Last Updated on June 12, 2023 by Real Men Sow
Nothing beats picking a blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis) that is plump and juicy from your backyard vines and then popping it in your mouth. Homegrown blackberries are a delicious way to enjoy their tart and sweet taste of them. You might wonder, however, how do you grow blackberries at home?
Along with other delightful plants like roses, blackberries and apple trees, the Rosaceae family includes blackberries. Blackberries are closely related to raspberries. They’re thorny and grow thick and tangly and can be upright, sprawling, or both.
These fruits are not true fruits at all. They are aggregate fruits that consist of small, round drupelets. Blackberries retain their cores when picked, unlike raspberries. Blackberries are perennial plants and bear fruit on biennial canes. Every year they grow new stems called primocanes. These bear leaves but no flowers on “floricane-fruiting” plants.
Growing Tips for Blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis)
- Water once to twice per week or when the soil’s top inch dries out.
- Mulch can be used to provide moisture and help keep your plant warm or cool, depending on where it is located.
- When winter comes, cover with straw
- You can grow your berries in containers if you don’t have enough space.
Where To Grow Blackberries (Rubus allegheniensis)
Blackberries thrive in shade, and they’re one of few fruits that can grow well in such conditions. Blackberries can be grown in shady areas of your garden or allotment, where other fruits will not grow. Their success in cool, shaded conditions is due to the fact that they produce blossoms later than most fruits and are nearly immune to frost damage, even if they are grown in frost-pockets.
Full sun is the best environment for root growth and leaves can absorb the sun’s energy. All soil types, except for chalky ground, are suitable. Blackberries need to be able to drain well and retain some moisture. Avoid planting them in waterlogged ground.
Blackberries can be self-fertile, so only one plant is needed to produce fruit. The bloom in May and June is quite attractive and an interesting feature. It attracts a lot of bees, which is good for your plant as well as any fruit or veg nearby.
When And How To Plant Blackberries (Rubus allegheniensis)
Although blackberry bushes can still be planted any time of the year, they will do best when planted between mid-autumn and early winter. This time of year, the ground will still be warm and rain will suffice to allow you to plant them. Planting in winter requires that you wait until the ground isn’t frozen. Blackberry bushes that are planted in the spring or autumn will need to be watered initially in warm or dry conditions.
How To Support And Prune Blackberries (Rubus allegheniensis)
Two key traits have been added to the breeds of new varieties in recent years. They are not as vigorous and thornless as other varieties. This makes it much easier to prune and support than older varieties, which can inflict severe damage on the hands and arms.
Purpose of Pruning
- To keep the bush in the space available
- It is important to remove any stems that have not produced fruit earlier in the season. They will not produce as well the following season, so it is best to remove them.
- Allow good air circulation. It is important to trim the bush regularly so that it does not become clogged and can be attacked by fungi.
- To let sunlight reach as much foliage as possible in order to encourage strong growth.
Purpose of Supporting
- It is important to keep most stems from the ground, as this will decrease the chance of disease.
- For the same reason, allow for good air circulation.
- This will help you identify new and old canes during pruning.
- To protect the bush from damage by wind, which can cause canes to break off at its base.
Care Guide for Blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis)
Blackberries can be cared for with little effort (pruning aside). These tips will ensure that your plants get the best possible care.
- A mulch of annual thickness 5 cm / 2 in will retain water and keep weeds at bay.
- You should not weed around the bush. If they get out of control, it can be very difficult to remove them.
- Cut off any stems that are extending beyond the center of the plant.
- A Maytime application of a few handfuls of bone, blood, and fish to the soil will increase nutrient levels.
- Blackberries can grow at a remarkable rate every year, so it is worth giving them a monthly dose of a nitrogen rich fertilizer from May through August. Growmore is used by a few people each month.
Harvesting Blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis)
It is a matter of trial-and-error. The timing will depend on the variety as well as the weather and growing conditions.
Below are some examples of varieties and their average fruiting dates. These dates can change by up to a month depending upon the weather and the climate in your region.
When the blackberries bear their flowers is key to fruit production. In an average year, flowers will be produced between late April and early May. It is difficult to judge when the fruit will be ready for harvest.
Blackberries are very easy to grow. Mid-September, bend a healthy looking stem so that its tip touches the ground. Place the stem tip in a hole approximately 15cm/6in deep. Sprinkle with soil. If the branch tries to grow back, you may have to pin it down. Retire for six months and water well!
The stem should be cut to a length of 30cm/ 1ft. The new plant can be moved if you find it. How high are your chances of success? Nearly 100% success rate
Blackberry cuttings can be taken in September. You will need to cut a section of the stem that is approximately 15cm/6in in length and roughly the same thickness as a pencil. Use a sloping cutting tool to trim the thin top.
Add some compost or multi-purpose compost to a small section of ground. Fill the ground with the cut and cover it with soil. You can mark the cutting with a pencil to help you remember its location next year. When the plant has rooted well, move it to its final place next April.
Pests And Diseases
Blackberries are one fruit that is virtually problem-free. They can only be affected by three issues of any importance. Bird damage is the first, but this is usually not enough to warrant any action. The bush can be nettened if they are a serious problem.
Blackberry Cane Spot is characterized by gray-black spots on stems and sometimes on leaves. To stop the disease from spreading, remove affected stems as soon as possible. Sometimes, moldy fruit may occur. To fix this, you can increase the air circulation through more severe pruning.