Blackberries grow on bushes, not trees. However, some blackberry bushes can grow to be so large that they actually seem like trees. Here are 5 tips on growing a blackberry tree to ensure an excellent crop of berries during the summer.
5 Purchase Healthy Plants from a Nursery or Reliable Garden Supply Source
Buying plants that are already a couple of years old means you can have berries right away, since it takes at least two years for a blackberry bush to produce fruit. Older plants tend to be a bit hardier as well.
4 Give Them Plenty of Room to Grow
Each variety requires different planting instructions, but the average blackberry plant needs at least 5 feet of space between it and the next bush in the row. The rows of blackberries should be at least 10 feet apart as well. This will allow you to easily harvest berries and maintain the bushes without causing harm to them or you.
3 Water during Dry Periods
Blackberry plants are very hardy, but they still need to be watered regularly. When plants are trying to become established after planting, it’s important to make sure they have plenty of water. It’s also good to keep weeds from growing around them so the root system has access to as much water as possible.
2 Prune in the Fall or Early Spring
If left unattended, blackberry plants will spread quickly and eventually stop producing as much fruit. These bushes spread via suckers or small plants, which can be thinned out in the fall. Once a cane produces fruit, it should be cut off to allow the newer canes to thrive. The new branches will become the source of berry production the following year.
1 Fertilize when Blooms Start to Appear
Use a 10-10-10 fertilizer or a 15-5-10 mix. It’s best to apply the fertilizer at least a foot from the base of the plant. The roots are deeply set on a blackberry plant, so this amount of spacing allows more of the root system to absorb the fertilizer.
I’ve been lucky enough to have Mulberry trees growing all over my woods. The kids and I enjoy harvesting the berries each summer, but very few make it to the house to be made into a batch of jam. Have you had much success with your Blackberry tree?
Top Photo Credit: CampoGirls & Hoes
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