Blackberry Tree or Blackberry Bush? How To Grow Blackberries, Care & ID Tip

Bear wearing a napkin around his neck looks at a number of blackberry tree bushes about to eat, and wonders how to grow blackberries.

Is it a Blackberry tree or Blackberry bush?

Technically, the blackberry plant is a small shrub, that grows in trailing vines. Because of the ‘bark,’ it can be called a tree, but many people just call the brambles.

The cardinal rule of planting a Blackberry is to remember that while practicing patience can be bitter, the fruits of your labor will be “berry,” sweet. In fact, owning a Blackberry Tree is a relatively low-maintenance plants but can offer you a visually attractive garden or landscape.

This complete guide explains everything you need to know about a Blackberry tree and how to ensure that you get the most luscious fruits every year.

Blackberry Tree Overview

The Blackberry is arguably one of the most popular and profitable fruits in the commercial food industry. You probably eat blackberries or blackberry-derived ingredients in your food often without realizing it.

The Blackberry fruit is mostly comprised of water. A blackberry contains anywhere between 80% to 88% water.11

But it is nutrient-rich. Blackberries contain appreciable levels of Vitamin K, potassium, Vitamin C, and fiber, and are full of health-beneficial and age-defying antioxidants.

Blackberries are usually the main ingredient in food products that are labeled as containing berries. Blackberries are essential ingredients in fruit drinks, candies, pies and pastry products, candies, jams, spreads, flavoring additives, soft beverages, alcoholic drinks, and more.

The Blackberry was even used in the ancient world as a medicinal plant. Stomach ulcers were treated with medicine derived from blackberries as late as the 18th century in the annals of medical history.12

Most importantly, you could harvest anywhere between 11 and 20 pounds of blackberry fruit every harvesting season.1

But nothing in life is ever that easy. The “Blackberry,” is actually a deceptively named fruit. If you don’t prune it correctly it becomes a thorn-like weed or vine (thus the result of wild blackberries being in brambles).

And there are about 400 species of berries. You should plant a Blackberry cultivar species bare root plant or nursery transplant relative to your needs.

The Blackberry Tree is considered a nuisance plant in many parts of the United States and the world.

Here are some basic facts about the Blackberry Tree and Blackberry bushes that you should be aware of.

Blackberry Tree Basic Data

The greatest benefit of planting and owning a Blackberry Tree is the ability to harvest plentiful fruit, gain health benefits, and even become enterprising.

Closeup of Blackberry Tree showing canes with white flowers and green leaves.

After all, you could start your own small business with a proprietary purpose and a good business plan to utilize your harvest, depending on how many Blackberry Trees you plant.

After all, the commercial fruit industry finds harvesting blackberries to be very profitable. Blackberry fruit is cultivated, grown, and harvested in over 35 American states.

But Oregon is the top state for growing blackberries for commercial purposes.

It’s no accident if you have ever noticed that blackberries and blackberry-derived products seemed to be more popular and promoted a lot more.

The commercial planting, harvesting, and production of blackberry-derived products and affiliated marketing and promotion campaigns have more than tripled within the last 10 years.2

In 2017, the state of Oregon alone produced and processed over 40 million pounds of blackberries and blackberry-derived products.3

The commercial Blackberry fruit in the United States had a value of $31 million in 2017.

Americans love blackberries so much that the United States imports blackberries from Mexico and Europe during the winter months.

Mexico exports 75% of the blackberries that Americans consume during the winter months.

Mexico is the global leader in growing, producing, and exporting blackberries.

Even though the Blackberry fruit industry is a booming market in the United States, 97% of the blackberry market share in the United States in-season and especially during the much colder out-of-season was dominated by Mexico in 2017.12

Blackberries grow as shrubs in the wild. You may have driven past them on highways or walked past them in nature only if you noticed the signature fruit.

If multi-billion dollar corporations can reap such benefits from blackberries, why can’t you?

While trees that fruit blackberries do exist, blackberries are more commonly grown on shrubs and canes, or vines. Blackberries are sometimes referred to as a cane berry in this context.

Another benefit of growing Blackberries is the fact that the shrubs are excellent carbon-sequestration engines.

If you were to plant hundreds or thousands of shrubs in an area measuring 2.5 acres, then your shrubs could sequester up to 15 tons of CO2 annually.4

A cluster of white blackberry flowers with yellow stamens, surrounded by vibrant green leaves.

