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How to Grow Blackberry Plants at Home

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How to Grow Blackberry Plants at Home

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Overview

Since most blackberries self-pollinate and produce well -- even tolerating partial shade -- this bramble fruit makes a good addition to the home garden. Perennial blackberries yield annual harvests for many years when well-tended. Varieties are available for nearly every growing zone in the U.S. Growing blackberries requires well-drained soil, a simple trellis and a small amount of pruning and training.

Step 1

Choose blackberry cultivars known to bear well in your area. Many types available today were developed for specific growing regions and may not prosper in all parts of a single climatic zone. Erect blackberries require less space. Trailing blackberries produce more fruit per vine but need roughly twice the growing room of erect blackberries.

Step 2

Till a 3-foot-wide bed for planting in late winter. Dig planting holes 4 inches deep in the center of the bed at 3- to 4-foot intervals for erect varieties and at 10-foot intervals for trailing varieties. Place roots horizontally at the bottom of the holes, canes upward, and cover with soil.

Step 3

Drive fence posts every 15 feet down the row. Drive a support stake into the ground at each end of the row about 3 or 4 feet from the last post. Angle the support stake away from the trellis posts at about 45 degrees.

Step 4

Attach a trellis wire with wire clips at 2 1/2 feet above the ground and a second trellis wire at 4 feet if growing erect blackberries. Use a four-wire system for trailing varieties, with a strand at 4 feet or higher and three below it at 1-foot intervals. Tighten the wires and anchor them to the support stakes at either end of the row.

Step 5

Let plants grow until midsummer. If growing erect types, select two of the strongest canes on each plant. Loosely tie one to the top wire with a wire tie. Tie the other to the bottom wire. Clip the canes off several inches above the supporting wires. Train side branches to grow along each trellis wire. If growing trailing blackberries, select five canes and tie them to the trellis in a fan shape. If canes grow above the trellis, prune away the last 6 inches to encourage branching.

Tips and Warnings

  • Trailing dewberries do not self-pollinate and must be interplanted with other varieties in order to set fruit.

Things You'll Need

  • Tiller
  • Hoe
  • Rake
  • Metal fence posts
  • Sledgehammer
  • 12-gauge electric fence wire
  • Wire clips
  • Support stakes
  • Pliers
  • Blackberry plants
  • Wire ties
  • Pruning shears

References

  • Home Garden Blackberries and Raspberries
  • Growing Blackberries in the Home Garden
  • Growing Blackberries in North Carolina

Who Can Help

  • Doyle's Thornless Blackberry
  • Blackberries and Raspberries
Keywords: garden blackberries, trailing dewberries, growing blackberries

About this Author

James Young began writing as a military journalist in Alaska and combat correspondent in Vietnam. His lifetime fascination with technical and manual arts yields decades of experience in electronics, turnery, blacksmithing, outdoor sports, woodcarving, joinery and sailing. Young's articles have been published in Tai Chi Magazine, Sonar 4 Ezine, The Marked Tree, Stars & Stripes, the SkinWalker Files and Fine Woodworking.