Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Blackberry Bushes



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Blackberries, like raspberries, are a very easy fruit to grow. Here’s how to grow blackberries in your garden!

However tempting, do not grow blackberry plants unless you are certain they are virus-free, as plant 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 details on specific types of blackberries.)

  • Trailing blackberries produce vigorous primocanes (first-year vegetative cane) from the crown of the plant rather than roots. Second-year canes (called 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 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. Prune or tip primocanes in the summer to encourage branching and increase fruit production on the second-year floricanes. Plants can become invasive to an area as they can produce new primocanes (suckers) from their roots.
    Erect blackberries produce fruit with relatively large seeds. Flavor and aroma are not considered as intense as in the trailing 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 primocanes. This makes management easier, as the canes can be cut to the ground each winter. 
  • Semi-erect blackberries 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 rather than raspberry, whose fruits leave the receptacle on the branch. Popular cultivars include ‘Boysen’ (Boysenberry), ‘Logan’ (Loganberry), and ‘Tay’ (Tayberry).


  • Blackberries and hybrids are all self-fertile, so multiple plants are not needed for fruit production.
  • Select a site that receives full sun for the best berry yields.
  • Soil needs to be fertile with good drainage. Add organic content to enrichen your soil. (Learn more about soil amendments and preparing soil for planting.)
  • 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 low temperatures could kill some hybrids.


  • 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.

Trellising and Pruning

Trellises are beneficial for all types of blackberries.

  • For trailing blackberries, 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 nutrients 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 areas 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 danger of extreme cold has passed, train the old primocanes (now considered 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 from root suckering (often 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. Plants 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.

    Semi-erect berries need to be pruned in the summer. When the primocanes are five feet tall, remove the top two inches to encourage branching. Several pruning sessions will be required as canes reach the appropriate 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.


  • 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 vines 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. Techniques used for freezing blueberries can also be used on blackberries.

Recommended Varieties

Wit & Wisdom

Blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are very high in ellagic acid, which is an antioxidant that acts as a scavenger, helping to make potential cancer-causing chemicals inactive. Ellagic acid reduces the genetic damage caused by carcinogens like tobacco smoke and air pollution. Blackberries also contain other antioxidants that can help lower cholesterol and ward off cardiovascular disease.


Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

About how long does it take

About how long does it take the blackberries to turn from red to black?

Ripe Blackberries

Hi Cassie, 

Unripe blackberries are red, turning black when they are ready to be harvested. Blackberries are ripe at different times, depending on your region, but generally are ready in June (now) in the southern states, and in July in the northern states. Thanks for writing!

Wild blackberries harvesting

I live in southeastern Indiana when will the wild black berries be ready to harvest I thought late summer or when

Harvesting blackberries

Correct. Blackberry harvesting in Indiana is generally July 15 to July 30 with a late crop in August. It can shift by two weeks depending on the year’s weather so your best bet is to check with a local berry-picking farm. 

blotchy blackberries

My berries started out great after one small harvest this season we have a week long heat wave and a lot of berries dried up and some are partially ripe some kernels on berry are tan in color whats happening i
I In in sacramento I believe I have been invaded by Apple moths

Blackberry bushes have no leaves and no fruit

I purchased 2 blackberry bushes from home depot over a year ago. I live in central Fl, so I thought they would be easy to grow. I planted theem in full sun with good drainage. When I bought them they had leaves no fruit yet, they slowly lost all the leaves and continued to grow long stems and seem to be alive, I have trimmed them, and the wood/stem part seems to be good alive and flexable, but there is still not one leave or fruit. What is going on or what am I doing wrong? Any help? Thanks

Blackberry Bushes

Hi Kristin,

Thanks for writing! Blackberries are biennials, meaning they grow canes during the first year and produce fruit on those canes in the second year. Second year canes die, leaving seeds from fruit to seed the next years first year canes. If they did not produce fruit the first or second years, then there would be no new canes to replace the old. If the canes you have are in their third season, they have lived out their lifespan. You may need to purchase new bushes, or ask a neighbor or friend for a few transplants. We hope this helps!

impulse buy - remove fruit or not?

We picked up a couple of potted blackberries today at the local farmers' market. The potted plants are at least a few years old, and have fruiting canes on them (some of the fruit is nearly ripe)... we'd planned to buy some canes in the fall and plant at the normal time, but these plants are large, vigorous, and healthy looking. What's our best bet for getting these planted with minimal stress? Nip the fruit off now and plant? Leave in pots until the fruit is done and then prune and plant? Plant with the fruit on?

Black berrying canes

See the planting tips above; you want to avoid planting in fall in places that have winter. While spring is advised, under the circumstances, sooner is better than later. Any plant that is transplanted experiences some “stress” in the process. Think of it: this growing thing is interrupted, removed and reset and expected to get on with it, when in fact, the roots have to take hold and the plant has to stretch and get used to the sun/moisture/soil in this new spot. You seem to want to pick the fruit. Any why not if it’s ripe. Take it as a sign that the plant was “happy” where it was—in the pot, in that soil, and in whatever sun etc the grower kept it. Transplanting it will probably stop the fruit in its current stage for all the reasons cited. How about this: think longer term: Do you want a few berries now or a bigger harvest later?

winter kill?

Live in Minnesota and have the blackberries that bare on 2nd year canes. 2016 was 1st year they bore fruit and there were lots of canes produced so figured 2017 would be even better. All but 2 of the bushes are coming back this spring only from the roots. We did prune them last summer as they were taking over the area. Is it possible that this is winter kill or another issue?

blackberries did not come back

Not sure we have a good answer for this one. We suggest that you contact your local cooperative extension service; find your state here:   If you have time, come back to let us know what they say.

When should I plant Black/Raspberries in coastal Southern CA

Hello: When would it be best to plant these berries in coastal San Diego, we are about 4 miles from the coast and is cooler than our county's inland areas.
Thank you!

Berries in San Diego

We could take a guess but would rather recommend an org that has more knowledge about berries in your area,, which has several pages on cane berries. Check it out!


Don't let them get away from you

Hi, I would like to start growing some blackberries, but my experience is that they can get away from you, sending out "streamers" and popping up all over your property and even get onto your neighbors property. How do you keep them confined without killing them every year? Thanks

controlling blackberries

The University of Idaho Cooperative Extension suggests burying 14-inch-wide strips of aluminum or galvanized steel flashing (used in roofing) around the outside of the garden beds. In addition, be sure to remove any suckers that pop up outside the growing area. Some people have success if they rototill and/or mow the area around the growing beds regularly. Or, you can grow them in large containers. Good luck!

blackberry blossom will not open

I have blackberry blossoms that will not open . There are many blossoms but 3/4 of them do not open so they do not fruit. I am in Florida and they are doing it again! Help!

Blossoms fail to open

Hi, Mike, The University of Florida has excellent information on blackberries here: and you may be able to get information first hand at a local office (click on the phrase “local office” at the top of this link).

We hope this helps—there is nothing like fresh berries!

blackberry bushes

When is the best time to fertilize blackberry bushes? What kind and how much Thanks

Fertilizing Blackberries

The best time to fertilize blackberries is in the early spring right before they start pushing new growth. They like slightly acidic soil so go with a 10-20-10 formula granular fertilizer. How much will depend on the number of plants and the square footage of your growing zone–apply according to the directions on the bag.


