Care & Maintenance

Blackberry Care & Maintenance

Brambles in a back yard raised bed with trellis
Space Requirements

Brambles need plenty of space to expand their roots. Raised beds are ideal for home garden plantings. Plan on keeping plants about five to six feet apart to allow sufficient space, however different blackberry varieties have different spacing requirements so you should always reference the plant label for your specific variety. A single plant, well cared for, can produce 10-20 pounds of fruit per season!


Brambles should be planted away from frost pockets on a north slope or on the north side of a wind break. A soil pH of 5.8 – 6.5 should try to be attained, and full sun exposure is desirable. These plants should be planted in early spring. Spacing requirements vary depending on the variety. You can purchase blackberries as either containerized or bare-rooted stock. If your stock is bare-rooted, be sure to shake the packing material off the roots and place the plant into a bucket of water for several hours. It is very important to not let your plant roots dry out.

Soil Preparation

Since brambles come back year after year, it is worthwhile to spend the time preparing the soil correctly. Brambles grow best in fertile, well-drained, slightly acidic soil. It is recommended to add a two inch layer of compost and a two inch layer of soil conditioner to your planting site. Work these into the soil to a depth of eight to ten inches.


If there is a dry spell in your area (10+ days with no rainfall), 1-1.5 inches of water per week should be used to water your plants. If soil in which plants are growing is sandy or loamy, more water is required. Supplemental watering should be practiced during blossoming, fruit ripening, and fall flower bud development, as these processes require more water.

Light Requirements

Brambles tolerate some shade, however, they do best in full sunlight. They grow the best if placed in an area that receives at least six to eight hours of sunlight. Ideal areas would be away from tall trees and buildings.

Post Planting Care

Blackberries grow either as upright or trailing canes. If space is not an issue, they can be allowed to grow freely. However, with this type of free growth, they often become tangled, causing only berries that grow on the edges to be the only ones accessible. Training the canes can be labor intensive, but it can help increase the ease of harvesting by keeping the plant neat.



Do It Yourself Network – “How to Plant Blackberries!”

Arbor Day Foundation – “Blackberry Planting, Care, Pruning & Harvesting Instructions”

The Old Farmer’s Almanac – “Growing Blackberries”

San Francisco Gate – “How Much Sun Does a Blackberry Plant Need?”