I am going to walk you through the steps needed to grow Blackberries from seeds, as well as from cuttings, how to tend them, and when and how to harvest Blackberries. This easy blackberry growing guide will inspire you to grow blackberries, along with several other types of berries and fruits. With this in mind, heres a look at how you can plant, grow, and sustain a large perennial harvest of blackberries in your yard for years to come. I am going to share growing tips I have picked up over the years, along with solutions for problems that are common to blackberries.
It is possible to grow blackberries from seeds, but seeds are not easy to come by, and propagating using another method is just easier. Most of our blackberries are summer-bearing varieties that produce one berry harvest per winter-overwintered stem in the summer months.
For most raspberries and blackberries, fruit grows only on the canes during the second (last) year of life. Growers grow plants with canes from the first year as well as from the second, so that fruit production occurs each year, except the first year of a plants life. Some blackberry bushes may fruit from the first-year (primocane) canes, but most do not fruit until 1-2 years after planting. After the first year after planting, blackberry bushes need to be pruned every year, cutting dead canes (those two years old and producing fruit).
|Upright types of blackberries||10-13 pounds|
|Semi-erect types||25-55 pounds|
|Blackberry bush||10 pounds|
Ever-bearing varieties of raspberries produce two crops; one is at the end of summer on their flowering canes, which are the second-year canes. These berries produce on both the primacane (1st-year canes) and the floricane (2nd-year canes).
Raspberries also propagate from roots and produce canes, but blackberries only produce canes from their crowns. Blackberries do not, but have an other, more clever, way to spread, by arcing the tips of their canes downward into the ground and taking root there, basically making a bow. Raspberry and blackberry, which are commonly called acaneberriesa, grow fruit on canes that come up from the plants crown – that is, the section of the plant directly above ground where roots beneath ground meet canes above. Blackberries produce new green stems, known as primacanes, each year, and the new green stems usually produce leaves, but no flowers, in plants known as fruiting plants with flowers.
In rare, newest blackberry breeding breakthroughs, the Primocane-fruiting varieties, also called Fall-bearing berry, produce a small harvest in the first fall after being planted from bare roots, followed by a full harvest the following year. Some types bear a small crop of fall-bearing berries the first year, but a larger crop comes the summer of a 2-year-old cane. In your first year growing blackberry bush, expect a small fruit set, followed by a full crop the following year.
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Blackberry bushes do not need much pruning the first year after planting, as the entire stalk is still alive and producing fruit in the following year. As the blackberry grows in years 2 onward, just prune out old branches that die back every fall.
Once you choose a location, till the area with grasses and amendments of organic matter in summer or fall before planting the blackberries. For blackberries that are planted as seedlings, you can cut out the clean soilline at the stalk, which is the proper depth for planting. Blackberries need to be planted relatively shallow — around an inch deeper than the depth at which they were grown in their nursery containers.
The easiest way to start growing your own blackberries is by buying a root bare-root or a young plant at the nursery and planting it directly into soil. Besides convenience, growing your own blackberries and raspberries is the only way to guarantee that you have fresh, delicious berries each year. Both raspberries and blackberries will grow prolifically and expand throughout your entire yard when left unattended for several years. Plenty of sunlight, regular irrigation, and a rich, loamy soil will provide plants with the energy and nutrients needed to produce sweet, large berries.
Making blackberries all the more appealing, one plant can yield a harvest that is sustainable for 20 years or longer. According to NC State Extension, one bush Blackberry bush can yield an abundant crop, with fruit yields up to 10 pounds per plant, every year. The Mississippi State Extension supports this, suggesting a blackberry bush can yield up to 2.5 gallons of fruit per plant per year. According to Oregon State University, expect to get between 4 to 6 pounds of fruit annually from upright types of blackberries, 10 to 13 pounds from runners, and 25 to 55 pounds from semi-erect types (more about the types of blackberries below).
When you plant a blackberry bush, such as the one shown above, you can expect a blackberry bush to take around 3 weeks to begin shooting out new green growth. Blackberry plants can be planted in the fall, or you can store them in an enclosed area and plant them next spring. At this time of the year, there will still be heat in the soil, and meanwhile, rains this time of the year will be enough to make sure that you can plant your blackberry bush and forget about them.
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Blackberry bushes can be planted any time of the year, though will do best to set up when planted mid-fall through early winter. Be sure to plant your blackberries nowhere where peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, or strawberries are growing, or have grown for the last three years. When you are making decisions about where to plant blackberries, pick a spot where no tomatoes, green bell peppers, potatoes or rutabagas have grown there over the last 5 years. Once your shrub has finished producing berries, and the chosen plants are dormant during the early to mid-winter, return to pick them.
Blackberry bushes will produce fruits in just their second year, provided that you have provided proper soil and sunlight. In my yard, which has more clay-type soil, lots of heat during summer, lots of sunshine, and a semi-arid climate, the blackberries tend to appear stunted the first year or two after being planted, then take off and grow lots of fruit thereafter. Blackberries grow at an amazing rate every year, so feeding them with a monthly dose of nitrogen-rich fertilizer between May and August helps.
How many blackberries do you get per plant?
Blackberries can be sown several weeks before the last cold snap in the early spring. Each plant can yield 10 to 20 pounds of fruit, so four to six plants can easily supply enough berries for a family of four. Make a hole large enough for the roots to spread out uniformly.
How long does it take for blackberries to produce fruit?
It takes about 2-3 years for blackberry plants to produce fruit. However, the yield will be higher if the plants are allowed to grow for longer periods of time. For optimal fruit production, blackberry plants should be pruned regularly and given adequate amounts of water and fertilizer.
How long does it take for blackberries to ripen?
Blackberries don’t keep getting riper after being harvested or plucked, unlike certain other kinds of fruit. Only ripe fruit should be chosen for consumption or preservation. The fruit has a rich, glossy texture as it ripens from a crimson to a black hue. Blackberries take 35 to 45 days to ripen.