Still, the Blackberry Tree can be a confusing plant to ponder. For one thing, Blackberries are not actually berries.

They are technically an aggregation of drupelets, not berries. (More on that later.)

Blackberries usually manifest themselves as growth in shrubbery and canes (vines) more than on trees. And while there are trees that fruit blackberries, blackberries grow a lot quicker on shrubs and canes.

While this comprehensive guide may interchangeably use the terms Blackberry Tree or Blackberry Shrub, they are essentially the same thing. After all, a tree is just a plant 13 feet or taller with bark-covered and girthy woody growth.

While Blackberries require relatively low-maintenance duties from you as a gardener, they still require attention. Totally neglecting your gardening duties with Blackberries will give you a host of problems.

While Blackberry shrubs will provide you with pounds of fruit every season, the fruit is highly perishable. You must pick Blackberry fruit strategically for them to ripen properly.

And they are very perishable.

So, you must use them or store immediately them after picking them or risk wasting all your effort and maintenance sacrifice growing them.

Blackberry stems or vines feature prickly protuberances called “prickles,” even though they look like thorns.

If you don’t strategically cut and prune certain stems or canes every season, then your Blackberry shrub will become a prickly invasive weed.

Blackberry weeds are considered invasive weeds and nuisance plants in many American states and countries.

Additionally, because there are hundreds of Blackberry species and sub-variant species, certain Blackberry species are confusingly grouped together. Or one species is mistaken for another.

You will find everything you need to know about growing Blackberries, how to identify them, care for them, and much more in this comprehensive guide.

Blackberry Tree and Blackberry Shrub Basics

Blackberry Tree

(Rubus laciniatus (Evergreen Blackberry), Rubus fruticosus, or Rubus Hybrid)

Blackberry Tree in oval frame on green background.
  • Family: Rosaceae
  • Genus: Rubus
  • Leaf: Palmately, Pinnately, Bipinnately, prickly, and green-colored
  • Bark: Green or wood-colored
  • Seed: Nutrient-rich and edible seeds
  • Blossoms: April to May (Varies according to species)
  • Fruit: Aggregate drupelets
  • Native Habitat: Native to virtually every continent except Antarctica and Australia
  • Height: A Blackberry bush grows anywhere between three feet to six feet in height; the Blackberry Tree grows anywhere between 15 to 100 feet in height depending on the species
  • Canopy: Eight to 30 feet wide
  • Type: Deciduous or Evergreen depending on species, Perennial and biennial

What Is the Blackberries Growing Zone?

Most common Blackberry species grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 8.13 However, there are literally hundreds of Blackberry species, hybrids, and cultivars.

The optimal Blackberry USDA growing zone relative to your growing needs will vary according to the particular species.

Blackberry Canes

Blackberries are edible fruits that grow on shrubs,14 brambles, wild thickets, vine-like stems called canes, and even some species of trees.

They are usually found growing in the wild in brushlands, woodlands, on the sides of highways, and on grassland clearings.

It’s important to understand that there is no one kind of Blackberry fruit. There are hundreds and technically over a thousand distinct kinds of Blackberry and Blackberry variants.

This is the truth when you consider every genus, family, sub-family variant, and affiliated hybrid variant species.

The Blackberry species has so many species, sub-species variants, and hybridized variants that there is no way to call one species the prime species.

Even though the blackberry is an ancient fruit, the modern blackberry that you take for granted as ubiquitous now was experimented on, heavily hybridized, and developed into numerous cultivars by American scientists mainly in the late 19th century.12

As you will learn later in this guide, wild and untamed Blackberry shrubs and brambles develop pronounced thorns which are technically called prickles. But scientists created thornless Blackberry species, hybrids, and cultivars by the early 1920s.

However, these thornless Blackberry variants sacrificed degrees of sweet flavors for the benefit of thornless canes.

The Blackberry is a perennial shrub that offshoots biennial stems from its perennial roots system. A perennial is a plant that usually only lives for a two-year life cycle.15

Its stems and leaves die off in winter weather while the root ball and system go dormant.

But the root grows new stems and it grows anew every spring.

The Blackberry shrub is also known as a biennial because its stems,16 more appropriately known as canes, live for two-season intervals. The first year’s cane growth is called a primocane – this is a vegetative-state period of growth.

A dense blackberry bushes, with their dark, thorny branches and vibrant green leaves.

