Contact Us800.325.4180

Which Blackberry Plants to Trellis

by Stark Bro's on 08/29/2012
101419854

Anyone who has grown blackberries will tell you, hands down, that these plants are  easy additions to your edible landscape. When growing blackberry plants yourself, it is useful to know about the differences between available varieties. For example, look at thorns — some blackberry plants have thorns that help to protect them from unwanted snackers, while other cultivars are thornless, which makes them safer for little hands to harvest. In this article, we are going to focus on the differences in growing habits and also share some information about when it is necessary to grow your blackberry plants on a trellis.

Growth Habits of Blackberry Plants

Erect blackberry plants grow upright and tend to stand on their own without needing additional support. This is ideal if you are hoping to grow these plants in containers or if you are adding them as points of interest in your home garden.

Browse our erect blackberry plants to see which ones are best suited for your location.

Erect Blackberry Plants Jumbo-6 Pack

Semi-erect blackberry plants have a spreading nature and will require a little support, in the form of a fence or trellis, to continue to grow up and keep their fruit off the ground.

Our selection of semi-erect blackberry plants includes:

Semi-Erect Blackberry Plants Jumbo-6 Pack

When trellising blackberry plants, don’t stress out about finding the “perfect” trellis design — there’s no such thing! There are many forms a trellis can take, like an existing fence or a sturdy railing. Most blackberry plants grow to be an average of 4-5 feet tall and wide. Make sure you keep that information handy to help you design your ideal trellis system. You can usually find a DIY trellis kit at your local hardware store or, if you’re handy, you can design your own — it’s easier than you might think!

Our book, Pruning Made Easy, provides useful information about pruning and care for the different growing habits of blackberries. You will also find illustrations of different kinds of blackberry trellises from the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension Service if you want to try your hand at constructing your own!

Homemade Berry Trellis

Homemade Trellis
via DeWayne Harrell of HobbyBerries

Some other berry plants besides blackberries might also require trellises.

Our selection of trailing berry plants includes:

Do you trellis your blackberry plants? What are some advantages to using a trellis that you have discovered along the way?

 Shop All Blackberry Plants »

Topics → Planting & Growing, Tips

67 comments on “Which Blackberry Plants to Trellis

  1. Barbara on said:

    Great timing. We will be building a trellis of some type for our Triple Crown Thornless Blackberries which are growing like mad!

    • Sarah on said:

      I have Triple Crown blackberries as well, Barbara! They are incredibly vigorous (even potted) so the support system you build will make them even happier. :)

  2. Carl Dimick on said:

    How good are the cone shaped tomato supports often found at Wal-Mart for a couple of dollars?

    • Sarah on said:

      I have actually used these for my own blackberry plants, Carl, so I can say with certainty they do work well as trellises! There are even sturdier (thicker gauge metal frame) versions of the same “tomato cages” I’ve found at farm supply stores that do well when your plants are weighted down with berries. :)

  3. Russ Staiger on said:

    Greetings,

    It has been some time since I have ordered anything from Stark Brothers, but in years past a lot of my fruit trees came from your fine nursery. Most of what I ordered was subsequently planted at our lake home. Finding fruit trees that will cope with winters, sandy soil, periodic drought, deer and other critters makes raises stock in North Dakota a full time challenge. I have succeeded in some areas where most folks said I never would. I have a multitude of different kinds of apples, pears, cherries, rasberries, oak and walnut trees. I am really interested in finding a strain of blackberries I could try next spring. I am not much on trying to plant in the fall since it is tough to winter fall planted stock. I like to give the plant a summer to get somewhat established. That all being said, I would like to know if there is variety of blackberry that you think I have a fighting chance to get established next spring and then bring it through the winter. What ever suggestion you might have to offer would be appreciated.

    • Sarah on said:

      I think your fruit trees reflect your commendable perseverance, Russ! :) I know parts of North Dakota fall under zone 4, and the hardiest blackberry plants for that zone that we carry also happen to be thorned varieties, so, if that doesn’t bother you too terribly, consider planting:

      Prime-Ark® 45 Primocane Blackberry
      Prime-Jan® Blackberry
      Prime-Jim® Blackberry

      I know the Prime-Ark® 45 blackberry tends to produce early so chances of harvest in short growing seasons is greater.

