Tips on Growing Blackberries in Colorado
Blackberries are a hardy fruit that can tolerate Colorado's weather conditions very well. By planting your berries in a protected area that drains well, you can grow one of several varieties of blackberries in Colorado. If you are already growing raspberries in your yard, blackberries are very similar and can do well with similar methods of care.
Growing blackberries in Colorado starts with selecting the right variety. Chester and Triple Crown are thornless varieties that grow well in Colorado. The cutleaf blackberry, a native, wild blackberry in Colorado, can also grow well in your home garden. Wilson and Snyder varieties of blackberries have been grown in Colorado since at least 1883, when the book Fruit Culture in Colorado was published.
Although many blackberry bushes do well in full sun, planting your blackberries in partial sun can help to reduce problems with fruit scald in the hot afternoon Colorado sun. In addition to planting in partial sun, keep your bushes out of the hot, drying winds that can blow in during fruiting season. In other areas, blackberries may do better in full sun, but in Colorado fruit can dry out and burn because of a combination of hot afternoon sun and hot, dry winds.
Blackberries can be sensitive to overly wet soils. Plant your blackberries in areas that drain well. Flooded blackberries can't take enough oxygen from their root systems. Flooded roots can also suffer from root disease. Although some clay or sand will work, blackberries do best in fertile, loamy soils that can hold a moderate amount of water. If your soil is primarily clay or sand, augment your soils with compost or other organic matter to create a primarily loamy soil that drains well.
In Colorado, watering practices for blackberries are the same for blackberries. Keep the root zones moist throughout the growing season. Increase water a bit, by about 20 percent or so, while your bushes are fruiting. Don't water after the first frost to help harden off your blackberries. However, a single watering in late November can help keep your bushes from drying out over the winter.