The primocane transforms into floricanes in the second year of growth – it is the floricanes that blossom flowers and bear fruit.

In other words, fruits and flowers typically appear on the canes that grew in the previous season. After blossoming flowers and fruiting, the floricane will either die or promote the growth of prickly canes that turn the plant into a bramble, depending on the species.

Primocanes are green-colored. Floricanes are red, brownish, or wood-colored and weathered-looking.

You can plant a Blackberry Tree on your landscape, or a tree that fruits blackberries, but it would take years to grow. You will experience bountiful fruit yield much sooner by planting Blackberry shrubs.

However, because there are so many various species, hybrids, and cultivars of Blackberries, the Blackberry shrub can grow in particular ways that require strategic pre-planting preparation.

Blackberry shrubs can grow in erect, semi-erect, and trailing manners that may require pre-prepared support systems to facilitate optimum growing conditions.

You can plant Blackberry bushes with seeds, cuttings, cultivars, and bare roots. As long as the ground is not frozen or too frosty, you can plant Blackberry bushes.

What Is the Best Method For Growing Blackberries From a Seed?

To grow Blackberries from seed is a time-consuming process. You need to place a seed in a container or bag with peat moss, water it, and then place it in your fridge for three or four months. Then you have to transplant the seedling to a nursery and then plant it.

Blackberries Growth Rate

It will take about two seasons for you to grow Blackberries from a Blackberry shrub.

Even though growing a Blackberry Tree or shrub does require some strategic maintenance practices, it is really not that much of a chore if you enjoy gardening. Blackberry shrubs and brambles will grow despite you.

Blackberry Trees and shrubs can thrive in less-than-ideal soil conditions as long as they have six hours of direct sunlight exposure and well-draining soil. Your Blackberry growing efforts will benefit from planting them in a mix of fertilized or nutrient-rich compost soil

However, the rate of growth of your Blackberry shrubs or plants is more readily determined by the cultivar you choose and the trellis or support system used to help it grow.

A trellis is any garden support structure that you plant near your plant or shrub to help it grow vertically. Some Blackberry species, hybrids, and cultivars grow as canes, or vine-like growths that grow vertically a few feet, arch, and then trail the ground.

A white blackberry blossoms with yellow centers, set against a backdrop of lush green leaves.

As the Blackberry bush grows, you can loop it in the trellis or gently tie it to it to guide its growth to move vertically.

There are three main kinds of hybridized Blackberry species, which can be thorny or thornless depending on the cultivar:

  • Erect
  • Semi-erect
  • Trailing

An erect Blackberry shrub can grow to be a few feet and up to ten feet in height. The stems and branches of an erect Blackberry bush will support its own growth and do not require the support of a trellis, “T” trellis, or guided growth.

Semi-erect Blackberry bushes feature canes that grow up vertically for a few feet but will either arch downward or fall over from their weight or the wind. Semi-erect Blackberry bushes require trellis support.

Trailing Blackberry bushes definitely require trellis support to grow. Otherwise, the stems will grow out like vines, sprawl, and creep along the ground as they grow, and cause uncontrolled weed-like growth and expansion.

Trailing Blackberry bushes do not handle cold weather as well as the erect and semi-erect species.

Blackberry shrubs can live and produce fruit for anywhere between 15 to 40 years,17 depending on maintenance, pest control standards, and local ecological conditions.

How Far Apart To Plant Blackberry Canes

Planting multiple Blackberry plants will ensure that you produce bountiful harvests, but give each plant a wide berth. Blackberry plants are invasive weeds that can rapidly grow out of control.

Each Blackberry plant should be spaced at least six feet away from each other.

If you plan on planting multiple Blackberry plant rows, then make sure that each row is separated by at least 12 feet of space.17

What Does a Blackberry Bush Look Like?

A Blackberry bush or shrub looks like a dense patch of impassable and thorny thickets in the wild. The stems or branches may stand upright or fold over and arch down to the ground while looping and intertwining with each other.

Image of Blackberry bush with a lot of leaves and fruits.

(Image: Matthew Hurst28)

Wild Blackberry bushes may have fruit growing on them, but they won’t produce as much fruit as one that is tended to and pruned by a gardener.

How To Identify Blackberries

Blackberries grow on bushes and brambles and resemble darker-colored raspberries. Like raspberries, Blackberries are not actually berries. (More on that later.)

A Blackberry is an aggregation or a collective bunch of tiny fruits called, “drupelets,” that are connected and held together by tiny hairs.