Blackberries & Peaches

I read in a reply that blackberries shouldn't be near black walnut trees and it caused me to wonder about peach trees. I'm in Zone 8 and the trees were planted last spring. The best blackberry location for us (wild animal-free) is in the fenced back yard about 10' from the nearest tree. We plan to trellis the berry plants.

Blackberry care/trimming

This is the 3rd year and I am getting a lot of fruit this year...Yay! I had built a trellis and they grow up on those. The fruit is up to about the 6 ft. level and then the plants grow up much longer and are just flop over but have wound them into the stair railing above. They are now up to about 10 ft. I guess I should be or should have trimmed them based on what I read above. As I read of what to do I am not sure of the type I have. Training BB, Erect BB, Semi-erect. Should I just trim them?

Trimming Blackberry Canes

Hi Mike,

You can certainly do some thinning out of any dead or dying canes, and tipping back of some of the longer healthy canes. You could also take some photos of the plant and bring it to a local nursery, where someone might be able to identify the type you have–this will help you when it comes time to do a bigger pruning job, which you will want to do to keep the canes fruitful.

When to plant

I would like to plant my blackberries this fall, but when exactly would be best to do it? I love in the Texas panhandle, on the border of zone 6b/7a.

Planting Blackberries

Hi Shannon,

Dormant, bare root blackberries should be planted mid- to late winter for summer berries.

Thornless blackberries trailing

I am not a plant person at all but my stepfather passed away right after he planted these blackberries and they are so good I'm trying to keep them growing and producing. It has been going so well for the last 11 years but now I have a problem they are "trailing?" and as I'm weeding around them and trying to stake them I can't do it because both ends are in the ground it's a mess so do I cut one end some don't look that established but others are deep in the ground and look like they've been there for years. They weren't like that last year can I cut one end without killing both ends? I don't know what to do can you help me please and Thank you.

trailing blackberries

“Trailing” blackberries are a type. The canes grow along the ground and they must be tied to a trellis to keep the fruit off the ground. However, they are not cold hardy and do not produce in cold regions.

Semi-erect blackberries tend to grow close to the ground, like vines. Assuming you do not have true trailing berries (thus, you must reside in a warm region), perhaps you have semi-erect berries. Sources suggest that semi-erect berries become upright and branched in their second year—and yours are in their eleventh year!

We can not find any information about blackberry canes self-rooting at the tip. As for cutting one end without killing the plant, you want to avoid cutting the base, the source. Presumably, it is thicker than the tip of the cane.

Perhaps your grandfather pruned and you simply did not realize it. He must have had a system! If it is as thickly tangled as you seem to suggest, It may be time to cut them back (in late winter, to about 7 feet) and essentially start again, securing them to wire fencing or the like. Such hearty plants will probably withstand even a (forgive us) gross over cutting on your part, but it will give you a fresh start and, hopefully, quite a few years of wonderful berries.

We hope this helps!

Spraying Wild Blackberries

I have quite a few wild blackberries around my pond, I was wondering what to spray them with to enhance their productivity and control insects? Also, when to spray?


My blackberries probegate that way a long branch hits the ground and the piece in the ground roots... that is great make sure the one that rooted is secure in the ground if not.. add dirt around it and then simply cut the stem it came from ... strawberries do it the same way.... since the canes don't live but 2 years this is a way to prolong the live... but usually around the 1st cane others shoot up and the older one dies off ... cutting to the old dead ones helps... my cats love it in my bush but this year i had to get in there and cut some of it back to encourage growth and more fruit.. last year i had an enormous amount of green but little fruit because i did not prune last Sring. Happy gardening ... let me know how your are now?

The Tayberry

Is it possible to grow tayberries in Lake Charles, LA (very south Louisiana!!). Some blackberries THRIVE here but NO raspberries!


Hi, Bob, this is a new one on us: tayberry. Who knew? As you know, this is a hybrid cross of a blackberry and a raspberry, and many people believe it to be the most flavorful of the brambles! (Where have we been?) The tayberry is very thorny (double the pleasure, double the pain?), and it requires the planting, training, and pruning techniques usually applied to the blackberry. But will it grow in Louisiana…? We have no evidence, pro or con, for or against, yea or nay.

You might contact and ask an expert at the LSU Agricultural Center about tayberries:

LSU Ag Center has a page that suggests “Raspberries are not well adapted to Louisiana conditions. Afternoon or partial shade my a production. Dorman Red is the only raspberry that has consistently produced fruit in Louisiana. It has training canes and cae be managed similar to dewberries. It has medium-size, attractive fruit, with average to poor flavor:

Seemed too good to be true…

So that’s all we’ve got. If you find out from the LSU Ag Center, let us know!


tart berries

I have a ton of huge berries but they are tart, even when I wait until they are black as night and fall off easily. Is there anything I can do?

Tart berries

Watch your p h 6.5 when berries appear sprinkle some lime to make it 7.2 alkaline.with water don't let berries dry out. Michael OK

I have a seedless, thornless

I have a seedless, thornless blackberry plant. I assume, based on what I've read, that it's a semi erect variety? It's sending up suckers which I'll prune out. Is trellising necessary? I live in a cold zone 4.5-5 and have it in the most protected part of our garden: right in front of the house.

Do blackberries grow in Canada?

Can Blackberries survive a Canadian winter and grow back on it's own the next year?

We live in the kootenays of

We live in the kootenays of BC and have both trailing and semi-erect. Never had a problem.

Newly planted blackberries

I recently planted 3 new thronless blackberry plants around the middle of march. They are small young plants no higher than 12" but they are already flowering and producing fruit. Should i keep the fruit or clip them to allow focus on rooting. Also it seems like the berries are either drying up or some are not very big. Thanks for any advice

Your new plants are not going

Your new plants are not going to produce many berries this year. It is recommended not to prune the canes the first year. Let them grow and then next year you can prune them after they have flowered and fruited.

blackberry issue

My blackberries are over two years. I get lots of bloom, but not all turn into berries. Many start to form a berry, but don't complete the process. The leaves on those canes are light green with some yellow. Some canes do produce dark green leaves and very large, nice berries.

Blackberries can suffer from

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.

blackberries are alive but not growing any leaves

i have Semi-erect blackberries the vine is still alive after winter but has not started to spout any leaves or flowers and others in out area are. this is only our second year having then and I so not know what is going on, please help

Hi Bobbie,

Hi Bobbie,

If the vines are alive you may just have to wait a little longer to see any new leaves. Check around the bottom of the plants to see if there are any new seedling growing. The variety you have may be different from your neighbors. If the soil is dry water the vines and also sprinkle some fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, to the soil around the vines.

Growing plants in hot climate

Would it be possible to grow berries in the sand of Arabian desert?

I have read online that you

I have read online that you shouldn't plant tomatoes near blackberries but I cannot seem to find how far apart they should be?

how far is far enough?

You’re probably not going to find a number, Stephanie. Here’s some help: Tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant are nighshade plants (nightshade is their family). They do not “get along with” blackberries and can transmit disease (verticillium wilt) to the berries. Also avoid planting blackberries near black walnut trees.

