This is what you need to know to grow the very best blackberries.
If you’re thinking about spending the time and energy to grow your own thornless blackberries, you’re going to want to make sure they bear fruit. That’s precisely why we’ve put together this guide on helping your Doyle Thornless Blackberry™ bushes thrive. Read on for three things you need to know right now.
- Pay attention to mulch and moisture. Thornless blackberries are one of the plants that benefit from mulching. Not only will a thick layer of mulch suppress weeds, it will help conserve moisture. Moisture is essential when a blackberry plant is growing, and the fruit is ripening. Plan to give your plant one inch of water per week (if rainfall in your climate is inadequate), but water mature plants with 1 pint of water per day while the berries are developing. Maximize your plant’s success with Doyle’s Organic 4-4-4 fertilizer in early spring and again three weeks after flowering.
- Don’t skip the pruning process. Pruning can be a pain, which is why Doyle Thornless Blackberry™ plants are designed to be relatively low maintenance. Begin by letting the canes grow to full length. Tipping these primary canes at any length will cause the laterals to grow longer. The total plant and fruit production remain the same. After the plant has fruited, the two-year-old canes will die and need to be removed to give new canes better access to sunlight. The plant recovers nitrogen from the dying canes and stores it to use in spring to help prompt new growth. Pruning in the spring generally results in fewer cutting errors.
- Embrace the harvest. It can be tempting to pick blackberries as soon as they start forming, it’s best to let the fruit mature. This means only picking the blackberries that are dull black in color. When the berries are fully ripe, they fall into hand when the bush is touched. The berry will be very large and sweetest at this stage. These berries are best for pies and cobblers. The berries harvested with a slight pull to the plant will be less sweet but firmer. The berries harvested with a hard pull will make your mouth pucker.
Thornless blackberries are a rewarding (and tasty!) crop to grow. The next time you’re sitting down to enjoy a homemade blackberry cobbler, we think you’ll be grateful for the little bit of extra work you put in to help your plants thrive.