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How to Take Care of Wild Blackberries

ripening blackberries image by longtall_chris from

Wild blackberries are rich in vitamin C and they taste delicious, so they're ideal to eat as fresh fruit, make into jams or sauces, and incorporate into desserts. Wild blackberry plants are tall and thorny, with arching canes that produce juicy, plump, dark berries and white to pink flowers. Most often, wild blackberry bushes flourish along roadsides with bushy thickets and thick vegetation, as well as in fields, near the ocean shore, in woodlands or on mountains. Once you find a blackberry bush, you can take care of it for your own supply of fruit harvest each season.

Wear gloves, as blackberry plants usually are very thorny. Clear weeds from around the base of the blackberry plant.

Work organic matter into the soil around the base of the blackberry bush to help balance the plant's nutrients. An ideal pH for blackberries is 6.0 to 7.0. Add a 2-inch layer of mulch around the base to deter weeds.

Water the blackberries with 1 inch of water per week, unless it receives rainfall during this time.

Remove any additional blackberry plants within 2 feet (or transplant), as the plants will become too crowded.

Trellis the blackberry plant for added support, which will help the plant's canes grow stronger and provide more fruit. Do this by establishing a stake or trellis system next to the plant and securing the plant's canes to the system with loosely tied twine.

Prune any canes that are dead, broken or diseased. Also cut back any canes that appear thinner or less strong than the other canes. Cut off suckers which grow from the outside of canes. For larger blackberry plants, prune the remaining canes to no longer than 7 feet tall.

Harvest blackberries once they turn a dark, deep red, purple or black. Gather them lightly in a layer not exceeding a couple inches deep in a basket. Wash them in a strainer with clean water before laying them to dry on a paper towel.

Eat berries fresh or store them in an airtight container in the freezer for future use.

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