Blackberries

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Botanical name: Rubus fruticosus

Plant type: Fruit

USDA Hardiness Zones: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

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.

Types of Blackberries

(Credit to Colorado State University Extension for the detail on specific types of blackberries.)

Training blackberries produce vigorous primocanes (first-year vegetative cane) from the crown of the plant rather than roots.  Second year floricanes produce long shaped fruit with relatively small seeds and a highly aromatic, intense flavor.  They are not hardy in northern climates, experiencing damage at temperatures of 13°F in mid winter, and in the 20s°F in late winter/early spring.

Erect blackberries have stiff arching canes that are somewhat self-supporting.  However, they are much easier to handle when trellised and pruned.  Summer prune or tip primocanes to encourage branching and increase fruit production on the second-year floricanes.  Plants can become invasive to an area as it can produce new primocanes (suckers) from the roots.

Erect blackberries which produce fruit with relatively large seeds.  Flavor and aroma are not considered as intense as in the training blackberry cultivars.  They are semi-hardy in climates with rapid springtime temperature shifts, like Colorado.

Primocane-fruiting cultivars of erect blackberries produce fruit on the new canes.  This make management easier as the canes can be cut to the ground each winter. 

Semi-erect blackberry plants are thornless and produce vigorous, thick, erect canes from the crown.  No primocanes are produced from the roots (suckering).  Prune primocanes in the summer to encourage branching and increase fruit production on floricanes.  A trellis is required to support the canes. Semi-erect blackberries generally produce a higher yield than trailing or erect types.  Fruit quality is similar to that of the erect blackberries.

Blackberry/red raspberry hybrids are generally natural crosses between blackberries and raspberries.  Because the receptacle (white core) comes off with the fruit, they are generally considered a type of blackberry.  Popular cultivars include Boysen (Boysenberry),  Logan (Loganberry), and Tay (Tayberry).

Planting

  • Blackberries and hybrids are all self-fertile.
  • Select a site that receives full sun if possible for best berry production.
  • Soil needs to be fertile with good drainage. Add organic content to enrichen your soil.
  • Make sure you plant your blackberries far away from wild blackberries that may carry viruses.
  • For semi-erect cultivars, space plants 5 to 6 feet apart.  Space erect cultivars 3 feet apart.  Space trailing varieties 5 to 8 feet apart. Space rows about 8 feet apart.
  • Plant shallowly: about one inch deeper than they were grown in the nursery.
  • 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.

Care

Trellising and Pruning

Trellises should be constructed for blackberries.

  • For trailing varieties, explore a two-wire system, running a top wire at five to six feet with a second line 18 inches below the top wire. After the first year, there will be fruiting floricanes along the wires.  Train the new primocanes into a narrow row below the fruiting canes.  Directing all canes in one direction may make it simpler. 
    After the fruit harvest period, the old fruiting (floricanes) are removed to the ground.  However, unless there is a lot of disease, it’s best to delay removing the old fruiting canes until they have died back considerably.  This allows the dying canes to move nutrient back into the crown and roots.  After old fruiting canes are removed, train the primocanes up on the wires.  Work with one or two canes at a time in a spiral around the trellis wires.  Canes from adjacent plants may overlap a little.  No pruning of primocanes is necessary.

    In area with low winter temperatures, leave the primocanes on the ground for the winter where they could be mulched for winter protection.  In the spring, after damage of extreme cold has passed, train the old primocanes (now floricanes) up on the wires.  Avoid working with the canes in cold weather, as they are more prone to breaking. 

  • Erect blackberries produce stiff, shorter canes that come from the crown and root suckering (forming a hedgerow).  A T-trellis works well to support erect blackberries.
    Erect blackberries require summer pruning.  Remove the top one to two inches of new primocanes when they are four feet tall.  This causes the canes to branch, increasing next year’s yields.  This will require several pruning sessions to tip each cane as it reaches the four foot height.  Primocanes (suckers) that grow outside the hedgerow should be regularly removed.
    In the winter, remove the dead floricanes (old fruiting canes) from the hedgerow.  Also shorten the lateral branches to about 1½  to 2½ feet.
  • With primocane-fruiting erect blackberries, cut all canes off just above the ground in the late winter for the best fruit.  In the summer, when the primocanes are 3½ feet tall, removed the top 6 inches.  The primocanes will branch, thereby producing larger yields in the fall.
  • Semi-erect blackberries are vigorous and easier to manage on a Double T Trellis.  Install four-foot cross arms at the top of a six foot post.  Install a three-foot cross arm about two-feet below the top line.  String high-tensile wire down the rows, connecting to the cross arms.

    These berries need to be pruned in the summer. When the primocanes are five feet tall, remove the top two inches to encourage branching. This will require several pruning sessions to prune canes as they reach the height. In the winter, remove the dead floricanes (old fruiting canes).  Spread the primocanes (new floricanes) out along the trellis.  Canes do not need to be shortened.  However, they can be if they are difficult to train.

  • 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 may keep sending up an abundant amount of shoots (canes). Keep order by pruning away the majority of them so that the survivors can produce lots of berries.

Pests

  • Raspberry Borers
  • Fruit Worms
  • Gray Mold
  • Viruses
  • 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.

Harvest/Storage

  • 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.

Recommended Varieties

  • Early - 'Brazos' 'Cherokee' and 'Comanche'
  • Late - 'Black Satin' 'Smoothstem' and 'Thornfree'
  • Hybrid - 'Boysenberry' 'Loganberry' and 'Marionberry'

Recipes

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.

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Comments

Hello, I purchased a

By Samantha T. on July 26

Hello,

I purchased a blackberry plant last year. It was just called Blackberry Mure and apprently it came from Epic Plants. I had about 7 berries that formed on it and then it shot up and produced a bunch of flowers that turned to seed instead of berries and then the plant pretty much died. Now I have a hundred little plants that have come up from those seeds and the leaves don't look the same. Seems like odd behaviour and almost impossible for a berry plant to produce seeds instead of fruit. I've tried reseaching and can't find anything about it. Any ideas what might have happened. Ever heard of this happening before?