      If the Prime-Jan® and Prime-Jim® blackberries both interested you, we offer them in an assortment that will save you some money: Prime Blackberry Assortment

      I hope this helps! Happy planting :)

  4. Arleen Gregg on said:

    I purchased 3 thornless blackberry plants from you 2 or 3 years ago but I don’t know which type. Would your records reflect what I bought? They are huge and bearing fruit this year. I am going to need to move them this fall, any suggestions? Thank you, Arleen Gregg

    • Sarah on said:

      Hi Arleen! I was able to look back in your account with us and it looks like the plants you ordered were the Apache Blackberry, package of 3, in spring of 2010.

      If you absolutely must move the plants, we recommend waiting until they are completely dormant (late fall/winter or early spring at the latest) and you should keep as much of the root ball intact — especially the fine hairlike roots. This will help avoid as much stress to the plants as possible. Good luck! :)

  5. Homer Barnhardt Sr on said:

    I have ordered from you over the past 10 years or so. My question. My blackberry patch up until this year was fantastic, however this year we did not get a pint or less. The wees and vines thick, and almost impossible to keep out. Is there a way I can handle this after the growing season? Could I “bush hog” the whole patch without damaging the plants?
    Your help will be appreciated.
    Homer Barnhardt

    • Sarah on said:

      Great questions, Mr. Barnhardt! A lot of growers find that, when their berry patch is overgrown (in the nature of brambles) or overgrown with weeds, a great method to rejuvenate the patch is to cut the canes back just about to ground level and give new growth a chance to thrive the following spring.

      The method most growers use to try to keep their berries in check is pruning the canes that produced berries that season back to ground level after they’ve finished producing (after harvest).

      This becomes an annual routine that helps to prevent tangles and overgrowth, at least for the plants. Weeds are another story, but if you’re adamant about getting rid of them as soon as they appear, it should greatly help reduce overgrowth! I do hope this helps. :)

  6. Wendy L. Jones on said:

    When, and what do you feed thorny black raspberries? How do you prune them so they will produce to the max?

    This is their first year (just planted) and they are growing explosively! Already have many canes about 5ft long each.

    Stark Brothers really delivers when it comes to healthy plants.

    • Sarah on said:

      Thank you for the compliments, Wendy! I’m glad to hear your plants are growing so vigorously! For raspberries, we recommend Stark® Raspberry Food, which is water soluble and specially formulated (20-21-20) for raspberry plants.

      We also have pruning instructions for black raspberry plants in our Growing Guide. All you need to do is select the section on the left that says “Pruning”. We help you know how and when it is best to prune for the benefit of the plants you’re growing! :)

  7. gayle on said:

    We bought 4 different varieties of thornless blackberries. After 2 or 3 yrs now, most of them have started to show thorns? The berries have been big & great this year though, any suggestions?

    • Sarah on said:

      Hi, Gayle. It is not unusual for thornless variety blackberries to develop thorns. After all, that is in the original nature of the plant. Is it the entire plant that has become thorned or is it just some canes appear to have developed thorns? If it is the latter, you may prune those out if the thorns are problematic.

      I have the Thornless Loganberry growing in my yard and, out of 7 plants, one of the limbs of one of the plants has many obvious and sharp thorns. If I didn’t find it so interesting, I’d probably prune it out, too. :)

      • gayle on said:

        Thanks. I did check & it seems to just be some of the vines. Since they all did so well this year, i guess I’ll just leave them for now.

  8. Jill on said:

    Several years ago I planted three Chester thornless blackberry plants in a row. Six metal posts about 5 feet high are distributed to form a large rectangle. I had some really thick cable wire (about 1/4″ diameter) available, which I connected to each of the posts about 4 feet from the ground. Newer canes are pushed behind the cable when they get high enough. This suppports the canes and does not interfere with picking.
    We could have made the support wire a bit higher, as some canes get at least 8 feet high and end up touching the ground outside the plot. We are in zone 5-6 and most years we get about 30 quarts of berries total from the three plants.
    I let the pruning go for a couple of years and that resulted in the bushes getting a fungus of some kind (maybe Rosette). A really strict pruning this spring got things back to normal. Moral: don’t avoid annual fall pruning of spent canes!

