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HOW TO GROW THORNLESS BLACKBERRY PLANTS

Craving for juicy blackberries then why not grow it?

Yes you read it right!

Even if you have experienced thorns while picking the wild blackberries in the woods, never mind, you can grow domesticated thornless varieties by yourself.

Read ahead to know how to grow thornless blackberry plants?

Well drained soil, full Sun and your timely attention is all that your thornless blackberry plant would need.

Types Of Blackberries:

  1. Erect thorny blackberries
  2. Erect thornless blackberries
  3. Trailing thornless blackberries

Here we’ll learn to grow and harvest thornless blackberry plants and caring tips for growing thornless blackberry plants.

Once the berry is ripe and you get to have the bountiful and luscious blackberries, you’ll realize that thornless blackberries are one of the most easy and productive fruit you can ever grow.

You can’t go wrong with any of these thornless blackberry varieties:

Arapaho, Apache, Natchez, Navaho or Ouachita.

Thornless blackberry plants grow long straight branches called canes (stems). Usually during summer these canes bear fruit. All blackberry plants are perennial and their roots survive year after year. However, the part of the plant above the soil has biennial growth that means for one year the canes grow vegetatively, next year it bears fruit and then dies.

Each year the plant sends the new cane replacing the dead ones. Woody canes of thornless black berry plants produce fruit and if cared properly the fruit quality can be improved.

In the spring season, plants bear the large pink flowers. Later when the flowers pollinate and blackberries are formed. Blackberries ripe when they are completely black. They tend to be large and juicier.

Read Also - What are the Different Blueberry Varieties to Grow at Home

THORNLESS BLACKBERRY CARE

  • SOIL

Plant the new thornless black berry plant either in early fall or early spring in sandy loams. Plant them in a well-drained soil which is slightly acidic in nature with a pH level ranging from 6.5 to 7 and should contain at least 2% humus or organic material. 

  • POSITIONING AND TRELLISING

Plant thornless blackberry plants at a distance of 5 feet each for better airflow, Sun exposure as well as they get space to spread. To keep the blackberry plants off the ground and conserve space, you should trellise the cane, this will make harvesting of fruits easier.

You can also support the canes using an existing fence, PVC pipes or wooden poles. If support is not provided the long canes may trail on the ground. You can use wire stretched between the posts above the ground for the plant's new shoots to climb the trellis.

Usually during summer, the plant starts growing new canes. Trellised them to produce next year’s fruit.

Tip: Do not cluster the shoots together. 

  •  NOURISHMENT

Mulching around the base of the plant is important as it retains the moisture and suppresses weeds. Mulching with about 4 inches of organic material is advisable. It promotes growth of the fibrous blackberry root system. Later after a year of growth, you can add fertilizer.

Important Tip: Until the root system is properly established, keep plants well-watered.

  • PRUNING

Pruning thornless blackberries is extremely important. In order to maintain the height of the plant between three to four feet during summer, you can prune off the tips of the new canes.

Longer canes however would not enhance berry production, rather would make it difficult to take care of the plants. Once the fruit production is done, cut the old fruiting canes to the ground.

During winters you can prune off any diseased or dead canes but can trim back the side branches. However, during spring to encourage large fruit production, prune lateral branches to about 12 inches before new growth forms.

Cherokee, a variety of erect thornless blackberries produce root suckers that grow from the crown area. It is advisable to prune them off once they reach the length of about 1 foot or else they’ll steal nutrients from the other parts of the plant.

WRAPPING UP

Black berries are high in ellagic acid that makes cancer-causing chemicals inactive. Further it contains other antioxidants that lowers cholesterol and reduces cardiovascular disease. Then why not grow and consume blackberries?

Though growing thornless blackberries and taking care of the plant takes some time, you’ll get the reward of your efforts once you have the delicious blackberries.