Samantha

My 15 or so thorned, tall and

By Peter Fasake on July 22

My 15 or so thorned, tall and erect blackberry canes were my Grandfather's and must be 90 years old. They used to
produce. I transplanted them Spring of
2013 and the canes have really taken
off and appear to be specimens of health. However, no fruit nor signs of
any. When should they bear? Any ideas on my problem?

As long as your blackberry

By Almanac Staff on July 22

As long as your blackberry plants look healthy, there is no need to worry. Adding some compost to the soil will improve the health of your plant. Transplanted blackberries will probably not produce fruit until the second growing season.

Hello.. WHAT a GREAT site..

By John Neary on July 14

Hello.. WHAT a GREAT site.. We have been growing blackberry varieties for 40+ years in every state we have lived in..From Western Oregon (Portland) to Montana (Great Falls) and back to Oregon (Columbia River Gorge) .. We move to North central Oregon 8++ years ago and planted both thorn-ed and thorn-less bush's..Both erect and semi erect.. The first four or so years they were all huge and sweet.. for the last 3 years the some of the erect canes have lost all flavor..Not gradually but from one season to the next.. The berries are the size of a large thumb, extremely juicy with absolutely no flavor, even the ones that fall to the ground.. All the others are big and very tasteful.. Doesn't matter if they are thorn-ed or thorn-less.. Could this be too much water or not enough mulch..We have not changed our pruning fertilizing or water regime.. Your help is greatly appreciated..

You must indeed be blackberry

By Almanac Staff on July 15

You must indeed be blackberry connoisseurs. When you say that some of the canes have lost flavor, we have to wonder how you are pruning. Blackberries must be pruned correctly to keep them productive. Are you cutting out the fruited canes to ground level? Are you keeping the strongest new canes and getting rid of the thinnest, weakest ones? If it's not a pruning issue, it might be best if you spoke to a local expert and perhaps the county cooperative extension can help. See this map: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/find-us

Our blackberries are so tart

By Cindy in Texas on July 7

Our blackberries are so tart this year. Is there anything you can fertilize or feed them with that will make them sweeter?

There are a few reasons why

By Almanac Staff on July 8

There are a few reasons why your blackberries may be tart, the first being that the bushes may be old. If they are over 15 years old, it may be time to plant new ones. Also, it is best to pick the berries when they are dull and slightly soft. When they are shiny, they are not ripe yet. Lastly, blackberries need 1 to 2 inches of water per week from spring (May) to fall (October) to produce healthy, sweet fruit.
You can use your tart fruit to make jam, jelly, or crisp. The added sugar will combat some of the tartness.

i have thornless blackberries

By martha dever on July 5

i have thornless blackberries they produce plenty every year. but last year and again this year the berries them self not the leaves but the ripe berries have brown and black on the berries instead of all black. what is causing this. thank you for your help

The brown spots are caused by

By Almanac Staff on July 8

The brown spots are caused by hot and dry weather. Keep the blackberries well watered and picked regularly. If possible give the bushes some shading during the hottest part of the summer.

I am planting Navajo

By F. Silva

I am planting Navajo blackberries & want to know if I plant them next to a thorned blackberry bush will it affect them? I don't want them to develop thornes.

The plant variety will not

By Almanac Staff

The plant variety will not change. Cross-pollination only affects new seeds. Think of two parents and children. The parents do not change.

Hello, Recently, I picked

By batya

Hello,
Recently, I picked some delicious berries. Can I use the seeds from the fruit to plant berries at home?
Thank you for your assistance.
B
6/23/14

The seeds, if you are

By garymc

The seeds, if you are successful in getting them to sprout, will not result in the same variety as the berry from which they came. For instance, from a thornless vine, you might get a thorny vine. It might have good berries, bad berries, or hardly any berries. If you want the same variety, you need to propagate the vine by cutting, root cutting, layering, etc.

I'm 75 yrs. old. I've picked

By LauraM

I'm 75 yrs. old. I've picked black berries all my life & I've never heard (or seen) a blackberry "tree" as some say they have. Is this a misnomer or do they actually have a "mulberry" tree? Especially the one with bugs sounds like mulberries. I've never seen a mulberry without bugs.

NEPA....Article says to plant

By acuda73

NEPA....Article says to plant in full sun. We have a sloping yard and wild blackberries that grow on the property. The ones in full sun only get the size of a dime while the ones at the bottom of the slope in FULL shade get the size of a fifty cent piece (my pic shows a quarter). Are wild blackberries different than the ones bought??? I prefer the bigger ones as they are juicier and sweeter.

We have a hedge row of wild

By richard h on July 17

We have a hedge row of wild blackberries growing between two tall honey locust trees. They get full sun on one side, and nearly full shade on the other. The side with the full sun produce more, than the other side. However the parts that recieve dappled shade the locust only, seem to do just fine. They're tart even when fully ripe, just the way I like them.

I've wondered that, too,

By Erika F. on July 1

I've wondered that, too, whether the FULL shade berries don't grow as well. I was just clearing away some dead 'canes' from the wild berry bushes behind my house (literally just minutes ago!) and I saw that the ones in partial shade were bigger than those in directly in the sun. Hopefully someone will provide an answer. :)

[I meant "FULL SUN" not full

By Erika F. on July 1

[I meant "FULL SUN" not full shade. DOH! LOL (didn't catch that before submitting!)]

@Almanac: And is there ANYTHING that I could do to help the bushes make bigger, sweeter berries? I live outside of Charlotte, in the suburbs. We get lots of rain, but then we go through patches of heat/dryness.

I am on California Coast and

By BerryPieDi

I am on California Coast and have blackberries growing since before 1970. I do not know what kind, but am certain they are not the 'ollalaberry' that is popularly grown in this region. They have always been troubled by a black/redish spotting on some of the plant leaves and vines. The vines affected will be the first to produce with medium sized berries and the first vines to dry out. Its obvious they are being attacked by something. Do you have any ideas what it might be and how I might treat it?

