It is easy and rewarding to produce your own blackberries from plants in your backyard. From those berries, you can make blackberry cobblers, pies, jelly, and preserves.
- Select a sunny spot in your yard that will blend into your landscape. It should be at least three feet wide and as long as you need to accommodate the number of plants that you desire. The plants should be spaced about three feet apart.
- Remove sod, spade up the area, and mix peat moss or compost into the soil.
- Select the varieties you desire: Arapaho and Apache are good for Northeast Texas, as they require only the low chilling hours that our area can offer. They are self pollinating, so one variety is all that is necessary. Plant at the same depth as they grew in the nursery and mulch to conserve moisture.
- Blackberries bear on last year’s canes. After picking the berries, you should prune the bearing canes to the ground. The new canes (this year’s) should be pruned to a four-foot height. This pruning forces the plants to grow side branches, which will bear next year’s crop. These lateral branches should be cut back to twelve inches during the winter..
- Trellises are not necessary as the canes are erect and, when shortened to a four-foot height, will stand on their own and make a neat hedge.
Max S. Sheehey, former Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service