Thornless Blackberries: Everything You Need to Know

Help your thornless blackberry plants thrive with these tips.

If you’re ready to start growing your own food in a backyard garden, it makes sense you might choose to start with Doyle’s Thornless Blackberry™ bushes. These plants are not only relatively easy to grow, but they also offer big rewards for those willing to do the work. Here’s everything you need to know to grow a healthy thornless blackberry plant at home.

  1. Plant Properly

    The first step to helping your thornless blackberry plants thrive is understanding the importance of good drainage. Everything else comes secondary. Start by tilling the entire row where you plan to plant your blackberry bush. This results in better drainage than simply digging a hole. Space the plants 8 feet apart in the row and 6 feet apart between rows. Plant your thornless blackberries any time between the last freeze in spring and before the first freeze in fall. Generally, a grape-type trellis is best for supporting a mature plant, which will get five canes that grow up to 40 feet long.

  2. Secure Sun and Support

    Thornless blackberries grow best when planted in a sunny spot with a minimum of six hours of sunlight per day. These berries also crave support. When constructing the grape-type trellis mentioned above, use 12-gage wire at the 3- and 6-foot markers, as well as in between. Tie the primary canes along the bottom wire using binder twine or plastic berry clips, the latter of which can be reused for several seasons. With primaries along the bottom, laterals are free to grow toward the sun. Arrange them so they get maximum sunlight by tying them as you did the primaries.

  3. Choose Drip Irrigation

    While Doyle’s Thornless Blackberry™ bushes can be irrigated using flood, furrow, sprinkler or drip irrigation systems, drip is the best. Gardeners tend to prefer sprinklers because they are less expensive and easy to use, but weeds and foliar diseases are far more prevalent as a result. Drip irrigation is the most efficient and consistent way to water and fertilize your blackberry plants. The water in these systems is confined to the root area, which minimizes weeds. Be sure to watch out for critters and cultivate with care, as both run the risk of disrupting the drip system. The plants need 1 inch of water per week. This equates to a half-gallon of water per week. Double this during berry production.

  4. Don’t Get Discouraged

    The first year with thornless blackberry plants is always the hardest, as the bush is still maturing. Most plants produce far better in the second year. If you only get a few berries that first season, take heart. Your plant is gearing up to produce significantly more blackberries next time. Keep up the care and you’ll be drowning in blackberry goodness before you know it.