I planted thornless black

By Shelia Ware

I planted thornless black three years ago and they are doing great but there is a yellowish color on the berries last year and this year to. is it sun blisters?.

Yellowish leaves would

By Almanac Staff

Yellowish leaves would concern us; thankfully, this is not the case. There are varieties of blackberries that have a golden-yellow color--or they start out yellow and turn red when fully ripe. 

hi, I live in Italy and

By Hugh Holland

hi, I live in Italy and someone gave us a thornless blackberry plant. I planted it last year and it grew one very long cane around 6 ft high. This year the 1 year old cane grew new branches throughout it's length and is now flowering. In addition, 1 new cane started from the base and is now around 4 feet high with branches as long as 1 foot. I don't know what kind of blackberry I have and why it only creates 1 cane when everything I've read says it should create a lot of them. My question is; since there's only 1 cane, should I prune the tip at 4 feet or just let it keep growing? also, should I prune the branches coming out of the main cane? thanks-

I bought a 1-2 year

By Andrew R

I bought a 1-2 year blackberry plant (ebony king) from walmart and potted it in a 16" pot in early April. I mixed my own soil based on several articles/instructions. I kept the plant indoors in front of a large sunny window for most of April until the temp warmed (live in SE Wisconsin). Plant has been outside now for a few weeks but haven't seen ANY sign of new growth. The plant had only one primocane when I got it. Is the plant just dormant? Are the roots just taking hold before new above-ground growth occurs? Help!

As long as your blackberry

By Almanac Staff

As long as your blackberry plant looks healthy, there is no need to worry. Adding some compost to the soil will improve the health of your plant. Blackberries will not produce fruit until the second growing season.

When I bought it 2 months ago

By Andrew R

When I bought it 2 months ago it had no leaves and it still does not, and I don't see any buds either. Does it have a chance of surviving or should I just very a new plant?

Should I pick the flowers off

By Tim Kelley

Should I pick the flowers off of an immature plant to encourage growth, or let it be?

moved to a home that has

By catherine howes

moved to a home that has blackberry vines with thorns, first year amazing yield. Every year since less and less and the last few years tons of new shoots tons of flowers but not one fruit formed... so disappointed, we had plenty of rain. The year we moved here 2001 we were in a draught. The area has excellent drainage...so disappointed, again

My thornless blackberry

By Liss Sterling

My thornless blackberry (Apache), planted on a sunny corner of my house, is beginning its 5th season. The first year, it produced a more beautiful berries than I expected and the 2nd-4th it has been a phenomenal producer of big, sweet berries. In fact, I still have a lot in the freezer! But this is the problem: this was a unusually cold winter here in Huntsville, Alabama, and all my canes but one died back (and hasn't flowered yet, although hopefully it will). Is this normal for a bad winter? I've never pruned it. Is there anything I can do to encourage new canes to grow this year or the next? Fertilizer? Prune this remaining stalk to the ground? Err, give up and plant a new plant? :)

Thanks for any help! I've never pruned it before and I feel like I've just been blindly lucky up to this point.

A cold winter can cause

By Almanac Staff

A cold winter can cause injury to blackberry canes; usually in northern climates, they are protected in some way to insulate them from the cold. We'd suggest pruning out any obviously dead floricanes (canes that are entering their second year). If a cane just looks black at a top section, then prune back to healthy wood. For the one floricane that seems to have survived, perhaps leave it be, since the plant is stressed. Usually, you can prune the laterals on a floricane down to 12 to 18 inches long in winter, when the plant is dormant; but it sounds like it is no longer dormant, so it might be best to leave it alone.
 
As it sounds like you only have 1 floricane, you will not get much fruit this year. However, the plant itself may recover for fruiting next year. Check the health of the crown at the base, and the roots--that is where the new primocanes will form, if that area did not sustain injury. Primocanes of 'Apache' will not flower/fruit the first year--they grow fast the first year, overwinter, and then flower/fruit the next year (at which time they are called floricanes).
 
There is a pruning technique to help with fruiting and overall health of the plant. You might be interested in the following publication from the Alabama Cooperative Extension:
 
http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-0896/ANR-0896.pdf
 
For more advice, you might talk to your county's Cooperative Extension. For contact information, see:
 
http://www.aces.edu/main/#

I have two blackberry bushes

By Philip F

I have two blackberry bushes that have leaves that are turning yellow, and then brown. The berries are starting to fall off of them.
I have an Apache bush right next to them, but the Apache bush doesn't have this problem.

What could cause this?

Both raspberries and

By Almanac Staff

Both raspberries and blackberries can suffer from virus-like problems that may be caused by cool weather, late spring frost, powdery mildew, mineral deficiencies, or feeding by leafhoppers, aphids, and red spider mites. Identifying which one may require local advice.
Your canes could be suffering from Verticillium wilt, a fungus that will cause leaves to turn yellow, wilt, and fall off. Did you plant the canes where potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, squash, melons, strawberries, stone fruit trees were grown in the past? Your problem could stem from the verticillium being in the soil from any of those. Remedies include fumigating the growing area or planting it with a nonhost crop (not one of the vegetables listed) for three or four years.

Just planted new blackberries

By Nathan Teaford

Just planted new blackberries from cuttings. Cut the "suckers" out of the ground myself and dipped in rooting hormone before placing in dirt. I have watered just enough to be moist but the leaves are curling. If the leaves initially fall off will they come back and how long should I give them. Would love any answer. Thank you.

Did you capture any root in

By Almanac Staff

Did you capture any root in the cutting?
Root cuttings are best made in the fall by cutting roots the size of a pencil or larger into 3- to 6-inch lengths and storing them at 32°F in moist, not wet, peat moss. These can be planted in mid-winter (depending on your zone) to early spring. 
However, propogating plants from those of a neighbor can introduce unwanted root-rot organisms or viruses into your soil. It is best to purchase disease-free plants from a nursery.