You would be advised to put quite a few feet (even pavement) betw the areas in which you grow these plants. How much…? Well, we’d say a good 20 feet minimum; then add 30 feet for good measure (why risk disappointment?). Consider that some sources advise planting blackberry rows three feet apart, with 7 to 8 feet between the rows.

We hope this helps.


Two questions:

1. How do you keep birds from eating the blackberries before they are ripe enough to harvest? We tried netting on another one of our plants, but a bird got caught in the netting and died so we don't want a repeat of that. If netting is the answer, is there a way to place it to prevent death/injury to birds?
2. This may be a stupid question but it's not obvious to me if the problem of blackberries and tomatoes transmitting disease results from sharing common ground or can be airborne. We have cherry tomatoes and blackberries planted in pots. Should the containers be placed far from each other or is this problem only if they are planted in the soil together?

Thank you.

blackberry cold hardiness

We live in western colorado zone 5 to 6 and was wondering about summer floricane bearing blackberry such as Natchez or Chester being able to winter over well to produce fruit on 2nd year canes (floricanes)? We would like to have an earlier harvest to compliment our prime Ark Freedom primocane bearing fall harvest variety. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks in advance. Gregg

Both Chester and Natchez are

Both Chester and Natchez are rated hardy in zones 6 to 8. They are both excellent blackberries and ripen in early summer.

Growing blackberries in florida

We live in central florida and in December put in 330 Navajo blackberries one year old plants two questions # 1.. its only feb. and we are seeing berries on most of the plants which are only about one. foot tall. Is this normal? # 2.. Is it safe to use oak leaves as mulch? Thank you

The first crop of

The first crop of blackberries is usually borne on bushy canes. You will notice new upright canes growing next to the canes that have berries on them. These new canes will bear fruit next year. Oak leaves are great for mulching.


I have a blackberry bush that grew well. Trellised along my fence and it reached over 15 feet.

No fruit

It's already growing again and I can't tell if there is a virus?

No leaf discoloration.

If I do remove it, do I need to remove the soil too?

The hanks

You need to prune the bush.

You need to prune the bush. The timing of the pruning depends on what type of blackberries you have. See top of this page for pruning advice.



How do I know if the blackberries I have are trailing or erect? This will be the third year after planting and last year they did not produce very much fruit.

Hi Ruth, Erect blackberry

Hi Ruth, Erect blackberry plants grow upright and tend to stand on their own without needing additional support. Trailing blackberries tend to lean over and need support or trellising to keep off the ground.

You are also wondering why you don’t get any fruit. There are a few reasons this could be happening. First, you need to prune your plants. Top them off at 3 to 4 feet to encourage side branching and more fruit development. Don’t use too much nitrogen fertilizer which produces leaves at the expense of fruit.


Looking for fast growing steep slope stabilizing thorned thickets with pretty flowers & edible berries. Main purpose is stabilization, then impenetrable boundary fence, then great looks, & then great tasting produce. Thank you!

Vegetables compatable with blackberries

I planted two blackberry bushes in corners of my vegetable garden two years ago. Last year they fruited great but everything else I planted in front of them died or did not come up at all. I saw the post about beans and peas and would like to know if there are other vegetables that grow well with blackberries. I'd like to plant zucchini or winter squash in the area of the blackberries if they are compatible.

Squashes will do well next to

Squashes will do well next to blackberries. Just make sure that they have plenty of room to grow and that the blackberries don’t shade them too much.

wild berries

Hi, I farm in the Eastern Cape near Bathurst. There is a wild berry that grow in this area. Looks like a black berry. Can this be grown commercially? Any info welcome.

Where do blackberries get

Where do blackberries get their energy?

yellowing leaves on new transplants

I planted my new blackberry plants about 3 days ago. Followed the planting directions and plants are in a newly created raised bed filled with top soil and some compost. The leaves on the plants are starting to turn light green to yellow. I know they will go into dormancy soon but they were green just 3 days ago. What can be causing this and what can I do to make sure they are established and healthy (

Hi Jessica,

Hi Jessica,

The plants may suffer from transplant shock. Just make sure to keep the soil moist and the plants should be OK. Blackberries are usually very hardy and transplant well.

I have an unknown variety of

I have an unknown variety of thornless blackberry. It is semi-erect and vigorous. Right now, at the end of September,it has lots of berries but most are still red and those that are black are either still glossy and sour (unripe) or very soft and somewhat desiccated. Is this due to lack of water? We had a very dry summer in the Pacific Northwest, and I failed to water weekly. I am ready to remove this plant if I can't solve the problem and get to pick fruit, as it takes up quite a bit of space. I should add that it is planted near trees and gets less than full sun but probably 6 hours. The plant is robust and looks healthy.
Thanks for your help. I have learned so much already just reading the other posts.

The dry summer can have

The dry summer can have caused some of the problems. If the plant looks healthy give it another chance to produce berries next year. After harvest this fall prune the canes to about 3 feet high, water well, and add some compost around the canes. During the winter months cut out all the dead brown branches. When you see new growth at the tips of the canes cut off a few inches off the tips to encourage branching.

I am an avid vegetable

I am an avid vegetable gardener. Is there any companion vegetable plants that could be planted along with the blackberry plants? I have heard bush green beans work well to add nitrogen into the soul which blackberries need. Additionally I read garlic may be helpful as well.
Thank you very much for all your advice. This is my first adventure into growing berries.

Hi Jessica, Beans and peas

Hi Jessica,
Beans and peas are very good companions to black berries and some gardeners plant strawberries between the canes as a groundcover. Consider planting some herbs to attract pollinators and to keep harmful insects and critters away. Bee balm, hyssop and borage will all attract pollinators and tansy and rue will keep mice and Japanese beetles away.

I'm an trying to choose the

I'm an trying to choose the best variety of blackberries for my area. Depending on what site I look at I am either zone 6 or 7A. (I am between philadelphia and Lancaster PA). I am tempted to purchase the Prime Ark 45 but have read that dependant on winters it may not bear fruit in the fall. Would Darrow be a better choice?

Hi, Jessica: Use our note to

Hi, Jessica: Use our note to Michelle below to find your exact Zone, then research possibilities. One thing to always bear in mind when choosing varieties of anything is where they were developed. In this case, while they are both great berries, Prime Ark 45 comes from Arkansas and Darrow comes from New York -- which is closer to you and your conditions. In fact, Ark 45 is a later-bearing berry than Darrow, so Darrow would seem to be your better bet here. That being said, another thing to always bear in mind is the conditions at the exact specific location where the plants will be. Sometimes, if the plot is in a low or windswept place where conditions are generally colder, you have to actually go down one Zone number to account for this. Try asking your county extension for advice. Thanks for asking!

You know your microclimate

You know your microclimate and if you are concerned that you may not have a long enough growing season for a fall bearing blackberry then by all means go with 'Darrow'. It was developed at the NY Experimental Station and can stand winters down to -22 degrees so hardiness is not an issue. It is everbearing so you can enjoy fruit all season long.

