How to Plant & Grow Blackberry Bushes

Overview

Blackberries are something of an ugly duckling compared with other berries. The large, dark-colored berries are not as popular as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries in cooking and baking, but they can still be a worthwhile addition to your home garden. Blackberries grow on bushes. There are three types: trailing, which require support from a trellis, and erect and semi-erect, which are self-supporting. Blackberry bushes should be planted in the early spring, as soon as the soil is warm enough to work with, according to the Oregon State University Extension Service. Keep in mind that the bushes should not produce fruit in the first year. After two or three years, though, you should get a good crop of berries each summer.

Step 1

Choose a spot for planting your blackberry bushes. Plants prefer full sun, but can tolerate partial shade. Plants also need a well-draining soil because they can be damaged by wet or saturated soil.

Step 2

Remove weeds, rocks, sticks and other debris from the planting site. You can pull weeds by hand or apply an herbicide if there are a lot of weeds.

Step 3

Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the blackberry bush's root structure. Blackberry bushes should be planted at the same depth they were grown at the nursery. A soil line on the plant should indicate the depth at which it should be planted.

Step 4

Place the plant in the hole, setting it down firmly, but gently in the soil. Allow the roots to spread out naturally so they are not bent or damaged in the planting process.

Step 5

Fill in the hole with the surrounding soil, using your hands or feet to pack it down firmly to remove any air bubbles.

Step 6

Water the bush immediately after planting to settle the soil and allow it to begin establishing its roots. Blackberry bushes need about 1 inch of water per week, so be sure to water them regularly during dry spells.

Step 7

Prune the canes of the bush back to 6 inches in length if they have not been cut back by the nursery.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not plant blackberries in a location where tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, strawberries or other cane berries have been planted in the past three years. All these plants are susceptible to the same diseases and insects, which can remain in the soil and infect newly planted plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Herbicide (optional)
  • Pruning tools

References

  • Oregon State University Extension: Growing Blackberries in Your Home Garden
  • North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service: Growing Blackberries
  • Missouri State University: Growing Blackberries in Missouri
Keywords: growing blackberries, planting blackberries, about growing blackberries

About this Author

Meghan McMahon lives in the Chicago suburbs, where she spent six years as a newspaper journalist before becoming a part-time freelance writer and editor and full-time mother. She received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University in 2000 and has written for "The Daily Southtown" and "The Naperville Sun" in suburban Chicago.