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Taming the Thornless Blackberry

Although there were a few berries left on our Doyle’s Thornless Blackberry, it was time to tame the wild growth. Like other brambles, this plant grows new canes that will bear fruit next season even as last year’s growth is bearing berries this summer.  And this over-achiever plant grows long, strong canes. So at this point in the season as the bearing stems are winding down we are also dealing with twelve foot long canes that will bear next year.

So today we cut away most of this year’s growth and picked all the remaining ripe berries off. Then it was time to pin up the new stems against the building so that are secure for the rest of the fall and into the winter. Note to those who might be interested in growing this blackberry: plant it next to a very large, sturdy arbor, trellis or building. I’m talking at least 15 feet of support at a minimum for this bramble!

The Doyle’s Thornless Blackberry produces fruit for at least five weeks. It also grows well in part shade, making it a great vine alternative for large arbors or lath houses. It is not a plant that you can install and forget, however. Count on spending a few hours on support and pruning. Given that attention, you’ll have a large crop of tasty fruit in the late summer.

In the garden and in life, we might need to remove the old and spend time channeling the new in proper directions in order to insure a good harvest.

Here is how the blackberry plant looked in late July. It covered the west side of the shed and the long canes extended on the roof line of the North side as well.

Once most of the old canes that bore fruit this year were cut away we could deal with supporting the growth that will be productive next year. The main trunks were tied to the trellis on the side of the shed, and the long canes trained on both the north and south roof line.

After cutting this year's canes down we harvest the rest of the berries.

2 comments to Taming the Thornless Blackberry

  • Sherry Baldwin

    Have you tried Blackberry, Prime-Ark 45? I live in Texas and was going to try growing them here. I’m originally from Crescent City Californis, where they are blessed with several different varieties of wild blackberries. My Blackberry Jam won first place at the fair 8 years in a row. I’ll miss picking the berries and making the jam until I retire home in a few years. So I’m looking for a Blackberry that can do well in a 8+ climate.

  • Sherry,
    I have not tried that one. I understand from my reading that the Doyle’s thornless does well in zone 8 but I’d ask them about Texas specifically since not all zone 8’s are the same. They have a facebook page. We’re harvesting TONS of berries now and they are large and sweet.