Hi, My fiance and I are

My fiance and I are considering growing a small BlackBerry patch in our yard but I was curious as to which variety of black berry would grow best in our Eastern central Florida back yard and when is the best time to plant? :)

Hi, Michelle: First, please

Hi, Michelle: First, please make sure that you have read all of the material at the top of the page carefully. Then, at top, go to Gardening/Gardening Resources/Plant Hardiness Zones to find your exact Zone. Click on your state to make it larger and more detailed. Once you know your zone, go online and search for "blackberries in zone 9a" or whatever. Or, just ask your local nursery or county extension service (the Fla. Dept. of Ag is wonderful!) for advice. There are many that will grow well in your area. Plant them in late fall. Have fun!

I am looking to put in a

I am looking to put in a blackberry patch but will need to do it with a raised bed. I will be planting over an area that has forcythia I will be putting down thick black mesh to help keep forcythia at bay (origination of thr forcythia is on neighbors property.) How deep of a raised bed will I need to allow proper root growth?

Hi Jessica, You will need to

Hi Jessica,
You will need to build your raised bed at least 2 feet deep. Use landscape fabric or hardware cloth for the lining.

How long does it take for

How long does it take for patents issued on blackberry and raspberry cultivars to expire?

An old abandoned house down

An old abandoned house down my street is being torn down within the month.I have been given permission to attempt to take the black berry patch that has been there as long as anyone can remember. I'm in Northwest New York. What would be the best way to go about this. Do you think they will survive early transplant?

Fall is the best time to

Fall is the best time to transplant blackberries but it should be OK to do it now. Cut the canes back to about 5 feet before digging up the plants. Get as much of the roots as you can and put the plants in plastic bags to transport them. Plant them ASAP in the new location. Dig the holes about twice as big as the rootball and add some compost. Make sure to water the plants often until they get established.

I've had zero luck growing

I've had zero luck growing these beautiful berries in full sun. The leaves turn brown and die. I don't overwater them either. They seem to do better in mostly shade and very little sun. I live in SoCal so am I off base here or am I doing something wrong. I made this great arbor to grow them on in full sun and it's still empty :(

Hmmm.  Blackberries love

Hmmm.  Blackberries love California weather and definitely need full direct sun for 6 to 8 hours per day if you want a lot of fruit. How's their soil? It needs to be well-draining.
When leaves turn brown and die, this suggests that you could have spider mites.Do you see signs of this (dust)? Insecticidal soup spray usually does the trick. Perhaps contact our cooperative extension for more local information.



The best time might depend on

The best time might depend on the type of propagation method and your location. The best method of propagation would depend on the habit of your thornless blackberries. In general, tip layering would be OK for semi-erect and trailing types; start this in late summer or early fall and then prune them off of the mother plant in spring, and transplant. Root cuttings can be done in fall, when the plant is turning dormant. Hardwood cuttings (and rooting hormone), when the plant is dormant; softwood cuttings, in spring, when the plant is beginning to grow.
Depending on your climate, the timing might change a bit. For best advice for your area, you might contact your county's Cooperative Extension. For contact info, see:

Hi I moved into a new house

Hi I moved into a new house last October and there didn't seem to be much plant life in the garden. It's now July and I'm fighting with a thorny blackberry bush to get out of my back door. This thing is monstrous at nearing 10ft tall and 4ft across. It's producing hundreds if not thousands of black berries but I just can't fight through it any longer let alone the hundreds of bees which come with it. What is the best way to trim it down a bit without causing any harm please?

For starters, you might cut

For starters, you might cut down to the ground any canes that have already fruited (floricanes)--those with dead leaves, or old fruit on them. This is usually done in late summer, after the floricanes have stopped fruiting. At any time, you can remove any other canes that are damaged or diseased, or remove any canes that extend at ground level beyond the area where you want the plant to grow. If possible, you can set up a trellis and tie the canes that you would like to keep to it, to keep them from blocking the doorway. You can also trim back the primocanes (the 1-year-old canes that will fruit the second year) to about 3 or 4 feet. Some gardeners select just 4 to 8 primocanes to keep for next year's harvest, and prune out the other primocanes.
In spring, gardeners often prune off the tips of the canes back to about 24 inches, which encourages branching and more fruit.

Hi I have blackberries with

Hi I have blackberries with what they look like is white or tan druplets and by reading some of the comments I think this is from the sun and wind which we had both. I am located in new jersey atlantic county. Should I use the pyganic? I also have blackberries that seem to have a light purple druplet and after picking them overnight seem to rot and taste sour. I don't know why. I am about 3 weeks into picking them. The first 2 and half weeks they were fine and now this. we also have had a lot of rain. Is there anything I can do?
thandk you

You are correct about the

You are correct about the white or tan drupelets. This discoloration usually happens when the temperatures suddently change (example 70 to 90) and are accompanied with a drop in humidity (think dry air) and are exasperated by wind. All of these factors allow more UV rays to hit the fruits. However, they are still edible (just not marketable).
To avoid this issue, you can use mist the fruits or cool them down with overhead irrigation. Just avoid wetting them down in the evening so that the fruits have a chance to dry.
Blackberries will taste sour if they are picked too early. They turn black before they are ripe but you need to wait until they are dull and soft before picking.
Another reason for sour fruit is due to lack of watering. Your UV/discoloring issue suggests that this may be the case. It's important to provide deep and consistent watering to your blackburry bushes-- about 1 to 2 inches of water a week between May and October, and more if it's hot and dry.

I came across multiple

I came across multiple blackberry bushes on our farm yesterday while walking with our children. Are these okay to pick and eat? Do I need to look out for certain things?

Hi, Kayla, Lots of berries

Hi, Kayla, Lots of berries are black, so we can't be sure which you've found. Here's a page with illustrations and details on a variety of berries (black and otherwise). See if yours is in here: —even if you are not in Minnesota, it may be useful information.

I planted my blackberry plant

I planted my blackberry plant last spring of 2014. It grew well, was trellised and is about 5' in length. It is June 27, 2015 and there are no leaves yet. I scraped in a few spots and it looked ok still had a greenish color. What could cause the leave not to bloom and form the flowers need to produce fruit.

About two years ago I bout

About two years ago I bout five mix plants of blueberries and raspberry, One of them grew about 5-10 long 20 feet branches with much fruits on the first year. From what I read here it appear to be thornless, smooth stem blackberry. The fruit is longer, larger and sweeter than the wild blackberry which grows everywhere here in the Pacific northwest ( Seattle area). This year in addition of much growth, there are tons of berries that will be ripe soon.
1. Is it what I think it is?
2. How to prune them
3. How to protect it from birds and bees
4. Can I grow Mulberry here in the Pacific Northwest

Thanks, you got a very informative site.

Thornless blackberries are

Thornless blackberries are popular in the Washington state area--and known for their large, sweet, abundant berries. You need to regularly prune. When the new canes reach 4 feet tall in summer, tie them back. They'll form some (side) branches which will stick out. In the spring, cut those lateral branches back to 2 feet long. In fall, cut all the canes that produced fruit to the ground. Every year the new canes will produce more fruit in the summer. For the birds, try bird netting a few weeks before the berries ripen. Yes, there are Mulberry Trees suitable to where you live.

I have thornless blackberries

I have thornless blackberries that are always covered with red berries but as they ripen to black, many of the buds(seed) in each berry are white. What is problem, what is solution?

