard or garden. Once they establish themselves, they pop up everywhere.


By Patricia from Lexington, NC

Comment Was this helpful? 1
August 2, 20110 found this helpful

Oh Patricia, you are so very right! I planted one small plant 12 yrs ago and I'm still mowing down all the little sprouts that keep showing up! My suggestion is that if you want to plant blackberries (or raspberries or any other such berry) plant them in a container. That way they can't spread.

One year I even took a small plastic kiddie pool (about 6 feet in diameter) and planted one blackberry and one raspberry vine in the middle of it. Worked out great! I went to a yard sale and picked up a wooden ladder for next to nothing and trained the vines to grow up that. Wish I had thought to take a picture of it.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

September 27, 20110 found this helpful

How do I get slips from thornless blackberries?

By Donnie from Boaz, KY

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
October 10, 20110 found this helpful

In the spring when the blackberry leaves come out, draw the tip of the cane onto the ground and secure it with a chunk of wire that you have cut to resemble a large hairpin. A piece 7 or eight inches long that has been bent double will do quite nicely. Do this for as many slips as you want in the fall. In the fall cut the new canes free of the old ones and dig them up and sure to cover with mulch if it gets really cold where you are.

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0 found this helpful
September 27, 2011

Can anyone tell me the best way to grow blackberries and raspberries in containers? I have wild blackberries all around my back yard, but the wildlife beats me to them!

My zone is 7b.

By Cricket from NC

Answer Was this helpful? Yes


Share on ThriftyFunCheck out these photographs. Click at right to share your own photo in this guide.

April 12, 2017

Photo Description
It's a cherry!
No. It's a peach!
No. It's an apple.

You're all wrong. It's an Arapaho! It's a blackberry!

This blackberry should be in every home garden. If you have space for a 5 gallon bucket, you have room for this berry. It was developed by the University of Arkansas. It is a thornless variety. Pretty high on the brix (sweetness) scale, and a very good bearer.

This is my first year to grow them. They're in 5 gallon buckets along side my Apache blackberries. They're all loaded with blooms.

Come the 4th of July, I may just have enough berries to try my hand at a cobbler. The least I could do is a blackberry topping for vanilla ice cream.


Comment Like this photo? 1
April 19, 20170 found this helpful

Thanks for the information - I live in Ocala so I am not quite truly "central" but close. My son-in-law is a supervisor at the Lowe's in Daytona Beach and he says they have several varieties and he will bring me several this week-end - Yay for son-in-laws!

i only mentioned bringing them in because I have not grown blackberries before (but love 'em)and I tend to worry when we get a windy cold spell as I have had some roots freeze in 5 gallon buckets (in Jacksonville, FL). But, you are probably right so I will just save my son a back ache and smile as I see a new plant growing.

I called and ask him to get different kinds - might as well go all out!

thanks again - will let you know how they are doing later.


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16 found this helpful
April 1, 2011

This is a blackberry bloom. Taking these pictures are therapy for me.

By Carrie

Blackberry Blossom

Comment Like this photo? 16
April 2, 20110 found this helpful

The artist behind this photo probably has a heart as beautiful as the picture itself. Great job.

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