How To Grow Blackberry
Blackberry. In a general way, the planting and care of a blackberry plantation is the same as required by raspberries. From the fact that they ripen later in the season, when droughts are most common, even greater attention should be given to placing them in land that is retentive of moisture, and to providing an efficient mulch, which can generally best be secured with a cultivator. The smaller-growing kinds (as Early Harvest and Wilson) may be planted 4 x 7 ft., the rank-growing varieties (as Snyder) 6 x 8 ft. Thorough cultivation through-out the season will help in a material degree to hold the moisture necessary to perfect a good crop. The soil should be cultivated very shallow, however, so as not to disturb the roots, as the breaking of the roots starts a large number of suckers that have to be cut out and destroyed. While hill culture (as recommended above) is desirable for the garden, commercial growers generally use continuous rows.
Blackberries, like dewberries and raspberries, bear but one crop on the cane. That is, canes which spring up this year bear next year. From 3 to 6 canes are sufficient to be left in each hill. The superfluous ones are thinned out soon after they start from the ground. The old canes should be cut out soon after fruiting, and burned. The new shoots should be pinched back at the height of 2 or 3 ft. if the plants are to support themselves. If to be fastened to wires, they may be allowed to grow throughout the season and be cut back when tied to the wires in winter or early spring.
Blackberry plants are sometimes laid down in cold climates,--the tops being bent over and held to the ground by earth or sods thrown on their tips.
The most troublesome disease of the blackberry is orange rust (conspicuous on the under sides of the leaves), which often proves very destructive, particularly to Kittatinny and a few other sorts. There is no remedy, and on the first appearance of the disease the infected plants should be dug up and burned.
Varieties of blackberries.
Many of the better varieties of blackberries are lacking in hardiness, and cannot be grown except in the more favorable localities. Snyder and Taylor are most generally successful, although Wilson and Early Harvest are often grown on a large scale for market, and do well with winter protection. Eldorado is much like Snyder, that seems hardy and productive. Erie, Minnewaski, Kittatinny, and Early King are in many sections large and valuable sorts.