Blackberries are more dependable in central and southern Illinois than in northern Illinois due to winter damage problems. If you really want to try them in northern Illinois, look for the variety 'Illini Hardy,' and try new fall bearing varieties like 'Prime Jan' and 'Prime Jim.' Plant in a location with well-drained soil and full sun. Do not plant on a site where verticillium wilt was a problem. Destroy any wild brambles as they harbor pests and diseases that attacks blackberry. Plant erect blackberry types 4 to 6-ft apart in a hedgerow. Remove the tips of the canes in spring to stimulate growth of lateral branches. Prune dead, weak and overcrowded canes during the dormant season. Suggested blackberry cultivars for central are: Thornless- 'Chester,' and Thorny - 'Illini Hardy;' and southern Illinois are: Thornless - 'Hull,' 'Chester,' 'Triple Crown,' and 'Arapahoe.' Thorny - 'Choctaw,' 'Cheyenne,' 'Illini Hardy,' and 'Shawnee.'