I have discovered many large

By taralynn585

I have discovered many large patches of blackberries around our home in East Texas. I am going to watch a couple videos on how to prune them next year but can you tell me if this will help the berries grow larger in size? Or do I simply need to wait before picking for them to get larger?

How exciting to have your own

By Almanac Staff

How exciting to have your own blackberries. In East Texas, they are probably erect blackberries. Prune when the canes reach 36 inches high to encourage more branching.
Just keep in mind that erect blackberries are biennials so the canes (which bear the fruit) will have berries on their second year. According to your East Texas Cooperative Extention, "At the end of your growing season, you can mark which canes grew during that season. This will mark next year's fruit bearing canes (called floricanes) for easy removal after their second growing and fruit-producing season. The floricanes will bloom in March, and the fruit ripens in May. At the end of the season remove the marked canes and apply the paint to that season's prima canes. Repeat each year for carefree maintenance of your blackberry plants."

I have a three year old

By Kim Koch

I have a three year old blackberry bush that just broke about a foot up from the base of the plant. It was leafy and getting ready to bloom. Is there anyway to save it? Its never flowered before and we were really excited that it was blooming!

Oh, bummer! Blackberry bushes

By Almanac Staff

Oh, bummer! Blackberry bushes are very hardy and it should survive though you may not get so many berries this year.
You could even lay the broken piece down and cover it is several spots and see if it takes root. Then you'll have two!
We hope it turns out.
 

I have two large trellises of

By Joeappl

I have two large trellises of boysenberries. Last year, I had a water issue and my berries didn't grow well. The plants grew new canes over the winter. I pruned as I always do in January. The leaves on 80% of my vines started to bud, then stopped. I have vines with little bits of growth, but no big leaves or flowers. I have two or three sections that bloomed normally. I'm not sure what is going on.

This inquiry is interesting

By Almanac Staff

This inquiry is interesting and a little confusing. Watering may indeed be the key factor, but that depends on other things. We never water our boysenberries after the first year or two, and they seem very hardy. In seven or so years we've probably had years that were better than others, but never anything terrible. We're not sure how old your plants are, and "had a water issue" doesn't explain much. Climate and weather don't seem to be the issue, if part of your plant "bloomed normally".  As it's hard to diagnose this one online, we'd suggest you contact your local cooperative extension!

My property came with what

By Amanda Mackler

My property came with what appear to be messy thickets of Blackberry bushes. They bear fruit nicely but we can't access much of the fruit because of the density of the plants. I want to keep the plants but thin them, perhaps carve a path between them. Thought it would be easier to do this while they are dormant and without foliage but I don't know what to remove and what to leave. In summer it looks like there is a great deal of dead growth in there. Any advice? Thank you! Sorry if this is a repeat question.

There are several Q&As about

By Almanac Staff

There are several Q&As about pruning on this page if you scroll down a bit. It sounds like your blackberries need a good pruning and it's not going to hurt them if you cut them way back before they start growing this spring. Many of the cooperative extensions have pruning advice and step by step how-to instructions. Here is one
http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1431.html
Also look for how-to prune videos online.

Hi! I've live in the Georgia

By Virginia Barrett

Hi! I've live in the Georgia all my life and every summer I go and pick wild blackberries around my house. But I will be moving soon as I'm about to graduate and find a career. Wherever I live, I am hoping for a space to plant blackberries and I was wanting to train the plant so that it wouldn't be out of control like the wild bushes at my parents house are. However, even reading how to do the pruning, it still doesn't make that much sense. Is there a pruning class or "show and tell" that you might know of?

Thank you and sincerely,

Virginia

Hi Virginia, Many of the

By Almanac Staff

Hi Virginia,
Many of the cooperative extensions have pruning advice and step by step how-to instructions. Here is one
http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1431.html
Also look for how-to prune videos online.
 

What does pruning mean and

By BlackBerry queen

What does pruning mean and can I plant strawberries with black berries

We're not clear what your

By Almanac Staff

We're not clear what your question is. Pruning is a form of trimming a bush or cutting the old/dead branches out to increase the plant's fruitfulness. The pruning details are on this page; you use pruning tools to make the cuts. 
We wouldn't plant the blackberries too near the strawberries or other crops just because the blackberries can really spread underground through their root systems.

the first few years our

By Linda Huff

the first few years our thornless blackberries did really well. The last 2 years they are squishy. Can't even pick them. Do you know why?

We've always heard mixed

By Almanac Staff

We've always heard mixed reviews on the thornless blackberry. Make sure you cut back the plant quite heavily after harvest each year. You can cut back the fruited canes to ground level after 3 or so weeks and thin out the remaining canes.

Hi! I'm new to gardening and

By kristan g

Hi! I'm new to gardening and wanted to grow strawberries ans blackberries. We live in lake Charles Louisiana and I wanted to know the best time to plant. Also, what would be the best product to plant. Thank you very much for taking time to help out in advance. Have a great day.

Hi Kristan, Please see the

By Almanac Staff

Hi Kristan,
Please see the top of this page for planting advice. Fall is the prefered time for planting but you can plant backberries in the spring as well. We mention some varieties above but you can find many more if you do a search online for blackberry varieties. See our strawberry page at
www.almanac.com/plant/strawberries
for advice about planting strawberries.

Hi I am Sheikh Salim,

By Sheikh Salim

Hi
I am Sheikh Salim, residing in middle zone of India. I want to know that there is any scope for plantation of blackberries in this country, where/how can I bought sapling/seeds.

I was given small blackberry

By Jean Christensen

I was given small blackberry plants (rooted from larger plants I believe), planted them in deep holes with plenty of water (was told to put them in as deep as the first branch)5 days ago. It rained almost steadily over the weekend and one day later they look more than 1/2 dead. Leaves are wilted, brown in many cases, and drooping. What should I do? thanks.

