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Growing Blackberries in Virginia

By Anna Aronson ; Updated September 21, 2017
Blackberries make tasty jams and jellies.

Blackberries may not be the most popular summer berry, due to their tiny, crunchy seeds, but they are often used for snacking, baking and making syrups, jams and jellies. Blackberries grow on two types of plants: erect and trailing. Erect blackberries grow upright, while trailing blackberries require support in the form of a trellis. The climate in Virginia is suitable for growing blackberries, with multiple cultivars of both erect and trailing blackberries recommended for growing in the state, according to the Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Choose a site for planting your blackberries that has well-drained, slightly acidic soil with a pH between 6 and 6.5. They also need full sun and should be placed where they will not be subjected to strong winds.

Remove weeds, plants, stones, sticks and other debris from your blackberry planting site.

Till the planting site with a rototiller or hoe to loosen the top level of soil and make sure all weeds and other vegetation is removed.

Dig a hole deep enough and wide enough to accommodate your plant's entire root structure.

Place your plant in the hole, and allow the roots to spread out naturally. Do not force the roots into the hole, so you don't break or damage them.

Cover the roots with 2 to 3 inches of soil, and pack it down firmly to remove air bubbles. If air is left in the soil, your blackberry plant may not grow properly.

Water your plant thoroughly immediately after planting, so it can begin to establish its roots.

Cut back your plant so it is just 3 to 4 inches above the ground. This allows it to create new growth, which is necessary for producing berries.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Blackberry plants
  • Rototiller or hoe
  • Shovel

Tips

  • Do not over-water your blackberry plant.
  • Blackberries do not produce fruit in their first season and produce a limited crop in the second year.
  • When planting multiple blackberry plants, space them 3 feet apart for erect varieties and 6 feet apart for trailing plants. Rows should be 6 feet apart for both erect and trailing blackberries.
  • Placing mulch around your blackberry plants can help them retain moisture and also prevent weeds and other plants from growing.

About the Author

 

Anna Aronson began working as a journalist in 2000 and spent six years at suburban Chicago newspapers before pursuing freelance work. She enjoys writing about health care topics, in particular obstetrics, pediatrics and nutrition. She received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Eastern Illinois University and is now studying for a Master of Science in medicine degree to become a physician's assistant.