Propagating Blackberries: Cuttings And Sinkers

The blackberry is an uncomplicated berry bush for the garden. We explain to you how you can successfully propagate the blackberry yourself.

The blackberry ( Rubus fruticosus ) is an often evergreen, prickly shrub that can be found growing wild on many roadsides. The blackberry is cultivated in gardens mainly for its sweet, aromatic fruits, which can be harvested from June to October. Like most of our domestic fruits, the blackberry belongs to the rose family (Rosaceae). It overgrows entire fences and climbing aids in the garden in a very short time – a property that you can take advantage of when it comes to propagation.

Propagating blackberries: these methods exist

A blackberry bush is not enough for you? In this case, it is good to know how blackberry plants can easily be propagated by themselves using cuttings. There are several options available for vegetative propagation. Upright blackberry varieties are best propagated using root cuttings or runners. Creeping or creeping cultivars can be propagated using sinkers, root cuttings, or cuttings. Propagation via seeds is of no practical importance due to the high amount of work and time required.

Propagate blackberries through runners

Bred blackberry varieties usually reproduce much less by themselves than their wild relatives. Nevertheless, root runners can form. The blackberry plant sprouts underground and emerges from the ground some distance away. If necessary, the new plant can be cut out with the longest possible piece of root and planted again in another place. The best time for this type of propagation is from October to April.

Read more: Propagating Blueberries: Successful Professional Tips

Propagate blackberries by root cuttings

Root cuttings are only cut in late autumn. For this purpose, about 5 cm long pieces of root that have at least one or two shoot buds are used. These are placed in a box with moist potting soil and covered with a layer of soil about 2 cm high. The nursery box is placed in a light, cool, and well-ventilated place over the winter. In spring, when the blackberries have formed shoots about 10 cm long, the young plants can be planted in a garden bed.

Propagating blackberries: cuttings, sinkers & Co.

Propagate blackberries by lowering

Many thornless varieties of blackberries, often incorrectly referred to as “thornless” blackberries, hardly ever sprout runners. If necessary, they can be increased by subscribers. For this purpose, long shoots of the blackberry plant are pressed to the ground about 30 to 50 cm below the tip of the shoot and covered with a layer of soil.

So that the shoot does not bend back up, it should be weighted down with a stone or piece of wood. This type of propagation is best done at the beginning of the growing season in spring. By autumn, the sinkers will then form enough roots to be able to supply themselves with sufficient nutrients. The independent plant can then be separated from the mother plant.

Propagate blackberries with cuttings

The propagation of blackberries via cuttings is particularly suitable for the production of larger quantities of plants. Cuttings are then cut, unwooded parts of the shoot of a plant that is used for vegetative reproduction. In early summer, annual shoots of the shrub are cut off and divided into 5 to 10 cm long pieces. Alternatively, you can only use the shoot tips from which the particularly well-growing head cuttings can be pulled.

In general, a blackberry cutting should contain two to three nodes (leaf nodes) with healthy foliage. The cuttings are then placed in pots with a loose growing substrate. Ideal growth conditions are found in a warm greenhouse with high humidity. If you don’t have a greenhouse, you can cover the pots with cling film for the first four weeks.

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When the first leaves appear, however, you should remove the foil – this way the cuttings can acclimatize well. Make sure to keep the soil moist at all times. When the cuttings have developed enough roots, they can be separated after about the sixth week. In a sheltered place, the plants can get used to the outside climate until they are planted in the desired location in September.

How to proceed with blackberry cuttings:

  1. Cut annual shoots into pieces 5 to 10 cm long
  2. Put cuttings in potting soil
  3. Cover it with foil or moisten it regularly
  4. Remove the foil after four weeks
  5. After sufficient rooting, separate the cuttings
  6. Gradually get used to the outside climate and plant them out

Propagate wild blackberries

Wild blackberries usually colonize themselves and reproduce without human help. Accordingly, they can also be propagated relatively easily in the garden using roots or sinks. However, the wild blackberry is extremely stubborn. Under certain circumstances, it is better to fall back on stingless, non-proliferating cultivars. Because once you have the wild blackberry in the garden, it is very difficult to get rid of it. A border with grids and curbs then promises little success with the climbing plant. Here we explain how you can permanently remove overgrown blackberry plants.

Propagating blackberries: cuttings, sinkers & Co.

Properly care for blackberries after propagation

After the successful propagation, the new blackberry plants can be planted out. To give you an optimal start-up aid, you should loosen the soil well at the desired location and, if necessary, improve it with suitable fertilizers. Regular watering and fertilization provide the plant with sufficient nutrients and water. After the first harvest at the latest, the two-year-old shoots should be cut back annually. Here we explain the best way to go about pruning the blackberry plant.

When and how to fertilize your blackberries correctly, you can find out in this special article.

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