Blackberries and their cousins, boysenberries, marionberries, and black raspberries grow very quickly. Newly sprouted blackberry canes can reach 6 feet in height (1.8 meters) within a year. Most berry growers opt to prune the height of first-year canes down to 3-4 feet (1–1.2 meters) to make them more manageable. Regular pruning helps provide effective control for their height. By the second year, these canes will bear fruit. However, the tradeoff for this fast growth is that individual blackberry canes don’t live beyond two years.
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How Soon Do Blackberries Produce Fruit?
First-year canes will never produce fruit. Blackberry canes only produce fruit in the second year of their life, pending you provide proper soil and sun conditions. After that, the individual canes die off. Dead canes will need to be removed before new first-year canes (primocanes) can grow.
- Canes of blackberries only produce fruit in their second year.
- Individual canes die off after this fruit yield and must be given proper pruning before new canes can grow.
Growers cultivate plants with both first and second-year canes so they get fruit production every year except the first year of the plant’s life. Otherwise, they’d have to contend with only getting fresh blackberries every other year. Be sure to engage in regular pruning sessions to maintain the growth of both first and second-year canes
How Deep Do Blackberry Roots Go?
Blackberry bushes have roots that extend up to 12 inches deep (30 cm) into the soil. The roots have more lateral growth though, often reaching 24 inches (60 cm) in diameter, with the plant at the center. This can vary by a few inches, depending on the blackberry variety.
- Blackberry roots grow to a depth of 12-inches (30 cm).
- Your blackberry’s roots will grow to 24 inches (60 cm) in diameter.
- Make sure your berry bushes grow in ideal soil conditions with plenty of water.
Blackberry plants only grow deep roots successfully in acidic soil. Be sure to keep the roots moist by providing the ideal amount of water for blackberry bushes. Though they may need more water in dry weather conditions. This will produce the best growth conditions for your berry bushes.
How Big Do Blackberry Bushes Get?
Most types of blackberries will grow around 3-4 feet tall (1–1.2 meters), though erect types grow taller in ideal conditions. 6 feet (1.8 meters) tends to be around the peak height, but there are some that grow even taller than that. You will need regular pruning sessions to maintain your berry bushes’ growth.
- Blackberry bushes average 3-4 feet tall (1–1.2 meters).
- Some blackberries can grow as tall as 6 feet (1.8 meters).
- Be sure to provide fertilizer and mulch to help ensure proper growth.
Berry bushes need a lot of nutrients to grow well. Use this berry fertilizer to ensure the best crop yields from your berry bushes. On top of this, it’s a good idea to provide a single layer of organic matter (such as bark chips, cocoa hulls, or coconut coir) on the soil surface as mulch. This layer of mulch will insulate your berry bushes from colder temperatures and help retain soil moisture.
Do Blackberries Need a Trellis?
Many berry bushes need trellis support and trailing blackberries are no exception. Erect blackberries can do without trellising but even they can benefit from the presence of a trellis. Trellising helps reduce fruit damage from high winds and keeps canes from sinking to the ground. This means that you’ll get more ripe blackberries with a trellis. Follow our guide to growing blackberries on a trellis.
- All blackberry varieties will benefit from trellising.
- Trailing blackberries always need a trellis.
- Erect blackberries can be grown without a trellis, but can still benefit from one
- Trellising your blackberries leads to increased fruit production and easy harvesting.
Blackberries grown on the trellis produce more fruit that is more easily picked. Additionally, because a trellis elevates the blackberry canes, it keeps dirt out of contact with moist soil that can cause berry rot and attract insects. You’ll get more berries and have an easier time picking them if you grow your blackberries on a trellis.
How Quickly Do Blackberry Bushes Grow?
Blackberries grow extremely quickly. Individual canes experience all of their vertical growth within their first year of life, then produce fruit in their second year. Here are a few key points to remember when growing blackberry plants:
- Berry bushes experience around 6 feet (1.8 meters) of first-year growth.
- Most gardeners prune blackberries back to 3-4 feet tall (1–1.2 meters).
- Blackberries grow 12-inch deep (30 cm) roots that sprout 24 inches (60 cm) wide.
- Because blackberries grow so tall, all varieties benefit from trellising.
Don’t forget to provide all the essential nutrients, watering, and temperature needs for your berries. So long as you provide ideal conditions, your berries will shoot up in no time. Then, by the second year of your new plant’s life, you’ll be harvesting a crop of berries.