The Q&A Archives: Fertilize Blackberries?

Question: We have wild blacberries and had a pretty good crop last summer. What should we do to help them, e.g., fertilize, lime, prune, etc.?


Answer: Lots of sunshine, ample water and an annual feeding should keep your blackberry patch producing well. Each year blackberry plants produce new canes from the crown just below the soil surface, and from roots that extend some distance out. Each cane lives for 2 years. The first year a cane produces only leaves, the second year it bears fruit. It won't fruit again, so old canes should be pruned out as soon as possible after the harvest to prevent disease from attacking the plant. Pruning reduces stress on the plants. Keep enough fruiting canes to have a good crop and remove the rest along with undesired root suckers each year. There are two different types of blackberries, upright and trailing, and each requires a different pruning method. The upright ones produce arching canes that can just support themselves. Included in this group are the semi-uprights, which flop a bit but can be treated just like the uprights. The trailing types sprawl and must be supported on wires.

The two groups also bear their fruit differently: upright kinds have fruit at the tips of the canes, trailing kinds have berries all along their length. The trailing types tend to be less hardy than the uprights, but they are usually more productive.

Each spring, feed with a 5=10=10 fertilizer at a rate of about one cup per 100 feet of plants. This will provide all the nutrients required of your blackberries.


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