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How to grow blackberries and keep them from taking over your garden

Nothing screams summertime like a bucket of freshly picked, plump, and juicy blackberries ready for some sweet snacking. If you want your backyard bursting with delicious, blackberry flavor, then growing your own is the way to go. When it comes to raising a bountiful harvest of blackberries, there are plenty of tips, methods, and ideas that will ensure a successful crop each and every year.

Where can blackberries grow?

Blackberry bush in sunlight
Igor Normann/

Blackberries typically grow on hardy bushes, allowing them to flourish in a variety of regions across the country. They usually do best in more temperate climates, but depending on the variety, you can find a type of blackberry that will thrive in every single state.

Blackberries typically grow in the wild in northeastern states and in states on the Pacific coast, with Oregon having the highest blackberry production. Some of the most popular types for temperate climates include:

  • Marionberries
  • Columbia star blackberry
  • Kotata blackberry
  • Silvan blackberry
  • Black diamond blackberry
  • Chester thornless blackberry

If you’re located down South or in more hot climates, however, there are still quite a few blackberry varieties that will flourish in your area:

  • Kiowa blackberry
  • Dewberry
  • Thornless blackberry
  • Mulberry blackberry

Going to a local plant nursery or finding one online is the perfect way to find the right blackberry bush for your home. The benefit of buying from a nursery is that the bush is already mature in most cases, and the experts can tell you how to raise your blackberry bush for the best results.

How to plant your blackberry bush

When it comes to planting your own blackberry bush, there are a few things to consider to ensure the best results. Check out these tips:

  • Plant your bush in the late fall or early spring. If you live in a climate that experiences frigid temperatures through fall and winter, planting in the springtime is best.
  • Find an area in your backyard or around your home that is exposed to full sunlight. Blackberries thrive in full-sun locations.
  • Ensure that your soil is full of nutrients, is permeable, and is fertile. Your soil is likely not perfect, so adding in some store-bought, organic soil is the best way to ensure your blackberry bush will grow up healthy and strong.
  • If wild blackberries grow around your yard, make sure they are kept away from your new blackberry bush. Wild blackberry bushes have the potential to carry diseases that could be transferred to your bush. You can add a small fence around your bush or cut down wild blackberry bushes near your yard.
  • If you have more than one bush to plant, space them around 5 feet apart to provide enough room for growth.
  • Blackberry bushes typically have shallow but wide roots. Because of this, ensure you dig a hole large enough for the bush’s roots to fit in comfortably. This usually tends to be around 4 to 5 inches deep and 20 to 25 inches in width.
  • You can also plant your blackberry bush in a pot or container. To do this, purchase rich and fertile soil to fill up your pot. A 5-gallon pot or larger is usually enough space for the root system to grow comfortably. Plant your bush in the pot so that the roots are completely covered and place the pot in an area that receives full sun.

How to care for and manage your blackberry bushes

Blackberry bush
Igor Normann/

Blackberry bushes are typically pretty hardy plants that tend to be low-maintenance. Despite this, they still require a bit of attention and upkeep for the best results:

  • Fresh mulch around the bush will prevent weed growth and keep the roots warm.
  • Blackberry bushes need to be watered daily and should get at least 1 inch of water per week.
  • Natural fertilizer provided throughout springtime will help your bush grow plump and delicious berries.
  • Prune the branches after each harvesting season to make room for new fruit-bearing branches.
  • Trimming your bush around the edges will help you control the size and growth of the plant.
  • Growing your blackberry bush in a pot is a great way to keep it from spreading. Plus, it allows you to bring the bush into your garage during harsh storms and freezing temperatures.

Blackberry bushes can be a lush, vibrant, and delicious addition to your backyard. Because of their fast growth, however, they won’t hesitate to take over your garden if you give them the chance. That is why trimming and managing your bushes will ensure a more effective and efficient garden overall. If you love blackberries and are in an ideal climate to grow your own, then why wait? There is nothing more rewarding than harvesting your own blackberries each and every summer.

Looking for more gardening and harvesting related content? Check out our top tips for growing tomatoes in pots.

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