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Growing Blackberries in Missouri

Blackberries are native to most of the United States and grow well in Missouri. Take the time to prepare the soil 1 year ahead of your planting date to ensure good growing conditions exist. Plants will produce fruits a year following planting. Test the soil from the area you choose to get an exact pH level. Contact your local University Extension for testing information. Results will inform you what specifically you should add to improve the soil environment. The best pH level for growing blackberries is 5.5 to 6.5.

Choose a location with well-draining soil, good air circulation and lots of sun or partial shade. Select an area not used in the last 4 to 5 years for potatoes, peppers, strawberries, peppers, eggplants or other wild berries.

Provide enough space for 2 to 8 feet between each plant and 8 to 12 feet between rows. Remove all of the vegetation growing in the proposed site.

Use your shovel to add organic matter to the planting area. Use a rototiller or hand tools to mix this deep into the soil (at least 6 inches or more).

Keep the area clear of weeds until planting time. Cultivate the soil again 6 to 9 inches prior to planting the blackberries.

Select a date for planting the blackberries after the chance of frost has passed. Acquire healthy blackberry plants close to this date and keep plants moist until planted.

Use a shovel to dig holes large enough to place blackberries at the equivalent depth it was in nursery. Take the plants carefully out of container, spread the roots out and place in holes.

Cover the space around the plant with the removed soil. Pat soil down gently to remove any air left in the soil.

Thoroughly water the newly planted blackberry plants. Supply 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week to the plants during the growing season if rainfall is less.

Add 3 to 4 inches of mulch around the blackberry plants to prevent weeds from growing and to retain moisture. Keep the mulch at least 3 or more inches away from blackberry stems.

Apply fertilizer 1 to 2 months after planting. Follow the direction on the label to apply. Use a basic fertilizer such as 10-10-10.

Get rid of any suckers emerging in the middle of rows or near other blackberry plants. Remove any canes that appear damaged or weak.


Choose “erect” thorny blackberries over trailing varieties because this type can grow without trellises and is more cold tolerant. This is especially important for northern and central Missouri. Add organic matter such as aged manure, compost, shredded leaves, grass clippings, decomposed sawdust, straw and rotted bark chips to the growing location to improve the soil conditions.

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