How To Grow Thornless Blackberries

Thornless blackberries produce sweet, luscious fruit, which home gardeners adore. These plants are kid- and pet-friendly and easy to care for. Grow thornless blackberries with these seven easy steps.  

Choose a thornless blackberry for your climate and growing conditions. Navaho, Apache, and Ouachita are popular. Ask your local nursery or extension office for local favorites.

1. Choose the Right Variety

Blackberries like fertile, well-draining soil with a pH of 5.5–7.0. Unweed and add compost to the planting location to increase soil structure and fertility. Raised beds and mounds improve drainage.

2. Prepare the Soil

Plant early spring or late fall thornless blackberry canes. Plants should be 3–4 feet apart in 6–8-foot rows. Dig a hole large enough for the roots and position the plant so the crown is level with the dirt. Cover with dirt and water.  

3. Planting

Maintain soil moisture, especially in the first year as plants establish. Water deeply weekly, more often during droughts. Mulching around plant bases retains soil moisture and suppresses weeds.  

4. Watering

Pruning thornless blackberries produces fruit. Remove dead or damaged canes in late winter or early spring. Stop production by cutting fruiting canes to ground level after the season. Train new canes to the trellis to arrange and ventilate plants.  

5. Pruning

As new growth begins in spring, use a 10-10-10 balanced fertilizer. Application rates are manufacturer-specified. Avoid overfertilizing, which can increase vegetative growth and reduce fruit production.  

6. Fertilizing

Check plants for pests and diseases regularly. Common pests include aphids, spider mites, anthracnose, and powdery mildew Leaves and debris should be removed and organic or chemical controls used to maintain your vegetation.  

7. Manage Pests and Diseases  

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