For some of us in the South, picking blackberries brings brings back childhood memories of reaching for those delicious dark purple nuggets among a thicket of thorns.  Standing in the warm sun, we ate  as many berries as we saved.  Our hands turned purple, juice ran down our chins, and we complained out the scratches on our arms as we fought off pesky insects.

In southern Arkansas, they grow in the wild with no cultivation at all which makes it the perfect plant to put in your edible landscaping.  Don’t have a green thumb?  Then blackberries are perfect for you!

As long as the plants are still small, you can dig up these wild plants up when they are still small  and transplant them to your yard.    There are also some thornless blackberries varieties you can purchase in the spring.  Four or Five plants will produce an abundance of blackberries.

Every year, I can blackberry jelly and pie filing.  I make blackberry cobblers, cupcakes, and ice cream.  I make blackberry pancakes and waffles with blackberry syrup.  Yeah…I have a thing for blackberries.


  • Blackberries and hybrids are all self-fertile, so multiple plants are not needed for fruit production.
  • Select a site that receives full sun for the best berry yields.
  • Soil needs to have good drainage.
  • For semi-erect cultivars, space plants 5 to 6 feet apart. Space erect cultivars 3 feet apart. Space trailing varieties 5 to 8 feet apart. Space rows about 8 feet apart. ( Note: I know this spacing is common practice but my berries are planted about 1 foot apart and do fine.  Just work with the space you have)
  • Plant shallowly: about one inch deeper than they were grown.
  • Planting may be done in late fall, however, it should be delayed until early spring in very cold areas as low temperatures could kill some hybrids. I usually just transplant wild plants in the spring when they are less than 12 inch tall.


  • Blackberries require plenty of moisture, especially when growing and ripening. Ensure plants receive one inch of water per week and more in hot temperatures.
  • Blackberries benefit from fertilizing in early spring with an all-purpose fertilizer such as 10-10-10, or a 16-16-8.


Trailing blackberries need a trellis or support. Explore a two-wire system, running a top wire at five to six feet with a second line 18 inches below the top wire. After the first year, there will be fruiting floricanes along the wires. Train the new primocanes into a narrow row below the fruiting canes. Directing all canes in one direction may make it simpler.   I would recommend watching videos on You Tube or search for plans online and see what will work best for you.


Blackberry roots are perennial, but the canes are biennial: They develop and grow one year, flower and fruit the second, then die. Hence the need to distinguish between first- and second-year canes.  Don’t fret over pruning your blackberries.   The main idea is to simply remove the old canes that already bore fruit and let new ones take their place.

When Learning to prune my blackberries, I wanted numerous videos on YouTube.  I’m not recommending any particular video since I had to watch several.  Just search for “Pruning blackberries” and  you should be good to go.


  • Pick only berries that are fully black. Mature berries are plump yet firm, a deep black color, and pull freely from the plant without a yank. Berries do no ripen after being picked.
  • Once blackberries start to ripen, they must be picked often—every couple of days.
  • Once picked, place berries in the shade and refrigerate as soon as possible
  • Blackberries are highly perishable and will only last a few days once harvested, even with refrigeration.
  • Although fresh fruit is always best, blackberries can be stored by canning, preserving, or freezing.









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