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How to Clone Blackberry Bushes

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How to Clone Blackberry Bushes

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Overview

For generations, gardeners have been propagating blackberries (Rubus spp.) and other brambles by cloning. In the plant world, cloning carries none of the controversy of animal cloning, and many plants, including blackberries, will naturally reproduce by cloning. Clones are exact replicas of the mother plant, and cloning allows you to propagate especially successful specimens. Blackberries can be propagated by taking leaf or stem cuttings, or by digging out and replanting suckers that form on the mother plant. Many gardeners clone blackberries with a technique known as tip layering, described below.

Step 1

Dig a hole 3 to 4 inches deep near a healthy blackberry plant. This should be done in mid- to late summer, when the blackberry is in an active growth cycle and when there are still several weeks left in the growing season.

Step 2

Place the tip of a blackberry stem in the hole and backfill with soil. Over the next few months, the blackberry tip will grow up through the soil and will put down roots where it is buried.

Step 3

Care for your blackberries as usual for the rest of the season, and water as necessary. Do not disturb the tip layering area.

Step 4

Cut the original stem free the following spring with pruning shears.

Step 5

Dig up the new blackberry shoot and replant it in your desired location. You may also allow it to grow in place if you want to expand your existing blackberry patch.

Things You'll Need

  • Blackberry bushes
  • Shovel
  • Pruning shears

References

  • North Carolina State University: Plant Propagation by Layering
  • University of Georgia: Blackberries and Raspberries (Rubus spp.)
  • University of Florida Extension: Blackberry and Raspberry
Keywords: clone blackberries, propagate blackberry bushes, grow brambles, tip layering, propagate berry plants

About this Author

Sonya Welter worked in the natural foods industry for more than seven years before becoming a full-time freelancer in 2010. She has been published in "Mother Earth News," "Legacy" magazine and in several local publications in Duluth, Minn., including "Zenith City News," for which she writes a regular outdoors column. She graduated cum laude in 2002 from Northland College, an environmental liberal arts college.