Require full sun, well drained soil, and good air circulation. Avoid sites, where tomato, peppers, eggplants, and potatoes were grown. Destroy wild brambles growing nearby as they may harbor insect pests, and diseases. They do well in soil pH of 5.5 to 7.0. Roots of blackberries are perennial and canes biennial. Primocanes – first year canes, and floricanes – two-year-old canes.
Prepare the land at least one year before planting. Eliminate all perennial weeds and grasses, test the soil and make pH and fertility adjustments. Add well-rotted manure or compost to improve the organic matter content of the soil. Select cultivars that are adapted to your area (Information available from your local Cooperative Extension office). Locate reputable and certified nurserieswhere you can get one-year-old plants that are virus-free, disease-free and true-to-name. Planting need to be done in early spring as soon as the ground can be worked. When plants are ordered from out-of-state nurseries, open the package, inspect the plants. Heel-in plants by digging shallow trench in a sheltered location and covering the roots with soil until the weather conditions are suitable for planting or store plants in refrigerator while awaiting for weather conditions suitable for planting.
Space erect cultivars 4 to 6 ft apart and trailing cultivars 4 to 10 ft apart. You can plant in a hill or hedgerow system. Plant at the same depth as they were in the nursery. Cut the canes on newly set plants to 6 inches. It is advisable to provide support for blackberries. Protect canes of trailing blackberries during winter by covering with soil or straw in fall after they become dormant. Fertilizers need to be applied to the site before planting based on soil test. Apply 15-20 pounds of 10-10-10 per 1000 square feet in early spring before the new growth begins.
Pruning erect blackberries- In spring, remove dead, weak canes. In summer remove the top three inches of the cane (pinching or topping), and remove fruiting canes immediately after harvest.– In spring, remove dead, weak canes and selecting 8-16 canes for tying. If stakes are used for support, canes are wrapped around the stake, tied and cut to the height of the stake. In summer remove fruiting canes immediately after harvest.
Select cultivars that are adapted to zone 5.
Additional pests and problems that may affect this plant:Insect pests:
Plant brambles away from conifers, woods or fencerows, wild brambles. Varieties resistant to aphids, weed control, pruning, and harvesting on time. Plant virus and disease-free seedlings, and plant resistant varieties. Brambles need well-drained soils, good air circulation, and do not plant close to existing bramble plantings.