This is usually caused by hot

This is usually caused by hot weather or thrips during blooming. Try using a mild pesticide like Pyganic 1-2 per week during bloom and this should eliminate most of the the while spots (in berries.

We have 2 acres of organic

We have 2 acres of organic thornless (quaochita, apache, nachez and arapaho) blackberries in central Florida. I planted 4 years ago and we have had 2-3 very wet summers. We have orange cane blotch caused by c. vericens. The local coop said to spray use copper sulphate, we did (weekly last growing season) and no results, most canes when they woke up were cracked and various infections seemed to set in.

We had a cold winter with about 400 chill hours too. Soil ph is about 6.9.

We much with oak and fertilize in spring (8-5-5). We have yet to get any "real" yield from 2 acres (most was about 1000 pounds). We spray fish emultion weekly during the growing season (April-October).

What is the cure (if any) for orange cane blotch?

Any input is greatly appreciated.

I have a thorny bush that we

I have a thorny bush that we planted last year. It was given to us and I do not know what type it is but I have pruned it twice this year and it has quite a few green berry clusters on it. What I NEED to know is why are there two more blackberry plants growing by it now? We only planted the one. They are both very small, but I'm not sure how they could have come to be there.

Blackberries spread through

Blackberries spread through their root system and send up new shoots (root suckers) that grow into new plants.

I'm growing a thornless

I'm growing a thornless blackberry bush for the first time and some of the leaves have dark purple spots on them, and the leaves on the bottom are starting to turn yellow and fall off. I was wondering if anyone knew what kind of virus this was so I could properly treat and hopefully save my bush

It could be a nutrient

It could be a nutrient deficiencies (phosphorous, magnesium, or iron) and not a disease. Add some phosphorous and magnesium to the soil to see if it will help. You can also google the internet for images of purple spots on blackberriy leaves to see if you can find an image similar to your leaf problem.

My son had some thornless

My son had some thornless blackberry canes that he gave me yesterday. He is moving and they needed to be gotten ASAP. We are going to plant these today and it is the first week of June. (June 01)Will these need any special care? I thought it might be a good idea to cut the canes back to around 3 ft so they would not concentrate on growing berries. These do have blooms on them. What are your ideas on this?



Hi Michelle, Just make sure

Hi Michelle,
Just make sure to plant them in good soil and keep them watered. It's a good idea to prune them so that the roots will have some time to grow and establish themselves.

will Prime-Ark® Freedom

will Prime-Ark® Freedom Primocane Blackberry plants grow if plant the first week in june i'm in zone 6 I know they sould have been planted in march.

Yes they will grow if you

Yes they will grow if you have kept the canes moist and they haven't dried out. You may get some berries in late summer or early fall if you plant now.

Hi. I have two 3yr old

Hi. I have two 3yr old Arkansas type (Najajo on Comanache I think) thornless plants. Last year very productive and perfect fruit. I pruned back dead wood over the winter. Now have large canes growing, no fruit on them but much on lower canes. Wondering if should cut back the new large canes to encourage growth in lower parts where fruiting. Dallas Texas.

Be sure to prune out any old

Be sure to prune out any old canes (post fruiting). Fertilize with something like 5-5-5 prior to blossoming and 8-5-5 during growth season.

We just bought a home with an

We just bought a home with an existing garden. I LOVE gardening so it was perfect. On one side of the garden there is a trellis with thick vines growing all over it and I had NO idea what it was. I decided to tie it back and let it go to see what it was. I recently found out from the former owners son that they are thornless blackberries!!! I'm so excited and started researching how to care for it because I have always stuck with vegetables. Well... I'm having trouble. The poor plant looks like it has been a long time since it has seen love. I've started with pulling up all the weeds growing under it but there are vines everywhere and lots of thick dead canes. Some are about 6 feet long. Some look really healthy but I don't want to cut too much or the wrong thing off and I can only find info on new or cared for plants. How do I love this thing back to life because knowing now how it SHOULD look.... It needs love badly... Help

Remove the dead canes and

Remove the dead canes and prune the healthy canes to about 4 feet. Cut back any suckers growing from the crowns below the ground. Add compost around the canes and your blackberries should do just fine.

I live in South Africa -

I live in South Africa - Pretoria. I have Triple Crown Thornless Blackberry seeds. Please advise when must I plant them( summer or winter) and how to germinate them.

I have been growing thornless

I have been growing thornless blackberries for around 10 years. I read on here that they tend to have a lifespan of however many years, and am wondering if I should dig up the "free range" ones that sprout up out away from where mine are growing, or should I consider leaving it and creating a new trellis for it to grow on? I want to keep using one area only, and not have to have them take over my yard. And, is it okay for thornless and thorny to co-exist together on one trellis?

Hi, Jack, You can mow down or

Hi, Jack,
You can mow down or otherwise cut back your blackberries' runners OR you can lift and transplant them...into your own bed or give them away. These are blackberry sprouts. These will continue to show up randomly near your main bed. Any idea for trellising is a fine one, if you understand that you could be putting up more trellises than you know.
As for thorns, thorn and thornless should coexist. Note that you should get the "erect" type that stand upright; semi-erect and trailing stand—or stoop—as their names suggest.

Hello. I am located in South

Hello. I am located in South Korea. I love blackberries and I would love to grow certain types of blackberries from the State but importing blackberry plant is not allowed. I have purchased seeds (triple crown) from ebay but have failed. Is is possible to grow blackberries from seeds? Also, I read somewhere that seeds from frozen blackberries have high success rate. Is this information correct?

I have not planted

I have not planted blackberries before. I live pretty far North of the Equator. Should I plant Erect or Semi- erect berries? Should I start them inside or outside? I need to know before March 8th. I plan to start then. any and all help is greatly appreciated.

Disease My semi-erect black

My semi-erect black berry plant was doing well growing wise ,but one day the stem starts growing orange colored stuff at the base going up. After that the leaves near the orange stuff start to turn a dark red with a little bit of yellow outlining it and eventually the leaves wilt and die off. The same thing happened to my other black berry plant and now that one is dead. I still don't know what to do and I need to treat it before it dies like the other one. Any advice on what this virus is and what I can do to treat it????

It sounds like you have

It sounds like you have orange rust, a fungal disease. You need to remove the diseased plant(s) before the spores infect other blackberries. Some blackberry varieties (Eldorado, Ebony King and Raven) are resistant to the disease.

Hugo. I agree with the staff

Hugo. I agree with the staff on this. It sounds like orange rust. The only way to get rid of it is to dig up the plants infected and destroy them. The best time is in early spring when you first notice the orange starting. I had 3 plants right in the middle of my 9 miles of trellised blackberries. I dug the infected plants up had a plastic bag right at plant and very gently placed the plants in the bag. I also did this while there was dew on the [plants so the rust spores would not get air born. Then after the plants were in the bag, I placed that garbage bag in another one then put all of that in a 5 gallon plastic bucket with lid and hauled it to the local city dump.

I bought thornless blackberry

I bought thornless blackberry plants (divisions from someone else's garden) @t auction a few years ago and planted them alongside south facing barn wall. I just made a cobbler last night from ones I froze, and the seeds in the berries are so big, it made the cobbler hard to eat. Is there anything I can do to make the seeds grow smaller or should I just expect to use these berries for jelly (straining the seeds out) in the future?

