Care of Domestic Blackberries

Overview

Blackberries are a popular berry that grows both wild and domesticated throughout the country. In some areas of the country, wild blackberry canes are considered to be an invasive nuisance. The fact that blackberry bushes grow wild in many parts of the country can be taken as proof that blackberries require little care and are quite simple to grow.

Step 1

Select a planting site that is in full sun with good drainage. Break up the soil with a spade to a depth of 8 inches. Spread 2 inches of compost over this with a shovel, and mix compost into the soil with a rake.

Step 2

Dig a hole for your blackberry canes that is slightly deeper and wider than the canes. Blackberries should be planted with 5 feet of space between them in rows that are 8 feet apart.

Step 3

Place blackberry roots into the planting hole, and push soil over the roots. Pat soil gently to eliminate any air pockets and water well.

Step 4

Dig holes in the ground at both ends of blackberry rows using post-hole diggers. Place posts in the ground and cover with dirt. Stretch fencing wire between the post holes at about 30 to 48 inches from the ground and hammer in place with fencing staples to create a trellis.

Step 5

Separate blackberry canes by first-year growth and second-year growth. Weave first-year growth around the trellis wire on one side, and second-year growth on the other so that the growth appears to fan out from the ground. Blackberry canes produce berries on second-year growth.

Step 6

After the fruit-bearing season has finished, cut fruit-bearing canes to the ground with gardening shears. Transfer first-year growth berries from the trellis wire on one side of the plant to trellis wire on the other side. As new canes grow, train them to grow on the first-year growth side of the trellis wire.

Step 7

Spread 10-10-10 fertilizer in a 12-inch radius around the base of the plants. Apply the fertilizer at a rate of 5 lbs. per 100 feet. Only apply fertilizer in spring, two months before growth starts.

Step 8

Mulch around the base of plants with straw or wood shavings.

Step 9

Water only in drought conditions.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Compost
  • Blackberry canes
  • Garden hose
  • Post-hole diggers
  • Fence posts
  • Fencing wire
  • Hammer
  • Fencing staples.
  • 10-10-10 fertilizer
  • Straw or wood shavings for mulch

References

  • "Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to Gardening"; Carroll C. Calkins; 1978
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Blackberry and Raspberry
  • Oregon State University:Growing Blackberries in Your Home Garden

Who Can Help

  • The University of Maine Cooperative Extension: Growing Blackberries and Raspberries
Keywords: blackberry bushes, care of fruit canes, growing native berries

About this Author

After 10 years experience in writing, Tracy S. Morris has countless articles and two novels to her credit. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets" and "CatFancy," as well as the "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World," and several websites.