How to Grow Thornless Blackberries

Tips and tricks to help your thornless blackberries thrive.

While growing your own fruit can be rewarding (and delicious!), there’s more to learning how to grow thornless blackberries than meets the eye. Here are a few things that you’ll want to keep in mind to get the most fruit from your shrubs.

  1. Proper Care Increases Yields. Growing high-yield Doyle Thornless Blackberry™ bushes begins with nutrient-rich, well-drained soil with a pH of 5 to 6.5. There should be at least 6 feet of space between plants, with trailing varieties spaced 8 feet apart. These blackberry plants love full sun but will thrive in partial shade with six hours of direct sunlight minimum. Thornless blackberries grow in a range of climates, but they do require about 250 chill hours. Doyle Thornless Blackberry™ plants live through single-digit temperatures easily and have survived in temps as low as -25. The thornless blackberry plant requires a trellis system. There are two methods: the grape-type trellis and the fan-type trellis. Either trellis helps to stimulate growth by enabling airflow and sunlight reach all parts of the plant.
  2. Water and Feed with Care. Doyle Thornless Blackberry™ plants require an abundance of water. If rainfall in not enough, provide the irrigation equivalent of 1 inch of water per week. Mature plants require a pint of water per day while the berries develop. Mulching is helpful for reducing water loss and minimizing the weeds and grasses that compete for plant nutrition. Good mulching materials include pine straw, wood chips and seed-free grain mulches. For best results, fertilize the thornless blackberry plants with Doyle’s Organic 4-4-4 formula in early spring during growth and again three weeks after flowering starts.
  3. Prune Properly. Let the Doyle Thornless Blackberry™ canes grow to full length. Tipping the primaries at any length will cause the laterals to grow longer, but total plant and fruit production will remain the same. After the plant has fruited, the two-year-old canes will die and need to be removed to give the new canes better access to sunlight. Prune in the spring for fewer cutting errors and best results. The plant recovers nitrogen from the dying canes to use for fall growth.

There’s never been a better time to start gardening and producing your own fruit and vegetables. Armed with these tips, you’ll increase your confidence about how to grow thornless blackberry plants. We think you’ll soon discover that the sweetest, most delicious berries are always the ones you plant and pick yourself.