Unfortunately, unripe Blackberries are whitish-pink or red in color. Blackberries are ripe when they turn completely black.

“Green,” or very unripe Blackberries are always red.

So, how can you differentiate between a red, or unripe Blackberry, from a raspberry?

Blackberry Tree identification chart showing blackberry leaves, blackberry flowers, blackberry fruit, and blackberry bark images in circle frames on a green background

If you have ever eaten or cut a raspberry in half, you will notice that the center of it is always hollow. The stem, also known as a “torus,” stays on the plant and hollows out the core of the raspberry as you pick it.

When you pick a blackberry, the torus stays within the fruit. Blackberries do not have hollow cores because the edible torus stays with them.

The top of the torus peeking out from where it was separated from the stem should be white-colored.

Blackberry Tree Leaves

Blackberry leaves typically alternate in growth along the stem or cane of the plant. The leaves present themselves visually in three to five leaflets that are bipinnately, pinnately, or palmately.

They are also fuzzy with tiny hairs, prickly, green-colored, and feature serrated edges.

Blackberry Tree Flower

The blossoms that bloom on Blackberry bushes can be either white or pink flowers. They can have four or five petals and usually bloom in spring or summer.

Closeup of Blackberry Tree showing white flowers with yellow anthers and green leaves.

Remember, the flowers of the Blackberry plant typically appear in the second year and are red or brown-colored floricane, not the green-colored first-year primocane.

Related Reading: 115 Types of White Flowers: Names of Tiny Flowers, White Flowers By Season

Blackberry Tree Seeds

Blackberry seeds are tiny and are in the center of each Blackberry bunch segment.

Blackberry Bramble

Blackberry shrubs are really a kind of bramble.18 A bramble is an unpruned and wild thicket of shrubs that grow long and prickly canes that curve and loop into each other.

Brambles root easily and promote the growth of suckers, or tiny basal shoots that grow from the root and facilitate uncontrolled propagation of the plant.

Bramble fruits don’t grow as much fruit as well-maintained and pruned fruits, but you will find dewberries, blackberries, and raspberries growing wild on brambles. When you see blackberries growing wild on prickly shrubs in the wild on highway roadsides, then they are technically Blackberry brambles, not bushes.

Blackberry Fruit: Is It a Berry?

Stay focused on this part of the guide, because it is going to get a little confusing.

Closeup of Blackberry Tree showing red and black fruits, green leaves with serrated edge, and stems with tiny thorns.

(Image: photoscene29)

Blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries are not actually berries.5 A Blackberry is an aggregation or collection of drupelets, a tiny version of a drupe.

A drupe is a fruit with pulp that has a stony-like covered seed in the center.

A Blackberry is a tiny version of the drupe or stone fruit in aggregate collective hive form – the tiny drupelets are held together by tiny hairs.

Blackberries are more closely related to mangoes, peaches, olives, cherries, dates, avocados, and apricots than berries. In the botanical sense, you can’t classify a blackberry as a berry.6

However, these fruits can actually be classified as berries when you consider the scientific and botanical definitions:

  • Watermelon
  • Oranges
  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Tomatoes
  • Kiwis
  • Bell peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant

So, what gives?

The confusion stems from rigid and unmoving scientific conditions and classifications of whether a fruit is a berry or not. A Blackberry is a fruit, not a vegetable, but it just is not a berry.

Meanwhile, contrary to popular belief a tomato is not a vegetable. It is a fruit and technically a berry.

Here is the simple breakdown of what makes a berry and why a blackberry does not qualify as a berry:19

A berry is a fruit that grows from the single ovary of a flower. Berries feature more than one seed and have fleshy pulp.

It must also have been developed from the single ovary of a flower.

The entirety of the components that make up a berry is called a pericarp.

A berry’s pericarp must have three basic components to be considered a berry: an exocarp, a mesocarp, and an endocarp. The “carp,” suffix is a reference to “carpel,” which is one of the female reproductive components in a flower.

The exocarp is the outer rind or skin of the berry. Think of a banana or watermelon rind.

The mesocarp is the interior fleshy pulp that is eaten – think of banana flesh or the pulp of an orange.

A Blackberry is not a berry because it has only one seed and was developed from a flower with more than one ovary.

Take a look at a Blackberry – each of those tiny fruits is a drupelet with one edible seed in the middle of it. It is not one fruit.

