From the Sperry Garden: June 2014
Want to grow blackberries? They’re perhaps the easiest of all Texas fruit crops. Here are your guidelines in quick-form.
- Variety options have really increased, thanks to fine recent research by the University of Arkansas and others.
Thornless types: Apache, Natchez, Navaho and Ouachita.
Thorny types: Brazos, Chickasaw, Kiowa, Rosborough.
- Full sun is critical.
- Plant in well-draining soil that has been amended with ample organic matter and, if the native soil is a heavy clay, also with expanded shale.
- Plant in rows that are 8 to 10 feet apart. Set plants 3 to 4 feet apart within rows.
- You can plant anytime you find potted transplants. Winter is the most common time, since transplants can be dug and sold bare-rooted at that time.
- Fruit is produced on canes during their second year. Once a cane bears fruit that one year, the same cane will never bear fruit again. It must be removed with lopping shears immediately after the fruit is harvested.
- New canes sprout up vigorously each spring. Pinch their growing tips out when they reach 30 to 36 inches in height. That will force them to send out side branches, keeping the plants fuller and more compact.
- Fertilize with high-N or all-N plant food as the plants begin to show signs of new growth in early spring. Repeat immediately after harvest.