    • Sarah on said:

      Jill, your setup sounds wonderful and your advice is appreciated! It makes such a difference to do a little bit of pruning every year instead of letting things go and suffering the consequences later (disease, or a tangled overgrown mess). Thank you. :)

  9. Latrisha on said:

    I order some triple crown blackberry in February of this year, and they took off really great. But in the past month they have died out along with the four fruit trees I ordered, Is this Normal?? Will they come back or are they completely dead… I’ve tried to research this, but I have not a clue what to believe…

    • Sarah on said:

      Latrisha, when you say the trees and plants have died out, does this mean they are actually dead? If so, this isn’t normal for any time of year and the plants won’t come back. It has been an incredibly stressful season for new plants and even established ones to endure. If you have kept your plants and trees watered (but not overwatered), then chances are they may still be living — just incredibly stressed — depending on how harsh the heat and drought has been for you there.

      The best way to tell if a plant/tree is still living is to go out to where they are planted and scratch a small spot on the main stem/trunk — not on a branch — with your thumb nail or a butter knife. If you see green or wet wood under the outer layer of bark, they are still living. If this is the case, and you see any dead limbs on your trees and blackberry plants, it is best to prune those off to allow for the roots to have an easier time supporting what is still living. If they are still living but the leaves are dying or dropping off, don’t worry too much. Fall is just around the corner and this would have happened soon anyway.

      If your plants and trees are hard, brittle, and have a brown, woody appearance beneath the bark, please contact our customer support team [800.325.4180 | info@starkbros.com] so that we can look into shipping you replacements for the plants/trees that did not survive. I hope this helps!

      • Latrisha on said:

        Thank you, all thier leaves are gone… I checked my trees and I will have to prune some limbs off, which they grew quite a bit before thier sudden change, but as far as green underneath three of them do. But my cherry tree I cant get the bark to come off so i can see underneath it, and in some of the V’s of the limbs to the trunk ( if you can understand) is some sappy but hard stuff, Do you know what that is? I am afraid the cherry tree might be to far gone, I can only hope my others do better. But as I said I need to look further into it before I do contact for replacements… Now as far as the blackberry, how do you know if they have died or are just readying for fall? Again thank you…

        • Sarah on said:

          Finding life in the blackberries would work the same way as the trees. You might want to use a butter knife to scratch a small spot on the main stem (in case your blackberry plant has thorns — you don’t want to injure yourself) to look for life beneath the scratch. Even dormant blackberries will still have living wood beneath the outer layer of bark. It’s a bit too early in the year for blackberries to be completely dormant, though.

          As for your cherry tree, the bark sloughing off could be attributed to a fungus, sun scald, or even boring insects. Do you happen to have photos of what you’re seeing happen with this tree? If so, could you email them to us at info@starkbros.com? We’d like to take a look so we can give you a better idea about what it might be.

          • Latrisha on said:

            I been checking my trees once a week… there all dead… The limbs that had grown are brittle, some even a blackish color…underneath the bark is just browned now.. I am really disappointed. I will send photos… I don’t know where I went wrong I researched on your site and did everything I was suppose too….I had so much pride in them…

  10. Rita Zufolo on said:

    I like to know what to do with all the new growth of blackberry cut it down or leave it ?i know I read other comments that you cut the old stuff down to the grown so I don’t know what I should do??thank you I love my blackberry I got so many big huge fruits and so much I don’t know the name but it’s perfect.

    • Sarah on said:

      Hi Rita! Your blackberry plant sounds wonderful (even if you don’t know which one it is ;) ). The best method, with blackberries, is to prune the canes that have produces berries down to the ground after they are harvested. This helps keep the plants from becoming overgrown and it also allows the plants to save energy.

      In the fall, after the plants are dormant, you will want to prune back the canes that are left (the ones that didn’t produce fruit) back to a sturdier height (like 16-18 inches) so that they can survive the winter.

  11. jim oquinn on said:

    I have failed to get any kind of berries to last a year. I live in a hot and dry area with erratic spring frost and sometimes a summer that is hot, and dry. I don’t remember the types I have tried, however I am willing to try another berry that can be neglected, hot, and reproduce. Thank you for your time!

    • Sarah on said:

      Hi Jim! There are a few areas that reportedly have difficulty growing blackberries successfully (like Arizona and New Mexico, for example). Even the hardiest plants still might not be successful in every location. Before I can comfortably recommend a variety that *might* work, I would have to suggest contacting local growers/experts in your area to see if they have had success with blackberries or if they even recommend trying. :) Please let me know what you find out!

