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Blackberry

Our Thornless Blackberry (Rubus sp.) is an unknown variety. It shoots from the crown, so is not likely to spread or be weedy like the wild types. It is also mostly erect and probably won’t need trellising.

Soil: Wild blackberries excel at colonizing our poor, and extremely acidic sands in North Florida, however most recommendations I can find for cultivated varieties recommend addition of organic matter, and liming up to a pH of 5.5-6.5. Fertilizing is optional, and should be done with manure, or very lightly if you use synthetics.
Water: Blackberries flower and ripen during our spring dry season. Irrigation is necessary during most years for successful fruit production, even for wild berries. Continued irrigation during dry periods, will probably improve growth and bud production for next year’s season.
Sun: full sun to part shade.
Cold: These blackberries can take all the cold that North Florida can throw at them.
Pruning: Blackberries fruit on the second year cane, called the floricane. It should be removed soon after fruiting to help with disease control. It would die soon anyway. The first year cane, called primacane will emerge from the root crown approximately at that time. If it is especially vigorous, the tip should be clipped at 30-36 inches in height to encourage lateral branching. This increases productivity and reduces trellis needs.
Propagation: Propagation is easily accomplished by root cuttings taken in the winter. Look for thick roots (used for energy storage). Clip them off about 4-6 inches long, leaving the majority of feeder roots attached to the parent plant. Bury the root clippings a few inches down in the spot for the new plant, or in a pot. Shoots will emerge from the buried root any time from April-June. Removing a plant’s storage roots during the winter will reduce its productivity in the coming season.
Pests: Some pests eat blackberries but they are usually not a significant problem
Other problems: Weeds can be a difficult problem to overcome, especially the perennial ones. Mulch can reduce annual weed seed germination, but you’re probably going to have to hand-weed regularly.

Harvesting, storage, and preparation: Hand harvest and eat or use in baking. Storage can be accomplished for the short term by refrigeration, or long term by freezing/canning/jam.

Additional references: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/HS104

Blackberry1

More photos on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/search?sort=relevance&text=Thornless%20Blackberry

 pdf – Information sheet to print out


 

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