The interior seed is an endocarp, a housing that contains the seed in the middle.

A single blackberry or raspberry drupelet has one seed each – they look like bigger, one-unit fruits because they are a collective aggregate of drupelet sub-units held together by tiny fruit hairs.

A cherry, mango, olive, peach, and other similar dupes, have a stony seed center.

The endocarp in a raspberry or blackberry is more like a membrane than a hard shell like in the case of mangoes, peaches, or cherries.

Watermelons, bananas, kiwis, eggplant, oranges, and so on, have multiple seeds and so qualify as berries – along with the fact that they develop from a flower with a sole ovary.

Confusing huh? Well, there is not much that can be done to clarify the issue more presently.

The genus classification for Blackberries is Rubus. Blackberries are related to loganberries, raspberries, and dewberries.

There are about 400 species of Blackberries and related variants in the Rubus genus.

Blackberries also belong to the Rosaceae family, which includes cherries, apples, apricots, roses, and plums, amongst other species.

The Rosoideae sub-family of plants in the Rosaceae family tree features hundreds of more Blackberries and Rosaceae family subvariants.

So, there are almost 1,400 distinct and separate species of Blackberries. This has caused scientists a lot of confusion when it comes to classifying and naming species of Blackberries.

Many Blackberry species are mistaken for one another or mistakenly grouped together in the same species classifications.

Why is there so much classification chaos when it comes to naming what is a berry and what is not?

Human beings have been calling small, squishy, and berry-looking fruits “berries,” for thousands of years, if not longer, long before the advent of modern science.

The names for various berries have stuck and people keep using the names, no matter how much science tries to clarify the stance.

Blackberry Tree or Bush? (Or Blackberry Plant?)

A “Blackberry Tree,” is kind of a misnomer; blackberries mainly grow on shrubs and canes, which are stem-like vines. There are particular trees which grow Blackberry fruit.

Closeup of Blackberry Tree showing canes with green leaves and clusters of white flowers.

It is much more apt to use the term “Blackberry shrub,” when referring to Blackberries.

However, the terms Blackberry Tree and Blackberry shrub are used interchangeably because the blackberry is an ancient and rather confusing fruit.

Some experts think that there is a distinction between Blackberry plants, bushes, and trees separately. For the purposes of this Blackberry guide, a Blackberry plant and shrub are essentially the same things unless species, hybrids, and cultivars are considered.

What Are Some Mulberry Tree vs Blackberry Bush Differences?

Mulberry Trees produce drupelet fruits that look very similar to Blackberries. However, mulberries look like elongated blackberries – they have a shape that looks aesthetically similar to pine cones.

Blackberries are shorter and nugget sized.

What Are the Best Growing Zones for Blackberries? (Where To Grow)

It really varies according to the species, cultivar, or hybrid. There are some Blackberry species that are specifically cultivated to withstand cold and frosty weather, even though most common Blackberry species die while the roots go dormant in winter.

Consider where you live, and your gardening schedule, and pick an appropriate Blackberry species relative to your gardening needs before planting.8

Blackberry Tree Facts

A Blackberry Tree is usually a shrub or really a tall shrub that grows to the height of the tree and develops fruits that are related to or resemble Blackberries.

For the sake of classification purposes, a tree is just another name for a plant that develops woody and girthy interior growth exponentially from the center and exceeds a height of at least 13 feet.

Here are several Blackberry Tree species that develop fruits that are related to or aesthetically similar to Blackberries. Remember that Blackberry bushes grow a lot faster than a Blackberry Tree.

Mulberry (Morus)

A Mulberry is a drupelet aggregation or collective hives of tiny drupes like a Blackberry. However, the Mulberry belongs to the Morus genus while the Blackberry is in the Rubus genus.20

Mulberries look very similar in aesthetics and color to Blackberries and are usually confused with them. But mulberries grow in a signature elongated fashion, almost as if Blackberries had a pine cone shape instead of a nugget-sized berry shape.

Mulberry Trees grow rapidly and can propagate almost like weeds via basal root suckers. The Mulberry plant is actually considered an invasive weed.21

If you plant a Mulberry Tree, make sure that you isolate it from other plants and structures.

Closeup of Mulberry Tree showing red and deep red blackberry-like fruits and leaves with serrated edge.

(Image: tortic8430)

Mulberry Trees grow about a foot annually and up to a maximum height of 50 feet. These trees grow optimally in USDA Zones 5 through 10.

