Botanical name: Rubus fruticosus
Plant type: Fruit
Sun exposure: Full Sun
Soil type: Sandy
Soil pH: Acidic
Blackberries are a very easy fruit to grow. However tempting, do not grow plants unless you are certain they are virus-free since viruses are a widespread problem with blackberries. Select high quality plants from a nursery with a good reputation. Blackberries are also called dewberries. Boysenberries, loganberries and marionberries are blackberry varieties and not different species altogether.
- Make sure you plant your blackberries far away from wild blackberries that may carry viruses.
- The ground should be well fertilized and trellises for trailing varieties should be constructed.
- Blackberries and hybrids are all self-fertile.
- Planting may be done in late fall, however, it should be delayed until early spring in very cold areas as it could kill some hybrids.
- Plant shallowly: about one inch deeper than they were grown in the nursery.
- Space upright varieties 3 feet apart and trailing varieties 5 to 8 feet apart. Space rows about 8 feet apart.
- Mulching is important throughout the season to conserve moisture and suffocate weeds. Keep a thick layer of mulch surrounding plants at all times.
- Water one inch per week.
- The roots send up an abundant amount of shoots, called canes. Keep order by pruning away the majority of them so that the survivors can produce lots of berries.
- Raspberry Borers
- Fruit Worms
- Gray Mold
If your plant is suffering from the blackberry disease known as Raspberry Bushy Dwarf virus, the leaves will be have some bright yellow on them, and the leaves of the fruiting vanes may have a bleached look in the summer. The disease known as Blackberry Calico will cause faint yellow blotches on the leaves of the plant.
- Pick fruits regularly keeping the central plug within the fruit (unlike raspberries)
- Although fresh fruit is always best, blackberries can be stored by canning, preserving or freezing.
- Early - 'Brazos' 'Cherokee' and 'Comanche'
- Late - 'Black Satin' 'Smoothstem' and 'Thornfree'
- Hybrid - 'Boysenberry' 'Loganberry' and 'Marionberry'
Wit & Wisdom
Blackberries and strawberries are very high in ellagic acid which is an antioxidant that acts as a scavenger to help make potential cancer-causing chemicals inactive. Ellagic acid reduces the genetic damage caused by carcinogens like tobacco smoke and air pollution. They also contain other antioxidants that help lower cholesterol and ward off cardiovascular disease.