How to Grow Blackberries - A Complete Growing Guide

11 comments by Luke Marion

Blackberries are a delicious and nutritious fruit that are not only easy to grow, but also a rewarding addition to any home garden. With their sweet, juicy taste and high antioxidant content, blackberries are perfect for desserts, jams, or simply snacking on. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about growing blackberries, including choosing the right variety, planting, caring for the plants, and harvesting the fruit.

Choosing the Right Blackberry Variety

  1. Thornless vs. Thorny Varieties
    Thornless blackberries, such as 'Apache', 'Arapaho', and 'Navaho', are easier to handle and harvest. Thorny blackberries, like 'Brazos' and 'Darrow', may produce larger, sweeter fruit but can be more difficult to manage due to their prickly stems.
  1. Everbearing vs. Summer-bearing Varieties
    Everbearing blackberries, such as 'Prime-Ark Freedom' and 'Prime-Ark Traveler', produce two crops per year, with a smaller spring crop and a larger fall crop. Summer-bearing blackberries, like 'Chester', 'Natchez', and 'Triple Crown', produce one large crop during the summer months.

 Planting Blackberries

Choose a location with full sun (at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day). Ensure the area is well-draining soil with a pH of 5.5 to 7.0. Conduct a soil test to determine pH and adjust accordingly. Avoid low-lying areas where water tends to settle, as this will lead to rot and disease later on. Plant bare root blackberries in early spring, while they are still dormant, this will reduce transplant shock. Container-grown blackberries can be planted anytime during the growing season.

Space plants 3 to 5 feet apart in rows that are 8 to 10 feet apart. Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the root system, spreading the roots out in the hole. Plant the blackberry at the same depth it was previously growing, and backfill the hole with soil. Once the plant has been successfully planted, remember to water thoroughly.


Provide 1 to 2 inches of water per week, either through rainfall or supplemental watering. Avoid overwatering, as this can

lead to root rot and other diseases.  Blackberries can benefit from a good layer of mulch to prevent them from drying out. In our garden we use a shredded wood mulch that we get for free from our local DPW where they collect yard waste and mulch it up. 


Apply a balanced fertilizer, (we use Trifecta+) in the early spring and again in midsummer, according to the package instructions. It is important to fertilize blackberries twice a season due to the enormous fruit yields and stress that can put on the plant. We will also top dress with a bit of compost once a year to continue to amend and feed the surrounding soil. 


Prune blackberries in late winter or early spring, removing any dead, damaged, or diseased canes. For summer-bearing varieties, remove the canes that fruited the previous year, leaving new canes to produce fruit. For everbearing varieties, prune the top 1 to 2 feet of the canes that produced a fall crop, allowing them to fruit again in the spring.


Install a trellis system to support the canes and make harvesting easier. Simply train the canes onto the trellis as they grow, tying them loosely with garden twine. Tresslising will also keep plants from touching the ground. It will 


  • Irene

    I have thornless blackberries in Southern Pa. They did not produce much fruit this year but lots leaves and branches. What should I do to make them produce more fruits than leaves and branches. I am in zone 5 or 6, do I need to cover them w tarts in winter? Thanks, hope you can help me.

  • Alphonse

    I live in Boston Mass, what is the best time of year to plant onions in my area.
    Thanks, Al

  • Shelly T

    Great blog, Luke – but, how does it end?! LOL 😊

  • Althea

    I’d like to know what it will do also!

  • Angela

    How much trifecta do you use at each feeding?

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