  12. Ben Grossman on said:

    At one of our regional parks, we planted a row of thornless blackberries and installed a v-shaped trellis system. It is next to our Nature Explore Classroom and lends another learning opportunity for children and families. The supports were made from cedar logs harvested onsite during a prairie restoration. Three wires are strung between each post for the trellis. We are training up the vines on one side this year only, about 4 vines per plant. When they got to the top, we clipped them. Next year this side will produce fruit and we will train up vines that come off the root on the other side, then at the end of the season, we will remove all the vines off the side that produced fruit. Keeps from guessing which vines to cut and which to not, one side each year is producing fruit and the other is being trained.

    • Sarah on said:

      Ben, the v-shaped trellis system sounds ideal for your maintenance and fruit production/harvest, and it sounds aesthetically pleasing to boot! I’m sure visitors to the regional parks appreciate it. :) Are there any photos of this online somewhere so I can see it, too?

  13. Donna Evans on said:

    I have had thornless blackberries for years and love them, don’t know the variety,but they are upright canes that stand alone. My problem is this year the new plants that I transplanted last year are really wierd.They have 5 leaves instead of 3 leaves and they are real long and viney but still thornless and the berries are real small and nubby. they act like they’ve reverted to wild. Is that possible or is it a disease? Don’t want them to affect my other berries. Help

    • Sarah on said:

      You’re not alone there, Donna! My blackberry plant has done the same thing. I wonder if you have the Ouachita Thornless Blackberry, too. :) It’s not a disease or anything that might spread. I have researched this a bit and found that younger vegetative canes tend to have 3-7 leaves where older more mature and fruiting canes can have 3-5 leaves. It just gives an idea of the age of the plant’s growth.

      As for the fruit, many people have had small and oddly-shaped berries due to the intensity of the weather. As long as things like the weather normalize or level out some next year, this shouldn’t be an ongoing problem. :)

  14. Marti on said:

    I see in comment to Rita that you told her to cut canes which had fruited back to ground after harvest. We have always done that, but you also told her to cut new canes (canes that had not fruited) to 16″- 18″,we have never done that. We have ours canes trellised on a fence trellis and just tie up the new canes as they grow. Would we get fuller bushes and more berries if we cut them down to say 18″ for the winter months? The one guy ask about keeping out weeds, We have ours in a row and mulch them to keep out the weeds. We get lots of berries off our plants (from you). We have the throne free plants and it’s a pleasure to pick from them ,I got scratched up plenty growing up picking from wild black berries.
    with all the thrones.

    • Sarah on said:

      It is perfectly fine to cut all of the canes completely back to the ground, Marti. Some methods of pruning recommend leaving the canes that have not produced that year with some growth on so that the 16-18″ laterals are able to fruit that following growing season. It’s simply up to personal preference!

      Thank you for your weeding advice for Mr. Barnhardt. That is a great method to not only keep out weeds but keep in moisture so the plants are less likely to dry out. :)

  15. Benneth P. Cachila on said:

    Hi Sarah, I bought a 6 pack of Stark’s “Arapaho” blackberries it fall of 2011. They are now growing so tall ( about 7-8 ft.) Will you please clarify your advice to Marti about cutting down the canes that has not produced this year 16-18″ from the ground. But you also mentioned laterals to be able to fruit the following season. If I cut the cane that low to the ground, there will be no laterals left. Please clarify. Thank you.

    • Sarah on said:

      Certainly, Beth. Arapaho Blackberries are erect in nature, so you may simply prune out the canes that have produced berries down to the ground after they have been harvested that season. You will also want to prune out any weak, unhealthy, canes at that time and repeat this when you prune for the winter.

      If you do not have any lateral growth or buds in the 16-18″ range on your plants, consider pruning all of your canes back to 3-4’ in midsummer. This forces lateral branches to emerge from buds below this point. This pruning increases the sturdiness of the plants and the encouraged lateral growth provides more area for berries to be produced. I hope this helps! :)

  16. martin cherniske on said:

    I certainly understand the need to prune out the two year old canes but I don’t find them as easy to identify as you make it appear. What specific signs do you look for to identify canes that have fruited earlier amongst all the new canes ?