Research your local laws before planting a Mulberry Tree. They may be illegal in your region due to their ability to grow out of control and endanger the local ecology.

Did you know that planting a Mulberry Tree could be illegal depending on where you live? They are notorious for being invasive weeds that grow out of control.

Huckleberry (Vaccinium or Gaylussacia)

If you ever heard of a Huckleberry Tree, then you should know it is a misnomer. Huckleberries grow on shrubs and plants on the side of streams, bogs, and in the woods.

It’s a shrub that grows up to about four feet tall and becomes ubiquitous undergrowth in a forest.

Some Huckleberry bushes grow as tall as ten feet.

Huckleberries look more like blueberries than blackberries. And that is because according to the rigid classification name for a berry, a Huckleberry can be considered a berry, but not a blackberry.

Huckleberries ideally grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 through 9.

Be patient if you decide to grow Huckleberry shrubs.

A Huckleberry can take three to five years before they optimally bear fruit. It can take as long as 15 years before a Huckleberry shrub or tree fully matures.

Serviceberry (Amelanchier)

The Serviceberry Tree is a shrub or multi-stemmed shrub that grows up to tree height.22 A typical Serviceberry Tree can grow up to over 25 feet tall.

The Serviceberry Tree is the only tree on this list that grows fruits that are related to Blackberries. They can grow optimally in USDA Hardiness Zones 2 through 8.

Serviceberry Trees grow about a foot or two annually.

Best Blackberry Bush Species for Gardening

There are too many varieties of Blackberry species to consider for planting. But they grow relatively easily.

If you choose erect species of Blackberry, then you don’t have to worry about adding a trellis or vertical growth support structure.

Clusters of white blackberry flowers with yellow stamens blooming in a bed of green leaves.

You should consider the USDA Hardiness Zone you live in and the amount of gardening maintenance you can commit to before planting Blackberry shrubs.

Here is a partial list of Blackberry species names that you can grow based on being erect, semi-erect, or trailing varieties.

Erect Blackberry Species

Erect Blackberry species don’t require any trellis or vertical support structures to guarantee optimal growth.

  • “Arapaho” ripens early and is very heat tolerant. It is a thornless cultivar that can grow to a height of six feet.
    They grow optimally in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 through 9.
  • “Baby Cakes” is officially a dwarf erect species of Blackberry that is resistant to most plant diseases. They were cultivated to be extra sweet in flavor and thornless.
    Baby Cakes grows well in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 through 8 and reaches a maximum height of four feet.
  • “Illini Hardy” was cultivated to withstand very cold weather and produce bountiful harvest yields. It has prickly stems and was also cultivated to have extra sweet berry flavors.
    It can grow up to six feet tall and is ideal for planting in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 through 8.
  • “Shawnee” ripens relatively earlier and is highly resistant to plant diseases. It was cultivated to offer a sweeter berry flavor as well.
    Shawnee has prickly stems, grows to a height of five feet, and I ideal for planting in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 9.

Semi-Erect Blackberry Species

These Blackberry species require trellis growth support if they grow over three feet tall. Without trellis support, the plant will fall over or its canes will arch and start growing and sprawling on the ground.

  • “Black Satin” is a thornless cultivar that yields bountiful harvests and is very heat tolerant. It can grow up to six feet and should be planted in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 8.
  • “Chester” was cultivated to be thornless, produce extra-large Blackberry fruit, resistant to plant diseases, and be very heat tolerant. It can grow up to five feet in height and should be planted in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 9.

Trailing Blackberry Species

You must build or install a trellis vertical support system in the ground to guide cane growth upward as the plant grows. The canes of trailing Blackberry species grow like vines that sprawl and creep along the ground.

They will encourage wild, weed-like growth and bramble formation if you don’t guide their growth upward with a trellis.

  • “Obsidian” is resistant to plant diseases, thorny, and ripens early. It can grow to six feet tall and should be planted in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 9.
  • “Triple Crown” was cultivated to be thornless, offering larger-sized fruit and extra sweeter berry flavors. It can grow to be up to 12 feet tall and should be planted in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 8.

Ebony King Blackberry Plant

This is a well-known Blackberry cultivar that is drought-tolerant and also hardy in cold and frosty weather. This species will even survive light frost conditions as it grows.

It is a trailing species, so Noxious weeds need to add trellis support as it grows.