I have the same problem. Cut

By Nathan Teaford

I have the same problem. Cut the "suckers" out of the ground myself and dipped in rooting hormone before placing in dirt. I have watered just enough to be moist but the leaves are curling. Would love any answer.

In order to transplant your

By wylie1

In order to transplant your suckers to start new bushes, first you must put the small plants in pots. They don't have their own root system, so first they must establish one. That's probably why they withered up.

I dig mine up through out the summer. I pot them, (in the same soil I dug them up in) and keep them watered. I leave them outside the entire time and through the winter, then replant them where I want them early in the spring.

I have a small hillside in

By Laurie Heyman

I have a small hillside in Malibu, CA that I want to plant to support the wildlife. I was thinking of blackberry bushes. Can you recommend a variety? The hillside gets some sun, some shade.

Hi Laurie, Blackberries grow

By Almanac Staff

Hi Laurie, Blackberries grow well in your area and there are many factors to consider. Here's a page from your state cooperative extension on growing black berries in California: http://ucanr.edu/sites/gardenweb/Berries/Blackberries/
Hope this points you in the right direction!

 

 

San Diego. I have a 2 year

By Cyndyma

San Diego. I have a 2 year old Arapaho Thornless BB. It produced beautifully this year. There is now (late Sept) a lot of new growth, flowers and more berries. When and what do I prune? Don't see new canes just branches growing from producing canes. Should I fertilize and just let it keep going? Nothing looks like it's going dormant.

Congrats on your berries!

By Almanac Staff

Congrats on your berries! After the first fruiting season, prune all the old canes (dead floricanes) down to the base and discard or burn. This allows room for new canes to grow. At this time, you can thin, too. In the spring, you can prune further if needed to avoid tangling or train to a trellis.

I bought and planted a

By Nora Chambers

I bought and planted a thornless blackberry bush in early spring. I have a trellis behind it, but it has 1 super long branch that has grown straight out into my yard, and is now trying to root in my yard. It's a good 5-6 feet long. I can't find any information about this happening. Should I cut this? will it hurt my plant if I do? Why did it grow out and not up?

Yes, shorten the branch. It's

By Almanac Staff

Yes, shorten the branch. It's fine to prune your blackberry bush to shape and train to the trellis.

I live in a very cold area

By Rebecca Zombie Hunter

I live in a very cold area (Zone4) SHould I wait to plant blackberries in Spring? ANd should I wait until that time to order??

Bare-root plants are best

By Almanac Staff

Bare-root plants are best planted in early spring. Container-grown plants may be planted any time between early spring and late summer.
There aren't a lot of blackberries that do well in zone 4. Thornless won't do well. We've heard "Black Satin" is a hardy variety. You should talk to your mail-order source or garden center about when to order, but you want them when you're ready to plant.

I've had my blackberry bush

By gardner_jones

I've had my blackberry bush for a couple months now and have only had one tiny berry. Is that normal? Is the plant just getting adjusted and next year it will produce more fruit?

Yes, this is normal for many

By Almanac Staff

Yes, this is normal for many types of blackberries. During the first year, the canes sprout and grow to their full height. Canes are produced from both the roots and the crown. They go dormant for the winter. In the second year the canes leaf, flower, and fruit.

When I was a kid growing up

By Gerald Dodd

When I was a kid growing up in East Texas we would all go pick black berrys the were as big and long as my thumb i have never seen these type again and the flied of berrys are long gone do u know what type of berry they were so i can grow those

There are "upright" thorny

By Almanac Staff

There are "upright" thorny types with very big blackberries. Try a variety called the "Kiowa" blackberry. Here's a seed company that sells them though I'm sure there are many others:
http://www.starkbros.com/products/berry-plants/blackberry-plants/kiowa-blackberry

Hey there, I planted some

By Latrisha

Hey there, I planted some blackberry bushes at he beginning of spring this year, and while the original plant died off it produce shoots that came up, but with this heat they have began to die off or shed their leaves. Is this normal, will they still come back or has it died..??

Here is advice from our

By Almanac Staff

Here is advice from our cooperative extension: "If growth is poor during the first season, cut the canes back to several inches in late winter to force development of sturdier, more fruitful canes. In the second and succeeding years, shoot growth is more vigorous and upright. Tie these new shoots to the trellis when they reach a length of four to six feet. Some growers prefer to wait until after harvest to remove old canes before tying new shoots to the trellis in a fan shape (do not bunch them). In the spring before growth starts, prune any laterals back to twelve inches to encourage larger fruit."

Will a thornless blackberry

By Ferdinand Renones

Will a thornless blackberry patch ever have to be replanted? Mine has been sending up primocanes reliably for over 20 years and fruiting well the following year.

According to this source,

By Almanac Staff

According to this source, they can grow up to 40 years! http://www.fruitsandberries.com/

I received some wild

By Carol K

I received some wild blackberry trimmings years ago (maybe 7 years), I planted them and they have grown since then, but they have never flowered or produced a single berry??? What could be wrong? I don't know if I should tear them out and start over or whats going on.... Appreciate your help!

Make sure that the

By Almanac Staff

Make sure that the blackberries are planted in a sunny spot. They need lots of sun. If the canes are crowded prune them in early spring to encourage new growth.

I find that store bought

By Patricia Brothers

I find that store bought blackberries are tasteless- the wild ones that grow nearby are sweet and good - but I want to plant my own blackberries that taste like the wild blackberries - please tell me where to acquire the plants and how to care for them so that they produce the kind of blackberries that grow in the wild.

You can dig roots from the

By Almanac Staff

You can dig roots from the wild berry canes and transplant into your garden. Cut them to about 6 inches in length before planting horizontally a couple of inches deep. Water and fertilize and they should grow. One concern is that wild blackberries sometimes have a virus that can spread to other bramble bushes. Check catalogs for varieties that have "wild blackberry" taste. One thornless variety is called 'Wild Treasure'.
 

