When is best time to transplant thornless blackberry bushes? Should the bushes be trimmed? If so, when and how much?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello Stephen: Transplanting blackberries can be done throughout the year as long as the ground is not frozen. As with any other plant, there is a good time and a not so good time to transplant, so ideally you want to avoid moving them while they are flowering or setting fruit. The best time to transplant is late winter or early spring whlie they are dormant, after they have been pruned and before they put on new growth. This will give them enough time for their roots to get settled before the hot summer arrives. Treat them as you would any other new planting and keep them watered if Mother Nature does not. Avoid fertilizing for the first season until they become established in their new home. When it is time to transplant, it is always a good idea to have your new holes pre-dug so you can get the roots back in the soil as soon as possible to reduce stress on the plants. Be careful when digging up the existing plants that you do not injure the roots. After transplanting, add a thin layer of mulch to help keep the moisture in and the weeds down. Blackberries should be pruned annually for best fruit production. It sounds like you are growing semi-erect blackberries as opposed to semi-trailing. Semi-erect cultivars should be pruned for the first time during the winter dormant period. They should be cut back where the canes start to bend over. They can also be pinched back during the summer months if at any time the canes have put on more than one foot of new growth. Always make sure to use clean, sharp pruners when making your cuts. For more detailed information on growing/pruning blackberries in Kentucky, visit www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/ho/ho15/ho15.pdf
. This publication is provided by the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. Blackberries are a delicious treat and as long as they are pruned annually and given the right growing conditions, they will provide you with many years of fruit.