Blackberries are easy for the home gardener to grow, and they grow in most areas of Texas (in USDA Hardiness zones 7,8 or 9). Excellent erect varieties include Brazos, Rosborough, Womack, Choctaw, Brison, Arapaho (thornless), and Navaho (thornless). Blackberries are biennials and bear fruit on second year growth. Prima canes are produced during the first year, and they should be pruned when they reach 36 to 48 inches high to encourage branching. At the end of the growing season, apply a patch of brightly colored paint to the bottom of the prima canes that grew during that season. This will mark next year’s fruit bearing canes (called floricanes) for easy removal after their second growing and fruit-producing season. The floricanes will bloom in March, and the fruit ripens in May. At the end of the season remove the marked canes and apply the paint to that season’s prima canes. Repeat each year for carefree maintenance of your blackberry plants.
Gary Graham, former Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service