I have a blackberry bush and

By Terrie Resler

I have a blackberry bush and it produced very few blackberries with them ripening at different times. I have some new branches with lighter leaves, is this what i am supposed to trim back? The whole plant is less that 3ft tall and only has about 8 branches. I am not sure what a CANE looks like

There are different varieties

By Charles McAchran

There are different varieties of blackbeties. Some have a certain season for producing berries and some will produce berries over a longer period of time. I have thornless blackberries that produce berries for about 6 weeks starting around July 1. Mine will produce fruit on the canes (branches) for two yers, then die. New branches sprout each year. They must have 8 hours of full sun to produce well. The first year the canes are green. The second year they begin to turn brown and after the crop ripens they begin to turn fully brown and before winter, I remove them. This year, because of a cold start for spring, my berries were not as big as usual. I just bought a couple of bushes that produce berries all summer and I will see how this turns out.

Canes are the stems that are

By Almanac Staff

Canes are the stems that are coming up from the soil. The canes that produced fruit this year can be pruned back. Leave all the new growth for next year.

my blackberry plkant looks

By janice webb

my blackberry plkant looks healthy,but it is one big stem growing up the trellis. No thorns on it and no berries. Is this a sucker branch? Should I cut it back?

I'm having this discussion

By JohnPeters

I'm having this discussion with the father in law. At the end of our eating season, about the 1st of july, I mowed the bushes while cutting the grass. Today, 1st of august, I cut them down again. Father in law says to only cut once. I would like to keep cutting them until Oct/Nov. What say you?

Your blackberry yield would

By Almanac Staff

Your blackberry yield would be much better if you didn't mow at all and only cut out the old canes that fruited this year. That way you save the new canes to bear fruit next year. You can mow 1/2 the bushes down to clear more space but you may have to wait longer for the berries to grow. Mow only once!

i have a blackberry bush

By kev smith

i have a blackberry bush which i cut back every year it is 4 yrs old 1st and 2nd gave lots of fruit 3rd ND 4TH NO FLOWERS OR FRUIT ?

There are many reasons why

By Almanac Staff

There are many reasons why blackberries fail; fungus, virus, lack of pollinators, and insect injury to name a few. It sounds like your berries may be infected with the fungus Cercosporella rubi. You should continue to cut back the berries yearly, but next year when the growing season begins, apply fungicide every other week for 8 weeks (4 applications). About 4 days before you are ready to pick the berries, apply another dose of fungicide. Once all of the berries are harvested, apply another dose. Good luck next year!

I have vines that are turning

By Martha Hunt

I have vines that are turning brown to a purple black. Some fruit dried up and dead and some still good off the same stock. What to do?

It sounds like your

By Almanac Staff

It sounds like your blackberries have a fungus called Leptosphaeria coniothyrium. You will need to remove and destroy the infected canes during dry weather so that the disease does not spread. The fungus can be carried by the wind to other plants and has the ability to overwinter.

I have tons of wild

By Hummingbirdbear

I have tons of wild blackberries all over my property. They produce quite well they have grown with no pruning or picking for at least 7 years or more. They taste great. but weeds and wild roses are starting to take over. what can I do to save them? A friend and I have decided to start picking them and selling them at the farmer's market. any help would be great.

You need to prune and thin

By Almanac Staff

You need to prune and thin your blackberries and cut back or remove as much of the weeds and wild roses as you can. Then put down a few inches of mulch around all the bushes to keep the weeds down.

When I tried mulching my

By Charles McAchran

When I tried mulching my blackberries to cut down on the grass and weeds I got bugs and insects in the mulch. The birds came and got the bugs and insects along with my blackberries so I gave up on the mulch and do the best I can to eliminate the grass and weeds. I do not like to use chemicals in my blackberry patch.

should I put up trellises?

By Hummingbirdbear

should I put up trellises? and I have 15 acres and I would say there is probably 3 or 4 acres of them spread from one end to the other. I've been working on it in 1 spot for four hours and have barely made a dent in it. I hope it is worth it.

Putting your plants on

By Charles McAchran

Putting your plants on trellises gets them off the ground and I understand that if you trim the canes back a bit, they will branch out laterally and should give you more berries per bush. If you have a lot of bushes, this will take time and money to get them all off the ground but it should pay off eventually and they are easier to deal with and get the fruit.

hank you for your time! it is

By Hummingbirdbear

hank you for your time! it is greatly appreciated.

I noticed on my thornless

By Luv berries

I noticed on my thornless blackberry bush that it has fruit worms, How can I get rid of them?? and are these worms harmful?/

The worms are probably a

By Almanac Staff

The worms are probably a larval form of a fly or beetle. Pick them off by hand or soak the berries in salted water for about an hour. The worms will float to the top of the water and then can be removed.

we have a giant (thorny)

By alan haber

we have a giant (thorny) blackberry clump, about 20 feet in diameter, 6 or 8 feet high. unpruned for many years, now full of stems with fruit developing and many long stems with no fruit. i pruned back the fruitless stems to give the fruited ones better light and easier access. i can't get to the top at all.

Our wild black raspberries

By Helen Kempton

Our wild black raspberries have some brown spots on them. Many of the branches that bear fruit have dried up instead of producing berries.The patch has been there untended a long time-we move here recently. Are the berries safe to eat if they have a brown spot on them? Should we only eat berries without blemishes? Thanks!!!!!

The brown spots are caused by

By Almanac Staff

The brown spots are caused by hot and dry weather. Keep the blackberries well watered and picked regularly. If possible give the bushes some shading during the hottest part of the summer.

My sister in law gave me a

By Toni K

My sister in law gave me a cutting from her blackberry bush. I put it in a vase with water on my window sill.. Should I expect it to root? Can I ever plan it and get fruit?
Thank you!

You can grow a blackberry

By Almanac Staff

You can grow a blackberry bush from a leafy stem cutting, but you want to use new canes while their growth is still tender. The offshoot growth happens in the spring.  Take cuttings that are 4 to 6 inches long and dip into a hormone solution and plant in a container with a sterile, well draining potting mix. A mix of ½ perlite and ½ peat works well. Rooting usually occurs within 5 - 6 weeks. We would let the plant grow in a pot for a summer so the roots are well established.

