Planting, Fertilization & Watering
Blackberries will thrive
in most soil types including sandy or clay types, however, good drainage is
essential. Amend the soil with plenty of Black Forest Compost or
Master Nursery Fir Mulch and moderate amounts of well composted manures
including Master Nursery Paydirt (45% chicken manure), if desired. Be
careful not to add excessive steer manure, which contains salts not leeched
out during composting. These salts will contribute to the already
alkaline soil of some areas.
Blackberries respond extremely well to a well-balanced fertilizer applied at blossom time, and successively throughout the growing season. Granules easily broadcast include Master Nursery Fruit Tree & Vine Food and Best All Purpose 16-16-16.
These products are formulated for time-release fertilization.
Application of 3 to 4 times a year is usually sufficient. If a more
water soluble fertilizer is desired, Master Nursery Master Gro works well if
applied often enough, usually every two weeks from late April through early
August. Master Nursery Master Start, a granular fertilizer may also be
blackberries will appreciate regular deep watering. Drip irrigation
works well, as do soaker hoses. Fruiting plants in general do not like
to completely dry out between waterings, as diminished fruit production may
occur. Nor will your trailing blackberries appreciate overly moist
soil. Immature plants should be watered twice monthly during winter
months; mature plants require once monthly watering during winter months.
Blackberry plants will thrive in full sun; however, for the best fruit
production, afternoon shade is preferred. With afternoon shade,
thinner skinned, more succulent berries develop because moisture does not
evaporate through the berry.
Although blackberries do
not require a bark mulch, mulching helps keep the ground surrounding the
plant cooler and aids in moisture retention. Any bark
product—shredded, small, medium, large, or walk-on—will suffice.
Thornless forms of all
blackberries should not be deeply cultivated around as damaged feeder roots
will send up an occasional sticky sucker that requires removal.
Pruning & Training
Blackberries bear fruit
on the 2-year old canes—be careful when pruning. In the early spring
when the new canes begin to grow, consider training this new growth with
care not to harm it. Training is most efficient when the canes are
young and subtle. The simplest method of training is a stake with a
cross arm about 5’ high. Canes should be carefully brought up and held
in place with 2 or 3 ties of green tie tape (less injurious to the young
canes than twine). Wire trellis works well also. The only
‘right’ way to train blackberries is so that harvest and care is easiest for
you. After harvest, the 2-year old fruiting canes may be pruned as
close to the ground as possible without injuring the new canes.
Due to the uncertainty of wholesale grower stock, trucking, and weather,
all varieties will not be available at all times. Although we do have
the ability to special order some stock, we make no guarantee of its arrival
and cheerfully encourage alternate selections.
Apache (Thornless): Very large fruit, vigorous erect canes with good yields &
fruit quality. Ripens Mid-season.
Black Satin (Thornless): Medium to large black berry. Honey sweet flavor excellent for jams, jellies, fresh eating and pastries. Plant produces semi-erect thornless vines highly disease resistant. Ripens July.
Medium, almost seedless, sweet, juicy berry which is good for fresh eating,
freezing, jams, preserves, pastries, syrup and wine. Ripens May/June.
Boysenberry: Large, non-shiny reddish-black berry. Soft, very juicy, sweet-tart
tasting berry. Delightful aroma. Good for canning, freezing, and
eating fresh. Ripens June.
Large, firm, attractive fruit with excellent flavor. Vigorous, erect canes. Ripens Mid-season.
Chester (Thornless): Large fruit, sweet, high quality and firm.
Semi-upright. Ripens late season.
Dirksen (Thornless): Large, black fruit. Excellent quality and flavor, high
sugar content. Similar to Black Satin. Ripens July.
Medium-large. Soft, tart or sour fruit because of high acidity.
Excellent for pies, juice, canning, and wine making. Ripens June.
Medium to large fruit—bright red, firm, very flavorful. Vigorous,
thorny canes. Recommended for fresh eating, jams, preserves, and
deserts. Ripens July/August
Navaho (Thornless): Medium. Superior fruit quality with less tart flavor than other
varieties. Fully erect, self supporting shrub. Ripens June/July.
Large, non-shiny reddish-black berry. Soft, very juicy, sweet-tart
flavor Delightful aroma. Good for canning, freezing, and eating
fresh. Ripens June.
Large, shiny black, firm berry. Sweeter and less tart than others.
Vigorous grower, very productive.
Ripens late May to early July.
Large, long conical berries with reddish purple color and excellent,
slightly aromatic flavor.< Excellent quality for freezing, canning,
jams and jellies. Ripens July/August.
Very large fruit is firm, sweet, very flavorful and has a good keeping
quality. Plants are semi-erect and vigorous Good disease
resistance. Ripens July.
Large dark red berry. Similar to Boysenberry, but is shiny and milder
and less acidic. Good for fresh eating, canning and freezing.