Ebony King Blackberries are cultivated to produce relatively larger and extra sweeter tasting Blackberries. They should be planted in USDA Hardiness Zones 8 through 11.

What Is a Japanese Blackberry Tree?

Elaeocarpus decipiens,23 or the Japanese Blueberry Tree, is an ornamental evergreen tree that is prized for its aesthetics and fragrant flowers.

It is not related to the Blackberry, but it does produce aggregate drupelet fruits. Japanese Blueberries, which are really drupes, are not edible for humans.

Wild Blackberry Bush as Invasive Weed

Blackberry shrubs are considered to be a noxious weed that can grow wildly out of control and unchecked. Because Blackberry shrubs fruit delicious fruit, they are not usually viewed that way unless they turn into prickly, wild-growing brambles.

A Noxious weed is an annoying and invasive weed that proliferates itself unchecked and adversely affects the local region’s ecosystem. Noxious weeds greedily access water that stunts the growth potential of other plants and crops nearby.

A Noxious weed can grow thorns or prickles on its stems, canes, or vines in the wild, and unchecked bramble growth that can block wildlife and livestock from water and food sources.

Any effort to eradicate them can be an expensive waste of time and money. Noxious weed spread via suckers and animals spreading its seeds.

Wild Blackberry shrubs and brambles bles grow long prickly canes that look like vines and touch the ground.

As the prickly canes touch the ground, they produce roots that create suckers which in turn grow more wild Blackberry brambles over time. This process creates a runaway weed proliferation process.

The Wild Blackberries will become impenetrable and prickly thickets of dense growth over time.

Most interestingly, noxious weeds are usually introduced to ecosystems unwittingly by accident.

A Blackberry species in one continent or country can be considered a bountiful fruit shrub and wildlife food supply and an invasive and noxious weed in another. The Blackberry species Rubus fruticosus is an invasive weed in Europe.

But this Blackberry species is vital to the American Blackberry industry.

Meanwhile, Rubus armeniacus, also known as Armenian or Himalayan Blackberry is considered to be a very noxious weed that grows unchecked and can explosively propagate throughout the western and Pacific northwestern parts of the United States and Canada.

Your ability to benefit from bountiful Blackberry harvests depends on you planting cultivars or species that suit your needs and the ecology of your region. Choose your Blackberry species carefully before planting it.

Common Pests of the Blackberry

Blackberry plants are a staple food for birds, small animals, and wildlife. If you live in an area known for its flourishing wildlife, you may want to strategize how to contain your Blackberry plants.

Common Blackberry insect and rodent pests include:

  • Mice
  • Japanese beetle
  • Redneck cane roller
  • Mites
  • Leafroller

Blackberries, The Ancient Fruit

Science knows that the Blackberry is a fruit that was eaten by ancient humans because Blackberry remnants have been found in ancient but preserved human bodies. A relatively well-preserved but ancient cadaver found in a Denmark bog and nicknamed the “Haraldskær Woman,” was found to have preserved and undigested Blackberry remnants in its stomach.

The Haraldskær Woman may be over 2,500 years old. And this human artifact only proves that Blackberries were eaten over 2,500 years ago.

Ancient humans may have been consuming Blackberries much earlier than 2,500 years ago.

Ancient people used Blackberries as food, drink, medicine, and to make dye, clothes and fabrics, and rope.

Blackberry Nutrition

The Blackberry is a rich source of beneficial nutrients.11 They include but are not limited to:

  • Calcium
  • Manganese
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

One cup of raw, unprocessed, and freshly picked Blackberries contains:7

  • One gram of fat
  • 8 grams of fiber
  • 62 calories
  • 2 grams of protein
  • 8 grams of fiber
  • 7 grams of sugar
  • 14 grams of carbohydrates

Raw and freshly picked blackberries are very healthy and nutritious. Blackberries only become fattening when they are overly processed with trans fat and sugars in various baked goods.

Companion Plants for Growing Blackberry Plants

To grow a mixed-produce portfolio garden, there are numerous companion plants you can grow with Blackberries. These companion plants can include:

  • Hazelnut
  • Serviceberry
  • Thimbleberry
  • Blueberry
  • Roses

Plant hyssop and tansy plants to act as pest bodyguards for your Blackberry plants.

Blackberry Fruit Benefits

You can harvest 11 to 20 pounds of Blackberries per harvesting season per plant, depending on soil conditions and how well you tend to it.

