How to Feed Blackberry Bushes

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(Image: blackberry image by Svetlana Nikonova from Fotolia.com)

Blackberry bushes are deciduous bushes that produce delicious berries--technically, aggregate fruit--that can be eaten fresh or made into jams, jellies, juices and other fruit products. As delicious as store-bought blackberries can be, nothing beats the taste of a freshly picked, homegrown blackberry. To grow the healthiest and most flavorful blackberries possible, make regular fertilization a part of your blackberry bush care routine. In addition to regular feedings, your blackberry bushes will grow best when they receive plenty of sun and frequent watering. Blackberry bushes can be grown in Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zones 5 to 10 where the average annual minimum temperature is between minus-20 and 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Things You'll Need

  • 10-10-10, 10-20-20 or 5-10-10 fertilizer
  • Aged manure
  • Garden hose

Wait 30 to 60 days after planting to fertilize your blackberry bushes. Fertilizing your blackberry bushes too soon, or during planting, can injure or kill them.

Feed your blackberry bushes in the early spring, and again after the summer harvest, for the first two years after planting. Apply an application of 10-10-10 fertilizer in a 15-inch circle around each of your blackberry bushes. Make sure to keep the fertilizer at least 5 inches from the bases of your plants.

Fertilize older blackberry bushes in the winter and again after the summer harvest. Use either 10-10-10 fertilizer or 10-20-20 fertilizer to fertilize blackberry bushes older than two years. Apply your fertilizer to the trenches between your rows of blackberry bushes.

Apply aged manure to the soil around your blackberry bushes in the late fall or early winter if desired. Reduce the nitrogen in your subsequent fertilizer applications if you do decide to include aged manure in your blackberry bush feeding plan. Use a 5-10-10 fertilizer for best results.

Tips & Warnings

  • Slow-water your soil before and after fertilizing your blackberry bushes to ensure that the fertilizer is properly diluted.
  • Always wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and protective eyewear when applying chemical gardening products such as fertilizer. Do not allow fertilizer to come into contact with skin or eyes.

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