    • Sarah on said:

      Great question, Martin! Older canes on blackberries will have more of a woody-bark appearance compared to the first-year new growth that is a brighter green. An easy way for you to keep track is to prune out the old stems after you have harvested the berries from them. You’re already out there, so if it’s part of your routine it will be easy! ;)

      Many berry growers find it to be helpful (in the case of older, overgrown, berry patches) to prune everything right to the ground in the late fall/winter so that they can keep an eye on what’s growing and producing from that point on.

  17. Ruby Lorraine Comer on said:

    We planted our blackberries just this year. They have not produced of coarse, so should we still cut all the vines down this winter? What month? I live in west central arkansas

    • Sarah on said:

      You will want to do your dormant pruning when all the leaves fall from your plants and trees in your area, Ruby. I’m not too familiar with your local environment but, chances are, it’ll be safe to prune there after November.

      It is recommended that you keep your plants maintained at around 3-4′ tall. Also, be sure that you completely prune out any damaged/weak-looking stems to leave room for healthy, strong, growth the following spring.

  18. pattie kucera on said:

    Hi! I am still in the research phase of buying Triple crown blackberries, and am not a seasoned veteran like many of you! I am in zone 6 and had heard that I can plant in the fall as well as the spring. I was also wondering exactly what kind of soil to purchase? Is there something I can buy like Miraclegro? And is there a fertilizer that is good? I had heard Miracid is good too? Thanks for enduring all of my questions!

    • Sarah on said:

      Hi Pattie! That’s right — Zone 6, in most areas, has the luxury of planting blackberries in both the spring and the fall. As long as blackberries are known to grow in your area, this will also apply to you. If your local soil is well-drained and the pH is around 6.0-6.8, blackberries are able to grow in the ground.

      If you prefer/need to grow your berry plants in containers, be sure that the type of soil you buy is potting soil. This helps avoid the soil becoming compacted within the container, which can stunt growth and can keep water running down the inside of the container instead of getting absorbed by the roots.

      If you are amending local soil, you should look for top soil and/or a nice composted material. These can all be found in the same place you’d find potting soil.

      If you opt for something like Miraclegro, keep in mind they already have nutrients/fertilizers mixed in so you may not need to fertilize additionally. As for fertilizer in general, we recommend a 12-10-10 formula, ideal for blackberries, like our Stark® Blackberry & Bramble Fertilizer.

  19. David on said:

    Hi, love your site – In my confusion of the different canes – my 1st year growing I cut the wrong cane and had to wait for any blackberries. I have 2 of the Triple Crown blackberries and 5 of the Everbearing Darrow Blackberry that all did very well in 2012 – we were picking some everyday after work – and I think I have the pruning of them down to a science now. My confusion is on the Triple Crown – this is the 1st year that I pruned them down to 6ft tall and from what I was reading I could of just left them without pruning them? The canes were close to 9 feet tall along the fence line and some of them broke off at ground level. As for the Darrow ones – every year I prune them to about 5-6 feet tall thinking that they will spread out more canes – which they seem to be doing. Do I have to prune any of them to a certain height? Thanks for all your help.

    • Sarah on said:

      I’ll try to clear up the confusion for you, David! ;) A good method is to maintain your blackberry plants at a 3-4 ft height. This will allow for stronger plants (avoiding breakages) and will also encourage lateral growth, which provides more surface for berries to grow. We recommend doing this annually to avoid tangled overgrowth.

      An ideal system for pruning is to always prune out weak or damaged/diseased canes to leave room for strong, healthy growth. You can prune to remove these at any time. In mid-summer, it is recommended that you prune your blackberry plant’s canes back, like you have been, so that more laterals are formed. We recommend aiming for around a 3-4 ft height, but if 5-6 suits you better, that works as well.

  20. Douglas Stout on said:

    My Prime Jim Blackberries are on their third growing season here in Northern Nevada and are doing well. I have to pick every other day, and have only 12 plants and get a quart of berries every 4 days. The berries are terrific in it takes about a half dozen to fill a cup. Very large berries Last year I trimmed back the first years growth as recommended but not the second year’s because they produce on second year cames as well as first year also. The cames currently about 8-10 feet tall on this years growth. Do you recommend trimming back first year growth to get a bushier plant on these species or allow them to grow?

    • Sarah on said:

      I need to reiterate here the “wow” I left when I saw the Prime-Jim® photo you shared with us on Facebook! We’ve sorely missed our Prime-Jim® plants being productive this year because of late frosts. :)

      Even with this variety of blackberry, if you maintain your plants at about a 3-4 foot height, they will be encouraged to grow more sturdily and they produce more lateral stems, which provide space to produce even more fruit for you to enjoy!

