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How to Transplant Blackberry Bushes

By Diane Dilov-Schultheis ; Updated September 21, 2017

Blackberries, or Rubus fruticosus, grow in cold-hardy zones 5 to 10. These sweet treats will grow for years when transplanted properly. Available in trailing, semi-erect or erect varieties, blackberries require soil preparation a year or more before the planting date. Blackberry bushes will not produce fruits until the second growing season. Spend time readying the transplant site now, care for the plants and reap the benefits of your work for seasons to come.

Select a transplant site that provides full sun, air circulation and is well draining. Avoid any areas used in the last three years for planting tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, eggplants or cane berries.

Supply enough room for at least 2 feet between each erect or semi-erect bush and 7 to 10 feet between rows. Provide up to 10 feet of space between trailing blackberries you will transplant.

Use a hoe, rake and shovel to remove all weeds, rocks, branches or other debris from the planting area. Add organic matter, such as compost, saw dust or leaves to the area.

Cultivate organic matter into the soil using a rototiller or hand tools. Keep the area clear of weeds and mix the soil again prior to transplant date.

Choose a date to transplant as early in spring as possible, but after any chance of frost. Dig holes big enough to plant blackberry bushes at the same depth they were planted in the nursery. The hole should be the same width as the container holding the bushes so there is room for the roots to spread.

Carefully remove blackberry bushes from transplant containers. Place it in the hole, spreading roots out as you do.

Use a shovel or hand trowel to add soil around the blackberry plant. Press down on the soil to eliminate any air pockets.

Water the newly transplanted bushes thoroughly to get rid of any remaining air trapped in the soil. Continue to supply 1 to 2 inches of water per week, if rainfall is inadequate.

Use shovel to add a layer 3 or 4 inches deep of mulch around each blackberry bush to keep weeds out and retain soil moisture. Pull any weeds emerging from within the planting area.


Things You Will Need

  • Gloves
  • Shovel
  • Hoe
  • Rake
  • Rototiller (optional)
  • Aged manure
  • Peat moss
  • Sawdust
  • Compost
  • Shredded leaves
  • Trowel
  • Mulch


  • Test the pH level of the soil before preparing soil. For blackberries, the best level ranges from 5.5 to 7. What exactly needs to be added to change the pH level will vary depending on your location, soil conditions and starting pH level. Contact the regional Extension office (or gardening center) for more information on testing and how to alter your specific soil conditions.
  • Use stakes at each plant to support a few blackberry bushes or create trellises for rows of plants. Place a post on each end of the row and connect heavy gauge wire across to the other side.

About the Author


Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published online at the Travel Channel and Intel.