Blackberry bushes are part of the Rubus family along with hundreds of other similar plants. Blackberry bushes have certain characteristics that set them apart from other types of fruit bushes. Identifying blackberry bushes can be easily accomplished by knowing these common traits.
What are the Characteristics of Blackberry Bushes?
Wild Man Steve Brill states that people can find blackberry bushes on hillsides, under brush and in ditches. Blackberries are a perennial plant. These plants bloom with small white or pink flowers blooms starting in spring and continuing through summer. Find thorns and spines along the entire length of the stem. Steve Brill also states that you can find the flowers bunched together, and that they have thin petals with shades of red, pink or white. Look for rough pointed toothy edged leaves that are evergreen in color.
How Is The Fruit Identified?
Look for blackberry bushes to have small groups of fruit known as drupelets. These fruits, mistakenly labeled berries, grow clustered together. Identify the fruit by the hard pit and fleshy exterior. Look for black, dark purple or dark blue fruit. The fruit is known for being high in fiber, vitamins C and K, folic acid and antioxidants according to USDA Publication SR17. Fruit is not produced on the bush until the second year according to both Oregon State and the University of Florida.
How Do Blackberry Bushes Grow?
Blackberry bushes can grow upright in large multiple stemmed plants or low-laying vine plants known as brambles. Blackberry bushes can live up to 20 years according to published information from Oregon State University. Blackberry bushes growing upright do not need support; while brambles require a trellis to keep the stems upright. Keep the bushes watered, using 1 inch of water per week during the harvest season as recommended by the extension office of Oregon State University. Blackberry bushes can dry out quickly if they are not consistently watered.
What is the Proper Care of Blackberry Bushes?
Prune the bushes yearly. Cut all but a few stems to enable the bush to grow back stronger the following year. According to the University of Florida Extension, you can propagate the bush by using one of four methods: cutting leafy stems, root cuttings, suckers and tip layering. The Oregon State University Extension service recommends a peat and sand mixture to root blackberry bushes. Both OSU and UFL extensions suggest that a 10-10-20 fertilizer or manure be used to provide proper nutrition and minerals; apply the fertilizers are applied in the early spring with the first growth of the bush. Apply manure in the winter.