  21. David Gibble on said:

    I have a successful organic U-pick blueberry operation and would like to add blackberries. I need early and late varieties to extend season length but am concerned about diseases which I see on the wild canes on our upstate SC farm. I also need tutoring on best cultivation practices.

  22. kathy on said:

    Would you show a picture or explain how using cone shaped tomatoe cages would work as a trellis with blackberry plants, I am in the process of creating a raised bed for blackberries and need to know if I put the cage on when planting or wait til the next season. Thank you

    • Sarah on said:

      Well, mine is in a pot with the tomato cage providing support as it grows tall. It’s not the best-quality photo but you can see it here, Kathy:

      Potted Blackberry Plant with tomato-cage trellis

      I can tell you now that you don’t have to put the cage on immediately at planting time, but be sure to get them on there before the plants really take off growing. I had difficulty stuffing the leafy-limbs into the cone without breaking them once it started taking off vigorously. :)

      • Kevin on said:

        I’m new to growing blackberries. I have 2 semi-erect blackberry plants in my yard. I planted them 2 years ago and they’re now producing fruit. Now, I need to look into a trellis for my backyard. I really don’t want to take over my backyard with a long trellis. With your idea of using a tomato cage as a trellis, would the blackberry plants ever outgrow that “trellis?” Would I need to prune within or around the tomato cage at any time? Thank you.

        • Sarah on said:

          In my experience, semi-erect blackberry plants are very vigorous. They have a horizontal growth habit, so it may be like swimming against the current trying to keep the vigorous growth neatly confined within the tomato cage. It’s ok if they bush out beyond it — personally, I like the look of the plant more than the wire frame. :)

          With mine, I do have to prune within the cages to remove the damaged leaves and lower growth to keep things cleaned up and disease-free. I make sure the leafy canes are growing within the tomato cage, using the sides as support, and they are free to bush out over the top once they’ve reached that height. I don’t prune to keep everything else inside a neat little box, I let the cage do all the support work once the plant has grown to the right height.

          The main goal is to keep things off the ground to avoid mold and other problems, and a good sturdy tomato cage does that well with very little effort!

          • Kevin on said:

            So once the plants reach the height of the tomato cage, I don’t want them to waterfall over the top of the cage, right? I just wanna make sure I can still get to these berries. :) I also want to make sure I’m not stunting the plants’ growth by confining them to tomato cages; once the cage is there, it’d take a lot of wire cutting to remove it from around a mature plant.

          • Sarah on said:

            Kevin, most blackberry varieties only get about 4-6 feet tall (or “long” I guess, since the semi-erect canes grow more horizontally). There are sturdy tomato cages that are about that tall, so if your plants are exceeding that by all means keep them in line with some pruning! There shouldn’t be any waterfalling. :)

            The cages shouldn’t require any wirecutting at all. As with any well-manicured blackberry plant, caged or not, you remove old canes after they fruit and after the plant has gone dormant. You start over again training the new growth inside the cage setting the following growing season.

  23. Joline Fleming on said:

    I live where there are some wild blackberries near where I want to plant some blackberries in my orchard. Is there any problems with them pollinating each other??? Or infecting with diseases???

    • Sarah on said:

      Hi Joline! If you have wild blackberry plants growing there, consider their fruit and additional pollination a bonus! As long as the wild blackberry plants are healthy, there should be no reason to worry about them spreading disease to the blackberries you plant in your orchard, either. :)

  24. Betty Dixon on said:

    can I grow these blackberries in pots? if so, is there a certain type of soil to us.. I have not order yet, But I am looking forward to getting my first order complete. Thank you

    • Sarah on said:

      You can definitely grow your own blackberry plants in containers, Betty! The ‘soil’ to use for any container-grown plants/trees would be potting medium (to avoid compacting and also to avoid soil-borne pests, fungus, disease, and weed-seeds that might be in topsoil). You can find this at your local garden supply store.

