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Thornless Blackberries

Thornless Blackberries

Blackberries are delicious little fruits, but there is one problem in reaching them. Thorns. It is not very pleasant getting struck by prickly thorns while picking them. A solution to this problem is to grow thornless blackberries in your garden. Here's a look into how you can go about it.
Gardenerdy Staff
Blackberries belong to the Rubus genus of the Rosaceae family. They are high on the nutritional quotient. Jams and desserts, jellies and even wines, blackberries are primary ingredients of several food products. These fruits, though called berries, are not true berries. There are different types of berries and blackberries are aggregate fruit made of small druplets. The thornless variety is known to produce sweeter, juicier, and even bigger berries than traditional blackberry plants.

Thornless Blackberry Varieties
There are different varieties that you can grow in your garden. Some of these are as follows:
  • Chester
  • Natchez
  • Thornless Ouachita
  • Thornless triple crown
  • Thornless Navaho (Patent #6679)
  • Thornless Apache (Patented)
Growing Thornless Blackberries
The thornless blackberries on sale today are hardy plants that can grow in almost any gardening zone and are even cold hardy. You should be looking for these plants in your local plant nursery or online that are marked hardy for your garden zone. Even if you do not find one that suits your zone, other varieties will have no problem growing your garden. They too will produce plenty of berries that are just as tasty as the traditional varieties. When you are growing thornless blackberries, select a location in your garden that receives plenty of sunlight. The soil should have a pH of about 5.5 to 7.0. The ideal pH for these plants is 6.0. Choose soil that is well-drained and plant the blackberries about 3 to 4 feet apart.

Blackberry bushes cannot grow without support; therefore, you need to build a trellis or support. If you have an existing fence, then you can grow these plants against them. If not, then you can use wooden poles, PVC pipes, etc. to help give them support when growing. You can allow them to trail along the soil. However, little rodents and other garden pests can easily eat up your berries before you even have a chance to taste them. Add compost to the planting hole and water the plant regularly. This needs to be done till the root system is properly established. Mulching should be carried out to retain moisture and keep away weeds. Take good care and you will be rewarded with plenty of juicy, large berries from the second year onwards. You will find bright pink flowers blooming on the plants. These flowers will soon be pollinated and produce tasty berries.

How to Prune Thornless Blackberries
Like every other plant, pruning is an important part of their care. Prune the plants in summer. Prune the dead and broken canes. When you are left with about 8 canes after removing all the dead ones, select the best and the strongest 4 canes. Then, the ones that are not so strong should be pruned to the ground. The vegetative canes (primocanes) should be pruned down to about 30 inches in June or July. Once the fruits are harvested, you should remove all the floricanes that bore fruit. You should also cut the side shoots to about 12 inches in early spring.

These are biennial plants and, therefore, produce fruit in their second year. They say thornless varieties produce larger berries than traditional varieties. They are also juicier and sweeter. And the best part is, you do not need to wear an armor when pruning or plucking.
Evergreen Thornless blackberry branch with black and red berries