Closeup of Blackberry Tree showing reddish stems with black fruits and serrated-edged leaves.

(Image: Marevo31)

Only pick blackberries that are fully or mostly black.

White, red, and whitish-red blackberries are unripe. Blackberries are only ripe when they are black.

Additionally, Blackberries only ripen on the stem – they won’t ripen after you pick them.

As previously mentioned, blackberries have been used as ingredients in medicine for thousands of years. Modern science is still experimenting with blackberries to find cures and medicines for diseases.24

Blackberries are a known antioxidant, a natural compound that delays aging and destroys cells that may develop into cancer. Many scientists believe that blackberries could be a vital ingredient in the development of anticancer treatments.25

Blackberry-derived lotions and salves can cure skin inflammation, scaliness, and sometimes psoriasis.

Blackberry leaf-derived teas, beverages, and hot decoctions have been scientifically proven to treat and cure mouth ulcers, sore throats, gum inflammation, and diarrhea.

You can safely heat Blackberry leaves in a warm decoction and create an efficient oral hygiene mouthwash.

Read More About Trees

There are several species of Oak Tree. Learn about the different species and plant one suited to your needs.

The Black Walnut Tree is vital to ecosystems, is aesthetically beautiful, and grows edible nuts. Learn how to identify one.

Planting a tree should pay back dividends as a privacy screen, in harvests, or in landscape aesthetics. Check out this tree value calculator to learn more.

Mistaking a wasp for a bee could result in a sting or allergic reaction. Here is how to identify a black and white bee.

Everything that grows on a Black Locust Tree is poisonous, so you should learn how to identify it.

The Blackberry plant is easy to grow, can always provide you with plentiful fruit, and you can use the plant to create your own home remedies. And while the Blackberry Tree is really a shrub or vine, you will benefit a lot from planting it.

Frequently Asked Questions About Blackberry Tree

What Are Good Planting Tips for Blackberry Plants?

Prune the second year floricanes after they bear fruit to make way for the new primocanes to flower into the new floricanes next season.26 Primocanes are green, while floricanes or red or brown and weathered looking after bearing fruit.

What Are the Types of Soil That Can Be Used To Provide the Best Growing Conditions for Blackberries?

While the Blackberry plant is considered an invasive weed that can grow in poor soil conditions, you’ll experience optimum results if you plant it in fertilized or compost-nutrient soils.

How Much Sunlight Does Blackberry Bush Need Each Day?

Blackberry plants need at least six hours of direct sunlight exposure for optimal and healthy growth.

What Is the Time Frame of How Long It Takes To Grow Blackberries?

Your Blackberries will grow vegetative canes in the first year and bear fruit and flowers in the second year.

What Are the Best Seasons on When To Plant Blackberries for the Best Yield?

The best times of the year to plant Blackberries are in the spring and fall.

However, you even can get a bare-root Blackberry cultivar and plant it in unfrozen ground in the winter depending on where you live.9

What Is Natural Pest Control for Blackberries?

You can introduce ladybugs and lacewings to act as natural pest control to eat smaller insect pests.10

If you notice larger pests you should manually remove them or their eggs when you see them and remain vigilant.

What Are the Ways on How To Stop Blackberry Disease?

Don’t plant Blackberry plants too close together, which can cause increased humidity. And don’t overwater your plants.

What Are Some Other Blackberry Tree Disease Prevention Tips?

Choose disease-resistant Blackberry species and cultivars to plant to spare you from dealing with curing such plant diseases later.

What Is the Best Method for Growing a Blackberry Bush From a Cutting?

You can place a Blackberry bush cutting directly in your soil. You can apply rooting hormone to the end of the cutting, but it isn’t necessary.

What Are the Steps To Learn About Growing a Blackberry Plant From a Seedling?

You can place a seedling into the ground, but you may experience better results by growing the seedling in a nursery for a few weeks first.

What Is a Tree With Blackberry Like Fruit?

Mulberry Trees bear Blackberry-like fruit.

Is the Pink Blackberry Edible?

No, a pink Blackberry is not toxic but it is very unripe and won’t taste sweet.

A Blackberry will change colors from white, whitish-pink, pink, red, deep purple, and then fully black as it goes from unripe to fully ripe.

What Is an Interesting Fact About the Blackberry Shrub?

While it is not really a tree and has more in common with shrubs, it is really more apt to think of the Blackberry plant as a vine.


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