I have thornless blackberries

By Sharon DeWall

I have thornless blackberries 3 years old. They produce very well, but this year part of the mature blackberry is a translucent white - as though it did not turn black, and those parts are hard, while the rest of the berry is black, juicy and sweet. Do they have a virus or not enough water or what? I live near San Diego, Ca.

For some thornless blackberry

By Almanac Staff

For some thornless blackberry varieties (e.g., Apache), portions of the fruit may turn white during hot weather. It is not a virus.

I would love to see the

By Cathy Davis Simms

I would love to see the response to your question. My neighbor has this same problem with her thornless Blackberries this year in Portland Oregon. Please let me know if there is a cause for this or even a solution. Thank you.

Does it do any good to trim,

By W D Wilder

Does it do any good to
trim, prune or thin out wild blackberry bushes?

It's not easy, but pruning

By Almanac Staff

It's not easy, but pruning the bushes gives you more fruit. Cut out the dead canes. In the winter, when they're dormant, cut the rest down low so they'll be at picking height. If you can mow down the bushes in between and create rows, that give them sunlight from all sides and makes it easier to pick.

I planted blackberries along

By East TN

I planted blackberries along a wire fence. They've grown and are producing berries like nobody's business. However, though the berries are supposedly ripe (they give all the signs - willingly leaving the bush, plump, dark...) but they're pretty darn bitter. We've gotten a lot of rain lately, is that part of the problem?

Make sure to pick the berries

By Almanac Staff

Make sure to pick the berries when they are just starting to lose their glossiness and are beginning to soften.

Watering too much or too little can sometimes cause bitterness--that probably applies to rain, too.

Warm, sunny weather helps to sweeten the berries. If the weather has been cool and cloudy, or perhaps if your plants are getting too much shade, it may have affected the taste of the fruit.

Although cultivated varieties are often bred for sweetness, often wild blackberries (even when transferred to the garden) can be bitter.

Bitter berries are still good for pies, cooked sauces for ice cream, jams, etc. But be sure to add sugar or another sweetener.

can I plant blackberries in a

By sharyn

can I plant blackberries in a container on my lanai. I live in florida?

You can plant blackberries in

By Almanac Staff

You can plant blackberries in large containers, such as a half barrel. Some cultivars do well in Florida (in fact, some blackberries are native to your state). Keep in mind that certain cultivars will need another cultivar for pollination, while others are self-fruitful. Plus, trailing types will require trellising. Harvest time is usually at some point in April to June.

To help you get started, here is a Web site from the University of Florida with links to information on growing blackberries in your state, with recommended cultivars.

http://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/giam/plants_and_grasses/fruits_vegetables/blackberries.html

I have just ordered 5 triple

By Pat FIx

I have just ordered 5 triple crown blackberry plants online and have some questions:
Do they need to have a trellis ?
Do wild blackberries 30 feet away need to be removed ?
Will I have problems planting them in July ?

1) Although several nurseries

By Almanac Staff

1) Although several nurseries say that Triple Crown's semi-erect canes are sturdy enough to support fruit without a trellis, many gardeners find that using a trellis makes care and maintenance easier.

2) It is best to remove any wild blackberries for at least 300 feet, in case they harbor any disease that can be transferred to the cultivated variety.

3) Although it's best to plant in spring, if your plants are being shipped in containers, then you should be OK planting in early July--as long as you keep up with the watering and care to help them through transplant shock and the heat of summer. For specific advice, we'd recommend that you contact the company from which you ordered the plants--they should be able to tell you the best way to care for your plants to ensure their survival in your area, for the time of year, and for the way the plants were shipped. (Bare-root plants should not be planted in summer, however, so we're guessing that your plants will be arriving in containers.)

Its June 25th and i have

By Bob Sands

Its June 25th and i have loads of ripe blackberries, but they taste sour. Should i leave on the bush longer????

If the berries are dark

By Almanac Staff

If the berries are dark black, plump and come off easily, they are ready to be picked. You may leave them on for a little longer to see if they get sweeter. A few days can make a big difference in taste.

Our blackberries are

By Stacy, IN

Our blackberries are producing well and at the beginning of the season were very large and plump. Now the berries are much smaller and sour. We do not pull them off but they will fall off when touched. What can we do next year to make sure they are sweet the entire harvest?

I am concerned about viruses

By Jillian

I am concerned about viruses in my wild blackberries. If my blackberries are producing normally and fervently can I assume they are free of virus?

Is there any way to treat the

By Jack Breeden

Is there any way to treat the virus in wild blackberries?

I was hoping for an answer to

By Jack Breeden

I was hoping for an answer to my last question, but since I didn't get one I'll try again.
I have wild blackberries growing near my house. The new canes look very green and healthy but the ones with berries on them are brown and almost look dead (they do have green leaves on them). In years past they have produced very small, hard and dry fruit. Does this sound like the virus that has been mentioned here? I have been using Miracle Gro fertilizer this spring to, hopefully, produce better results this year. Any Comments?

There are many types of

By Almanac Staff

There are many types of viruses. Unfortunately, in most cases, infected plants should be removed and destroyed to minimize the spread of viruses. The best prevention for the future is to spray fungicides in the winter before growth starts, avoid excessive nitrogen fertilizer, thin plants to improve air circulation, control weeds, irrigate early in the day so that foliage can dry out in the afternoon, and avoid leaf wetness. Also, remove and destroy all old canes after the final harvest and remove any new canes that have lesions.

I had the same problem this

By Jack Breeden

I had the same problem this year as in previous years, so I suspect that my plants are infected. I cut all the canes and tilled the soil and will be adding new topsoil. I will be attempting to start a new crop from seeds (from another source) in the spring, and plant the new canes in the same spot.

Can I treat the soil with a fungicide before I plant the new canes and, if so,what fungicide should I use?

Thanks in advance for your response and I really appreciate your website.