There are varieties of

There are varieties of blackberries that produce small seeds. Unfortunately, yours have the bigger seeds so we suggest that you cook the berrries and strain the seeds out before using them in cobblers or other dishes.

I use a Victorio Food

I use a Victorio Food Strainer. It gets ALL the seeds out. This will allow you to make seedless coblers or seedless jellies!

A wire strainer works well to

A wire strainer works well to separate the seeds out of blackberries.
Simply swirl a small amount of them around while catching the juice in a bowl below the strainer.
Knock out the seeds into the trash or allow them to drain from another strainer into another bowl.
Note: if you try to swirl too many blackberries at once, the juice does not separate well. Several small batches works best.

I live in Jacksonville

I live in Jacksonville Florida and have wild blackberry bushes that have volunteered. In the Spring, they produce well but after I time the berries stop maturing. They stop growing. What is the problem?

In Florida, blackberries

In Florida, blackberries ripen usually around May and June, with a harvest period of about 3 or 4 weeks. I'm not sure why fruit already formed would stop ripening, even if it was during the end of the harvest season. Best guess would be that the temperatures are getting too warm? High heat can cause fruit to ripen early or break apart; it can also cause them to discolor or shrivel. Diseases or drought can also affect harvest.

Some blackberry plants

Some blackberry plants produce too many berries for all to get ripe. This is called overcropping. One way this happens is due to the leaves not being fully formed due to late cold spells or other weather conditions. It takes a certain amount of leaves collecting energy from the sun to get each blackberry ripe, In fact there are some varieties of thornless berries that often overcrop and a lot will not get ripe.

Hi, I have a blackberry plant

I have a blackberry plant around 5 year old,
not its leaves are going dry,
pls advise what we can do???

When you cut a blackberry

When you cut a blackberry stalk, I notice the inside is shaped like a perfect star every time.

Is there a significance to this star?

Also, I cannot find a picture online of this star, but I have it on the real stalk.

Thanks for any information you can share on this question.

I transplanted thornless from

I transplanted thornless from SW Missouri to N Central Arkansas 2 years ago. We water them weekly until winter. I mulched them over last winter. They don't seem to want to grow much, maybe only 5-6 inches, and I got only 1 berry off 1 off 25 plants this June. :-(( Advice on fertilizing? I still have hope that they will do well in the future. The plants don't actually look bad. They just don't grow. I admit that sometimes it looks like some nocturnal beast eats leaves off a couple of the plants.

Did the blackberries flower?

Did the blackberries flower? If they did and didn't produce berries you may not have enough pollinators.
Add some compost to the soil around the plants this fall and add mulch before winter. Pruning is also important. During the summer prune off the tips of new canes to keep the plants between 3 to 4 feet tall. During winter prune back the side branches to about a foot and remove any dead or diseased branches.

Back in the spring, we bought

Back in the spring, we bought two blackberry plants from the local Lowe's (an Apache and a Navajo, I believe), intending to let them spread horizontally and create something of a hedgerow. Later in the summer, we realized that one of these is Zone 5 and the other is Zone 6. Since there's a hard winter expected, and we're just north of the zone border, is there anything I can do to help the less-hardy plant survive the winter?


Do not fertilize your berries

Do not fertilize your berries after the blooming period; late fertilizing will encourage late growth in the fall which, in turn, can cause winter injury.
Low winter moisture is also a problem; be sure to irrigate thorough before the soil freezes in the late fall, especially if it has been dry.
Also, be sure to mulch heavily for winter. 

Hi, I purchased a blackberry

Hi, I purchased a blackberry plant about a month ago and now the more mature growth is very dry looking and black around edges while new growth looks great. what could be causing this? I also have a blueberry plant that I just transplanted about 2 weeks ago is almost 2 years old and the top/younger area of the plant looks weak and wilted, why? Any help is much appreciated

This spring I planted a

This spring I planted a blackberry bush blackberry near a patch that has tomatoes, and other veggies before I found out that that I this was a mistake. The bush is doing very well at this point. It has grown in size and had some lovely berries partially ripe on it.
Should I move it : if so, when?

Sorry that I found your site after the fact. Will appreciate any help.



If you want to transplant the

If you want to transplant the bush you can do it in late fall. However, if you live in a cold region it should be delayed until early spring to be safe.

tomatoes and blackberries

Hi Arlene, wondering if you've moved the berries or not at this point? I purchased a couple of blackberry bushes that I was planning to plant about 10 feet away from a raised container bed growing tomatoes. I see that the spread of verticculum wilt is through soil, so my hunch is that these two can be grown close together as long as they aren't sharing soil or the soil isn't close enough so that the vericculum can cross root zones... but i haven't found anything to confirm this. I'd love to plant these blackberries, as intended, near the tomatoes, but looking for a nod that this won't result in their death in a few years.

Hi i never planted

Hi i never planted blackberries and BAM 2 years ago i see black berries in the coerner of my fence this year i have over ahundred and they contiuning to multiply must be wild berries? Bt the way im in La

If you don't want the

If you don't want the blackberries growing in your yard you can cut them down and then mow over them with a lawn mower. Next spring start mowing them down as soon as you see new growth.

I planted three thornless

I planted three thornless blackberry bushes and one a friend sent from Oregon. The plants are absolutely beautiful and the first full year after planting the first bush produced large beautiful fruit, the next year they weren't so big and plentiful and this year I had blooms galore and then they all dried up and in the center of the bloom was this shriveled little berry. I was heartbroken and didn't know what had happened, the bush itself looked so healthy. I cut it back thinking it might have a virus but none of my bushes did very well this year, not like I was expecting. Any thoughts on what it could be.

Have you been feeding your

Have you been feeding your plants. You need to feed them or fertilize the soil every so often

It sounds like you had a

It sounds like you had a frost after the berries started to bloom. That will happen every time. I am a blackberry farmer with over 8.5 miles of trellised blackberries of 9 varieties.. I also do research for 4-6 hours every night and do consulting for beginner bramble farmers as well as lectures and seminars all over the country.

I am pondering farming

I am pondering farming blackberries and wanted to get in touch with R Hays.

Hello, I purchased a thorned

I purchased a thorned variety from Lowe's last year. The first year's growth did not bear fruit, until this June when it fruited. During the spring and summer, 4 new vines grew up. Now, in mid-August, those new growths are starting to fruit.

I have never seen this before; is this normal to have two blooms in one season?


There are a few everbearing

There are a few everbearing blackberry varieties available. The second-year canes produce berries in June and July and the new growth from the current year bears fruit from midsummer until fall.

These double cropping

These double cropping varieties on average do not produce as much in both crops of berries in a year as the regular floricane fruiting varieties do. Also, those double cropping plants do not produce much of anything in the deep south.

We are new to gardening and

We are new to gardening and made the mistake of planting our thornless blackberry in a square food garden. We have now learned that that was not a good idea so we are now faced with transplanting it, probably pruning it as it now has several new canes on it. It only produced a couple of berries but am hopeful it will be better next year. I am looking for suggestions on what type of container to put it in while we are renting our home. I think we also need to build a trellis for it as well. I think I am sort of recreating the wheel here. Any suggestions are appreciated.

