Blackberry comes in a variety of forms, including thorny and thornless versions. They are all members of the Rosaceae family and are found in a number of locations around the world, including America and Europe.
They will ripen from November to April, depending on the type, before going dormant over the winter. Blackberries are commonly sold as bare-root plants that can be plucked during the dormant season of winter. Below, we have discussed when blackberries should be planted and how you can care for them to enjoy good produce.
When to Plant Blackberries?
- Plant in the early spring, when the canes remain dormant.
- Planting can also be done in the late fall, but in very cold places, it should be postponed until early spring because low temperatures can damage some hybrid kinds.
- Because blackberries and their hybrids are all self-fertile, they don’t require many plants to produce fruit.
How to Choose and Prepare a Planting Site?
- For the finest fruit yields, choose a location that receives full sun.
- The soil must be fertile and well-drained. To enhance your soil, add organic matter. (Learn more about soil amendments and planting preparation.)
- Make sure your blackberries are planted far away from wild blackberries, as they may carry (plant) illnesses that harm your plants.
How to Plant Blackberries?
- Plants should be spaced 5 to 6 feet apart for semi-erect cultivars. Erect cultivars should be spaced 3 feet apart. Plant trailing variety at a distance of 5 to 8 feet apart. Rows should be around 8 feet apart.
- Plant them one inch deeper in the ground than they were at the nursery.
How to Grow Blackberries?
·Feeding and Mulching
Feed with a heavy potassium general fertilizer, such as Vitax Q4, in mid-spring. Around the base, scatter one and a half handfuls every square meter/yard.
Annually, lay down a 7cm (3in) layer of organic mulch, such as yard compost. To avoid rotting, keep the mulch at least 5cm (2in) away from the new canes and crown.
Young plants should be watered on a regular basis until they are established. Water them every seven to ten days during dry seasons.
While mature plants should not require additional watering, if the summer is extremely dry, watering once every two weeks will help to increase the size of the fruits.
These scrambling plants must be trained onto a system of horizontal wires attached to a wall or fence or to 1.5–2m (5–6ft 6in) high vertical posts. The horizontal wires should be 45cm (18in) apart, with the lowest wire 23cm (9in) above ground level.
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·Pruning and Training
The majority of blackberries, hybrid berries, and species are ‘floricanes,’ meaning they bear fruit on one-year-old canes or growth from the previous season. (The exception is the primocane blackberry ‘Reuben,’ which fruits on young canes and is pruned like autumn-fruiting raspberries.)
To make pruning easier, training is required to maintain growth under control and to separate new growth from fruiting canes. The fundamental procedure is as follows:
- Regularly tie in the shoots of freshly planted canes in the first year following planting. Cut back all side-shoots formed on these main canes to 5cm after they reach their first winter (2in). Flowers are generated mostly from the fruiting spurs that arise.
- The crown will send up some new canes from the ground level in the second year since planting. Bundle these together loosely. Place four bamboo canes in a square around the crown, bring the fresh canes into the center, and secure with some strong ties. Twine is a soft, finely woven string that has been treated with preservatives and is intended for outdoor use. Climbers and other plants are tethered to supports with these ties. To keep the new canes in place, wrap twine around the square.
- Remove the one-year-old canes after fruiting by trimming them into shorter segments with loppers, then carefully detaching them to avoid their thorns snagging on young canes. Untie the new canes from the rope and train them along the wires.
In the spring or summer, propagate by layering stem tips – only propagate from healthy plants, as older plants may fall prey to diseases.
How to Harvest Blackberries?
- Only choose berries that are completely black. The mature berries are large but hard, with a deep black color and a tendency to pull effortlessly from the vine without yanking. After being harvested, berries do not ripen.
- Blackberries must be harvested frequently as they begin to ripen—every couple of days.
- Keep the center plug within the fruit when harvesting (unlike raspberries).
- Harvest toward the end of the day when it’s colder. Place berries in the shade and freeze as soon as possible if you don’t plan on using them in a long time.
How to Store Blackberries?
Even with refrigeration, blackberries are perishable and will only survive a few days once gathered.
Although fresh fruit is usually preferred, blackberries can be preserved, canned, or frozen. Blackberries can be frozen using the same methods as blueberries.
From late fall through early spring, blackberries can be sown. Because these plants have a tendency to spread, choose a place that will naturally limit their spread. Because they may provide trellising, placing them adjacent to fences and structures is perfect.
Dig a wide, shallow hole large enough to hold all of the roots for installing plants. Remove any dead or damaged root tissue, then spread the roots out inside the hole. When you harvest the berries, make sure to choose black ones. They are ripe. If you pick the ones that are not ripe, you won’t be able to make good use of them as blackberries generally don’t ripen after picking.