I have a tree that produces

By Eric Ackerman

I have a tree that produces enough berries in a typical year to make two pies. This year the fruit yield is at least 15 times what is typical. I live in NE Ohio. I was picking some berries then I noticed the most ripe ones are on the ground. What do I do with them to make sure they're safe to eat? There are bats living in the tree.

Yes, it's as safe as the

By Almanac Staff

Yes, it's as safe as the fruit on the tree as long as your ground doesn't have dangerous chemicals on it. There are some people who only eat what falls naturally from a plant!

Does blackberries have

By virginia hyatt

Does blackberries have thorns?

Blackberries may be thorny or

By Almanac Staff

Blackberries may be thorny or thornless. (They're not technically "thorns" but they certainly are thorny and can make picking a challenge!) Some readers say that the thorny blackberries taste better while others just can't take the thorns and go for a thornless cultivar.

When I pick my berries I

By Gilbert Marrero

When I pick my berries I sometimes have a small green stem attached. Do you pick this off or is is safe to eat?

It sounds like you are

By Almanac Staff

It sounds like you are picking too early. Ripe blackberries will release easily from the stalk.

My Blackberry bush has load

By Peggy Spinelli

My Blackberry bush has load of unripened blackberries. I noticed there were about 8 thck branches with no fruit gorwing in the middle of the plant from the ground up.. I cut those back to the ground. Ever since i cut those back the leaves and plant appears to be dying..did cutting back those brances cause the plant harm?
Thank you for your assitance
Peggy Spinelli

Hi Peggy, The pruning of the

By Almanac Staff

Hi Peggy,

The pruning of the plant should not have caused it harm. Keep watering and hopefully the plant will recover.

I have a small bush that is

By cdsouth

I have a small bush that is very healthy looking. It blooms every spring, but the fruit dries up after the petals fall. Is this a black raspberry or blackberry? I transplanted it two years ago to a sunnier spot and made sure it had plenty of water this spring, but it still doesn't produce. It had black raspberry looking fruits on it years ago. Is it just too old? It produces beautiful new shoots. HELP!

Fruit drying is often a sign

By Almanac Staff

Fruit drying is often a sign that the plant needs more water. Remove some of the new shoots but keep one or two and see if they will grow into fruiting plants. Then remove the old plant.

I have a wild blackberry tree

By Joe Gangemi

I have a wild blackberry tree at my work. We just picked some today. When we soaked them in water we noticed very small insects that look like very small grass seed. What are they and what should we do. If we hadn't soaked them we would not have found them. Are they something to worry about?

It's hard to tell what insect

By Almanac Staff

It's hard to tell what insect you spotted. Thrips and mites sometimes cause damage to the berries. Usually blackberries are attacked by bigger bugs, like stink bugs and Japanese beetles.

I purchased 2 plants from a

By DANIEL BROWN SR

I purchased 2 plants from a store at 2 different times. neither plant has sprouted/

When is the best month for

By robin abington

When is the best month for picking blackberries

When you pick blackberries

By Almanac Staff

When you pick blackberries depends on your location in North America as well as the variety. In general, blackberries are picked during June in the South, and in July and early August in the North.

How do I know if the

By Sandy Jonsson

How do I know if the blackberry plants i purchased have a virus?

Unfortunately, blackberry

By Almanac Staff

Unfortunately, blackberry plants may show no evidence of virus just by looking at them. You will know your plant has a virus if the berries do not produce well, they mature in a misshapen way, or the berries grow but are very small.

potatoes and berrires

By Anonymous

why do you not plant potatoes and berries near
each other and how far apart should they be

According to our cooperative

By Almanac Staff

According to our cooperative extension: Do not plant raspberries where tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, or eggplant have been grown within the past four years, because these crops carry a root rot called Verticillium that can also attack raspberries. Destroy all wild raspberry and blackberry plants within a distance of 600 feet of your planting site if possible, to reduce the possibility that virus diseases might be spread to your planting.
Blackberry plants should be set 4 feet apart in rows 8 to 12 feet apart.

Sour Blackberries

By Anonymous

I have a raised bed of blackberries, the production is great. Some of the berries are more sour than sweet. Is there anything I can do to reverse this situation?

Sour blackberries

By Anonymous

Pick your berries when they are fully ripe for the most sugar content. Blackberries appear pretty and black before the sugar accumulates in the fruit. Wait until the shine dulls a bit for the best taste - and nutrition.

Fertilize in the spring as

By Almanac Staff

Fertilize in the spring as growth starts and make sure to water well when the blackberries flower and start setting fruit.

Zone 10 Blackberries?

By Anonymous

I've only ever picked blackberries up north, had no idea they grew down here...now I want to try, but what varieties do well down here and when do you plan them? Thanks for all the info!

Most blackberry varieties do

By Almanac Staff

Most blackberry varieties do not grow in zone 10. You need varieties with "low-chill" hours. We'd advise you to ask your local cooperative extension. Some readers have had success with: Natchez, Apache, Kiowa, and others. Planting is best performed from December through February.

Pruning

By sbolejack

New to blackberries and need to find out about the pruning process. Do they need to be cut back to the ground?

Pruning blackberries

By rosecottage4corinne

My blackberries have now grown over the trellis all the way to the ground. My trellis' are about 4 feet high. I'm wondering if 6 foot trellis' would be better and how to prune the tops.

Pruning blackberries

By Anonymous

First year blackberry canes (primacanes) don't fruit but become the 2nd year (flouracanes) that do fruit. I allow 1 primacane to grow to 3' and and 1 to 6' (from each crown) before pruning the top and encouraging branches left and right on a wire trellis. Cut off all other primacanes at the base. I space my crowns about 5' apart. BobR

Pruning blackberries

By rosecottage4corinne

I was given thornless blackberries this year and planted them with trellis'. Now they have grown taller than the trellis and I wonder if cutting them off so they don't grow any taller and hopefully encouraging new growth from the bottom is the proper way to care for them.

Thank you for a wonderful newsletter.

Corinne

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