Hi Jacob, Use a container

Hi Jacob,
Use a container that is 5 gallons or larger. Larger containers are better, allowing the plants to grow bigger with multiple canes. Because blackberry roots spread out wide, shallow containers are best. Make sure that the container has holes in the bottom for drainage. Construct a trellis against a wall or a fence to support the blackberry canes.

Jacob, keep in mind that the

Jacob, keep in mind that the bigger the container the better.HOWEVER, blackberry roots will spread out as far as 14 feet from the crown of the plant. Most of the roots are shallow with about 80% down to 12 inches deep. The blackberry and raspberry plants will send roots as deep as 42 inches. This is the reason they can survive severe droughts. the canes may die all the way to the ground but the roots will put up new growth the following year.

Hello, I purchased a


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?


My 15 or so thorned, tall and

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?

Peter. for most varieties of

Peter. for most varieties of blackberries 15-20 years is tops on production life. Some varieties stop producing after about 8-10 years. If you do not let the vines crowns "walk" from original spot they will stop producing. This is the reason that wild blackberry patches get bigger every year. after a few years you can go back and see the middle of the patch is dead those crowns have gotten old and stopped producing. I have well over 8 miles of trellised blackberries and some of my crowns are actually several feet from where originally planted.

Hi R Hays, I was wondering

Hi R Hays,
I was wondering about your patch. It seems lovely. Do you have any video's of your set up? I am sure many of us would love to see it. I am thinking of having a smallish berry patch for a pick your own farm when I relocate. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Hello.. WHAT a GREAT site..

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

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.e...

Our blackberries are so tart

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

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.

There are blackberry farms

There are blackberry farms out here that have been producing blackberries since the early 1970's on the same plants. Those plants are still going strong.

You may have one of the

You may have one of the varieties that are naturally tart. Like the Natchez, Black Satin. These varieties, have about 8-9% sugar content, and are not ever sweet. The sweetest berry is the sweetie pie. It has a sugar content of 12%. I have never had a problem with the berries getting tart from age of plants. I have 11 varieties of berries and have had some since 2000. I have 9 miles of trellised blackberries. Intense heat can cause them to be less sweet at times. Less water than they need will not make them less sweet but have less juice in the berries and also make the berries smaller.

Mine are tart also until they

Mine are tart also until they are huge with no red at all left in them. I was also wondering how to sweeten them. Someone gave us ours & I have no idea what kind they are.

i have thornless blackberries

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

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.

Hi! what cause the druplets

Hi! what cause the druplets of the blackberries to start to dry out on the vine and not fully ripe? And at time the druplets are light brown and hard. Is the due to temperature change from mild too hot. I live in California. I have been grown blackberries for my catering business. thank you for all your help.

The brown spots most likely

The brown spots most likely will be from insect damage. The stink bugs will sting the druplets causing them to turn brown and hard. Thrips will also pierce the druplets and the color will come out of the druplets. Lastly, if you had a light rain or shower then the sun pops out, the water droplets on the berries (drupes) will act as a magnifying glass and cook the druplets on the berry (drupe)This is usually when the druplets will be hard. Most of the insects will not take enough of the juice from any druplets to make it hard.

What's best to use to get rid

What's best to use to get rid of stink bugs when berries are everywhere? Mine are covered with them.

I am planting Navajo

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.

Is the thorned blackberry

Is the thorned blackberry plants wild plants? If so they will be very likely to give the Navaho plants one or more of several viruses and diseases that the wild ones carry but are immuned to.

Hello, Recently, I picked

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

The seeds, if you are

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

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.

It is a mulberry.

It is a mulberry.

NEPA....Article says to plant

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.

I've wondered that, too,

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

[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.

We have a hedge row of wild

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 am on California Coast and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let it be. I plant hundreds

Let it be. I plant hundreds of new blackberry plants every year have well over 8,000 plants now and in process of planting another 4,000 this winter and early spring. some of the plants will have a few flowers and berries the first year but most will not. most varieties of blackberries will have fruit on the second year canes/vines called floricanes However, there are several varieties that will also produce on first year canes called the primocanes.

moved to a home that has

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 disappointed, again

My thornless blackberry

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

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:
For more advice, you might talk to your county's Cooperative Extension. For contact information, see:

I have two blackberry bushes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
Also look for how-to prune videos online.

Hi! I've live in the Georgia

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,


Hi Virginia, Many of the

Hi Virginia,
Many of the cooperative extensions have pruning advice and step by step how-to instructions. Here is one
Also look for how-to prune videos online.

What does pruning mean and

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

We're not clear what your

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

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?

It sounds like you may have

It sounds like you may have the spotted wing drosophila fruit fly. This is a new fruit fly to the U.S.A. from Japan and it is very devastating to blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, figs, and all other soft skinned fruits and even vegetables if the have a small blemish. They have even been knowned to get into apples and other hard skinned fruits through the small brown soft spots. They will attack cherries also.

Hi! I'm new to gardening and

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

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
for advice about planting strawberries.

Hi I am Sheikh Salim,

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

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

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

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

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

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:
Hope this points you in the right direction!

San Diego. I have a 2 year

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!

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

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

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

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

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.

Black Satin Variety is a very

Black Satin Variety is a very sour berry. On my farm for some reason stink bugs are drawn to them over the other varieties I grow. The Doyles thornless and the Black satin are two varieties I would not recommend for any grower other than for making jellies/jams, and pies where you have to add a lot of sugar. these two varieties will actually put tears in your eyes when you eat one if not ecpecting the sour taste.

I've had my blackberry bush

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

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

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 is also a new variety

There is also a new variety of thornless blackberry called Natchez. It has very large berries and there will also be coming to the market very soon a new trailing blackberry plant that has berries about 3 inches long and about 1.5 inches diameter. The name hasn't been selected yet so I cant tell you the name to date.

Hey there, I planted some

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

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

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.

I received some wild

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!

check the ph of the soil.

check the ph of the soil. Blackberries do better in high acid soil. My mother planted 6 berry plants the same year I planted my first six. her berries never produced any fruit where mine are averaging 4.25 gallons per plant. I now have over 8,000 (yes eight thousand) plants planted and right now I am planting another 2,000 plants and will have 3,000 more coming in Feb. of 2015. My mothers soil ph is 7.4 and mine on my farm ranges from 4.9-5.3 ph. Most experts say that the optimum ph is 5.5-6.5 ph.

I find that store bought

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.

Every variety of blackberry

Every variety of blackberry has its own flavor and soluble solid (sugar) content. Just like apples, every variety of apple tastes different, from Granny Smith to Rome, and Gala and the Delicious apples. The berries you buy in the stores are picked before they are ripe so they will have a longer shelf life. You can get the same varieties that are in the stores and they will be sweeter because you pick them ripe. However, if you want the sweetest blackberry on the market, there is a new one that will be in nurseries this spring in limited numbers called Sweetie Pie. It has a sugar content of about 12%, the next sweetest berry is from Univ. of Ark called the Osage, with about 11.7% sugar then all of the other varieties that are on the market will have less all the way down to about 8% sugar very tart berries.

