The blackberry is a bramble plant that grows best in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 10, where summer temperatures are hot and winters are mild. Blackberries grow in areas of Central and Southern Michigan with winter temperatures above -10 degrees F. Choose a garden area for the blackberry canes where tomato, potato and pepper plants have not grown for the previous five years. Cultivars that are hardy to plant include Arapahoe, Choctaw, Darrow, Kiowa and Shawnee blackberry.
Select a planting area for blackberry canes with acidic, well-draining soil. Verify the area receives full sunlight and adequate air circulation to limit disease. Test the soil pH as blackberries grow best in soil with a pH of 5.0 to 7.0.
Amend the planting area at least two weeks before planting by working 2 to 3 inches of organic compost to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. Add ground rock sulfur to raise the pH, and limestone to lower the pH, if needed. Follow package instructions based on the square feet of your planting area.
Create planting rows that are 3 inches deep and wide enough for the roots to spread out. Space the rows 4 feet apart.
Set the roots of the blackberry canes into the hole and gently spread the roots. Cover the roots with soil and tamp to hold in place. Space the canes 2 feet apart in the rows. Apply 1/2 inch of water to the soil around the canes immediately after planting.
Provide supplemental water applications to the blackberry canes to keep soil evenly moist during the growing season. Soak the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches, making sure to limit the amount of water spraying on the canes.
Apply a 10-20-10 fertilizer at a rate of 5 lbs. of fertilizer for every 100 feet of row. Apply fertilizer when blooms are present on the canes and after berry harvest. Do not fertilize the canes during the first growing season.
Prune the blackberry canes in the spring season by removing dead and damaged branch growth. Prune canes in early summer to remove 3 inches from the ends of new cane growth. Prune all two-year-old plants to the ground after harvest.