      Many people prefer planting erect, thornless, varieties like Arapaho or Ouachita when they want to grow blackberries in pots, but if you include sturdy stakes, like bamboo, in your planting, you can simply tie up the more trailing canes of the semi-erect blackberry varieties to keep them growing orderly — and wear gloves to protect yourself from the thorned varieties. ;)

      Before transplanting it into my yard, I had the Ouachita Thornless Blackberry plant growing in a 5-gallon container, and I kept its naturally-upright growth in check by placing a small tomato cage right into the pot with it. It worked perfectly! :D

  25. chuck rehfeldt on said:

    Two (2) Questions:

    A. Years ago…I believe that I purchased and received a “Cocktail Tree” from you with peaches, Plums and Apricots grafted to it. IT’s doing great, but I’ve forgotten what kind of Fertilizer you recommended for it. Are these kind of Grafted Cocktail Trees Still available? (As I’m having a lot of people ask me …where did I get such a tree. can I refer them to you for one?

    B. I’m interested in purchasing a Thornless Black-Berry… which I used to know as a Child back in New York State called … “A Long Berry”…which was a Thornless Blackberry (Very dark purple/black in color and about “a thumb length” for a 10 year old kid- maybe 2 inches) very sweet and I’d guess similar to “Kiowa”..but perhaps sweeter. Do you have such a Berry – Available?

  26. glora kelly on said:

    I have grown your blackberries for years. Each time we move I start a new patch. I have never had problems until the last 3 years. The berries bloom–set on tons of berries–then dry up or become deformed looking and have a lot of tan lobes on the few berries that ripen–the leaves turn brown and the cane dies. I blamed Missouri’s drought the first two years, now I fear I have a disease. I have very few new canes this year. What do I do? We also have honey bees so what ever I do,I have to keep my bee friends in mind. Do I need to start over in a new location? I also have raspberries which are not affected. HELP Glora

    • Sarah on said:

      My blackberries did the same thing last year and I also blamed the drought! I pruned off the browned fruit before it affected the canes, since damage on a plant can later become a site for disease. In my case, the pruning helped and I (fortunately) haven’t seen a repeat of this problem this year.

      What you’re describing can sound like signs of diseases common to blackberry and raspberry plants, but they tend to also present with other factors like purple/red discoloration of foliage and spots that become sunken and grey (or tan), deformed fruit, or shotholes in the leaves if it’s something like Anthracnose — or grey/black mold and discoloration along with the leaf/cane dieback for something like Botrytis. From what you described, it doesn’t sound like these disease issues are what you’re experiencing.

      If you have any photos of your berry plants this year showing signs of what you’re describing and more, we’ll be happy to take a look at them and see if they help! You can email those to us at info@starkbros.com — you can also contact the Extension office for Missouri (Lincoln University), which is dedicated to the diagnosis and identification of vegetable and small fruit diseases here for more information: http://www.lincolnu.edu/web/programs-and-projects/vegetable-and-small-fruits-pathology

  27. Jim on said:

    I planted a 6-pack of Kiowa I purchased from you about 6 weeks ago. They are growing like crazy, some have 10 or more canes. Should I thin these down at this time, if so to how many? I’m in zone 9.

    • Sarah on said:

      Oh boy, blackberries love to grow don’t they? :) I recently pruned mine all back because they were creating a jungle-haven for who-knows-what in my yard.

      If any of your blackberry plant’s canes fruited this year, be sure to completely remove (prune to the ground) those canes as soon as you finish harvesting from them.

      For what’s left, prune the main canes back to 4-5 feet if they are longer than this, and prune any laterals (horizontal stems coming from the main canes) back to about 18 inches. Remove any weak canes or damaged diseased ones as well. You should aim to leave about 4-6 of healthiest, strongest canes per plant.

  28. Charles Leveridge on said:

    Last year my Triple Crown blackberries produced wonderful fruit but this year I have noticed several berries with white drupes. What causes this and what can I do to prevent it from happening to next years crop?

    • Sarah on said:

      If you notice the white drupes are on the sun-side of the fruit, it is likely a result of heat — sort of like a sunburn on the fruit. You can try shading the plants if your location is prone to hot temperatures or dry air during a certain time of year. It really is just an appearance thing, and the fruit is still edible.

      If you notice the white drupes appear randomly on the fruit (not just the sun-side), then what you’re seeing may be a result of stinkbug damage to the fruit. They are all over blackberries, raspberries, and similar fruits this time of year. You will need to consider some form of pest control to keep the stinkbugs out of your blackberries if they are the culprit here, since they will more than likely be back next year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>