I live in central Alabama and

I live in central Alabama and was wondering what would be my best choice blackberry plant for a sweet, easy to raise and put on a large crop berry. It is hot and humid here.
Please advise. Thank You D Flowers

Visit a local garden center

Visit a local garden center and see what varieties they offer. Here are a few suggestions for southern blackberries. Erect type blackberries: 'Cheyenne' fruit is sweet and large and has a slight raspberry flavor. 'Brison' is a high-yielding blackberry. 'Womack' produces medium-size fruit and high yields. Trailing type blackberry: 'Youngberry' has large sweet berries.

I have a blackberry bush and

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

Canes are the stems that are

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

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?

No it is the main cane of the

No it is the main cane of the plant. It will produce next year

There are different varieties

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.

Terrie, every variety of

Terrie, every variety of blackberry will have a ripening period of 4-6 weeks from the first berry getting ripe to the last one. So that is normal, the lighter leaves on the new growth is also normal, as the leaves get older they will get a darker green, do not trim these back as these are the canes that will produce berries next year. The cane is the vine/stalk that is coming out of the ground. Hope this helps.

I'm having this discussion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

should I put up trellises?

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.

hank you for your time! it is

hank you for your time! it is greatly appreciated.

Putting your plants on

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.

I have found that not pruning

I have found that not pruning my berry vines produces more fruits. Most growers get about 2.5 gallons of berries per plant I am getting on average 4.25 gallons per plant. In all of the biology classes I have taken in high school and college taught me that the leaves are the energy making factories of the plant. The more energy that goes into the plants roots the more energy to produce ripe berries. Some of my plants are 27 feet long with laterals up to 14 feet in length. On those plants I will get as many as 12 gallons of berries per plant.

When I tried mulching my

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.

Charles, I have over 8 miles

Charles, I have over 8 miles of trellised blackberries I use literally tons of mulch. All of mine is in the form of pine straw and hardwood leaves. I am a chemical free farmer. Not any pesticides or herbicides. I use sticky tapes and traps from planet natural and vinegar traps for the fruit flies. I prefer the mulched leaves over the whole ones, but I will take whatever I can get from the nearest city that calls me to come get all of the bags of leaves.

I noticed on my thornless

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

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)

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

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

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.

The brown spots could be sun

The brown spots could be sun scald, from the berries getting wet during a rain or shower then the sun comes right back out. The water droplets will act as mini magnifying glasses and will cook the druplets (the individual kernels of the berries) turning them brown. BTW the whole berry is called a drupe and the center that is attached to the stem is called the torus. In raspberries the torus stays with the stem leaving the berry hollow in the middle.

My sister in law gave me a

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

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

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.

I would love to see the

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.

For some thornless blackberry

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

Several things can do this,

Several things can do this, one is sun scald from water on the druplets, and another is stink bugs and thrips will puncture the druplets and drink the juice leaving the drupelet white/tan and hard.

Does it do any good to trim,

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

It's not easy, but pruning

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

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

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.

Depends on what variety of

Depends on what variety of blackberries you planted. Some are so bitter and tart even when fully ripe that it will put tears in your eyes. Case in point the Doyles thornless blackberries and also the Black Satin variety. Just keep in mind every variety of blackberry has its own unique flavor and sweetness. Just like every variety of apple tastes different, The Gala, Rome and Granny Smith and even the delicious apples.

can I plant blackberries in a

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

You can plant blackberries in

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.


I have just ordered 5 triple

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

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.)

If you do not tie to a

If you do not tie to a trellis system then every where the tips of that plant touches ground it will root and you will have a thicket of berries so thick you wont be able to walk through. However, this is one of few thornless berries that IS NOT UNDER PATENT SO YOU CAN MULTIPLY THEM FREELY without repercussions from the owners of the patents. A minimum of 200 feet is needed for the wild berries to be destroyed, the farther the better. I plant new plants whenever I get the time and money to get them. I have planted new plants every moth of the year. KEEP IN MIND that when you plant in the summer you have to water it daily to make sure the plants survive the heat of summer.

Its June 25th and i have

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

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

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?

It sounds like the berries

It sounds like the berries have the Spotted Wing Drosophila fruit fly larvae in them. This will cause the berries to be very bitter and will make them just drop to the ground. Get some of the berries and put them in a closed jar after a few days see if you can see some very small whitish insects flying around inside the jar. If you know someone that has a microscope you can the eggs and larvae under the skin of the drupelets. Or you can take some of the berries to the local county agents office to get them to test the berries for insects.

I am concerned about viruses

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

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

There are many types of

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

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.

Jack if your plants have a

Jack if your plants have a virus then after you get rid of the plants completely, you nee to wait at least 3 years before planting more berry plants in that location.

I was hoping for an answer to

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 mot any effective

there are mot any effective chemical control for any virus in blackberries that I know about. The only thing you can do is dig up infected plant before it infects the rest of the plants. last year I had 3 plants with orange rust that I dug up. The plants the virus was on is resistant to that virus, BUT just because it is resistant doesn't mean it wont get the virus just less likely. i would recommend going to oklahoma state univ. website and dept of ag on that site then scroll down to Damon Smith pdf file of blackberry diseases to see some of the diseases as well as what they look like on the plants.

I have a tree that produces

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

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

Does blackberries have thorns?

Blackberries may be thorny or

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

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

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

My Blackberry bush has load

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

Peggy it sounds like you cut

Peggy it sounds like you cut the primocanes (first years growth) of the vines. It is the floricanes (second years growth) that produce the berries on most varieties. Do not cut any vines or canes back during the flowering or berry ripening stages. Always wait until you pick the last of your berries before any type of pruning, you have cut your production of berries next year by cutting those canes out.

I have a small bush that is

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!

it sounds like you may have

it sounds like you may have the mummy berry virus google it to see the info on it.

I have a wild blackberry tree

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

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.

Blackberries are attacked by

Blackberries are attacked by several very small insects, thrips, aphids and fruit flies. There is a new fruit fly called the spotted wing drosophila that has hit the U.S.A. in last 6 years that will wipe out whole crops of blackberries and blueberries as well as other fruits. I have a friend that lost over 50k pounds of blueberries 2 years ago in south Ms. to this fruit fly and another aquantance in Oxford Ms. that lost their whole crop of berries. I have a researcher from USDA/ARS in Popularville Ms. that told me 75% of all of the berries he has bought in several chain stores have the eggs or larvae in the blackberries also in the blueberries.

I purchased 2 plants from a

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

When is the best month for

When is the best month for picking blackberries

When you pick blackberries

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.

It depends on the varieties

It depends on the varieties of blackberries. I have 9 varieties and my berries start to get ripe on or around May 22nd and don't stop until end of Aug. and into Sept. each variety will get ripe for 4-6 weeks and each variety will start to get ripe at a different time. The longest growing season I have had was 2009, I picked my first blackberry on May 19th and the last on Thanksgiving Day. 6 months and 1 week of non stop picking.

How do I know if the

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

Unfortunately, blackberry

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

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

According to our cooperative

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.


Botanical Name: 

Rubus fruticosus

Plant Type: 

Sun Exposure: 

Soil Type: 

Soil pH: 

Hardiness Zone: 

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