Blackberries are a savory fruit for your palate that can diversify numerous meals. Even though the bulk of blackberries are produced in the Midwest you can still grow a staple crop right here in the sunshine state.
Blackberries are members of the Rosaceae family and deciduous plants. This means they will have similar pest and disease problems as roses and loose all their leaves typically in the fall months.
Primocanes are known as first year shoots and occur on the plant during the first year resulting in fruit production for the first year of plant growth. Often times the plant will bear fruit during the late summer until the first hard freeze. Canes that survive the harsh winter months are known as “floricanes” for the next growing season.
Floricanes are second year shoots that and do not bear fruit their first year but may produce flowers. As the floricanes produce fruit, the branches will die and must be pruned to promote the growth of new floricane branches.
The 2 C’s: Cultivars & Chill Hours:
Thinking about growing blackberries at home? First, you want to know what cultivars do well in your area primarily how many chill hours are needed for the plant to thrive. There are a few tools at your disposable to estimate the chill hours you may encounter. Below you will find the AgroClimate map (http://agroclimate.org/tools/chill-hours-calculator/) used to estimate chill hours based on nearby weather stations.
For Volusia County 598 chill hours are projected until March 2024. Now we can determine what cultivar would be best to plant.
|Cultivar||Location*||Thorns or Thornless||Chill Hours|
*N = North Florida, C = Central Florida
Chill hours confirmed, cultivar selected, now we have to CREATE THE SPACE!
The best time to plant your blackberries is from December to February planting 2-5 feet apart and 10-15 feet between rows. Ideal soil pH should be a 5.5-6.5 so a soil test may be needed PRIOR to planting. With any gardening venture it’s best to plan out before you plant out. As always happy gardening!
For more information on blackberry production, check out the following links:
For more information on urban horticulture programs and the Master Gardener Volunteer Program in Volusia County, contact Brittany A. Council-Morton via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 386-822-5778.