How to Keep Blackberries from Spreading for Easy Harvest

If you have ever grown blackberries, you know how they can quickly take over your garden or backyard. Although they are delicious and nutritious, the thorny canes can be quite invasive and difficult to control.

However, with some simple techniques, you can keep your blackberries from spreading and make it easier to harvest them. In this article, we will discuss some effective ways to contain blackberries and maintain their growth for easy picking.

Understanding Blackberry Growth and Spreading

Before we delve into the methods to control blackberries, let’s first understand how they grow and spread. Blackberries are perennial plants that grow from roots and canes. The canes can be either primocanes, which are the first-year shoots, or floricanes, which are the second-year shoots that bear fruit.

Blackberry canes spread through rhizomes, which are underground stems that produce new plants. Moreover, the canes produce roots where they touch the ground, allowing them to propagate new plants.

Benefits of Controlling Blackberry Spread

Although blackberries are a desirable crop, uncontrolled spreading can have some negative effects. Here are some benefits of containing blackberry growth:

  • Easier maintenance: Controlling blackberry spread reduces the amount of pruning and weeding required, making maintenance easier.
  • Improved harvest: By limiting the number of canes, the remaining ones will produce larger fruit and will be easier to pick.
  • Aesthetic appeal: Uncontrolled blackberry growth can make your garden look untidy and can overtake other plants in the area.

How to Keep Blackberries from Spreading

Now that we know why it’s essential to control blackberry spread let’s discuss some practical methods to achieve this.

Method 1: Pruning

Pruning is a crucial aspect of blackberry maintenance. By cutting off old and weak canes, you can encourage new and healthy growth. Here’s how to prune blackberries:

  1. Identify the floricanes and primocanes.
  2. Cut off the floricanes after they have finished producing fruit.
  3. Cut back the primocanes to 3-4 feet in height.
  4. Remove any weak or diseased canes.

By pruning regularly, you can keep the blackberry canes in check and prevent them from spreading.

Method 2: Root Barrier

A root barrier is a physical barrier that prevents the blackberry roots from spreading. Here’s how to install a root barrier:

  1. Dig a trench around the blackberry patch.
  2. Insert a plastic or metal barrier vertically into the trench.
  3. Ensure that the barrier extends at least 2 feet into the ground and 6 inches above the soil.
  4. Backfill the trench with soil.

A root barrier is an effective way to contain blackberry roots and prevent them from spreading.

Method 3: Mulching

Mulching is another effective way to control blackberry spread. By covering the soil around the canes, you can inhibit the growth of new plants. Here’s how to mulch blackberries:

  1. Apply a layer of organic mulch around the blackberry canes, leaving a gap of 2-3 inches around the stem.
  2. Ensure that the mulch layer is at least 2-3 inches deep.
  3. Reapply the mulch every year to maintain the barrier.

Mulching not only prevents the growth of new plants but also helps to retain moisture in the soil and control weeds.

Method 4: Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is the key to controlling Blackberry spread. Here are some tips for maintaining blackberries:

  1. Remove any dead or diseased canes promptly.
  2. Monitor the area around the Blackberry patch and remove any new shoots that appear.
  3. Keep the soil around the canes weed-free and well-drained.
  4. Fertilize the blackberries annually to promote healthy growth.

By implementing regular maintenance practices, you can keep your blackberry patch healthy and prevent the canes from spreading.


Growing blackberries can be a rewarding experience, but it’s essential to control their spread to make it easier to harvest and maintain them.

By following the methods discussed in this article, such as pruning, installing root barriers, mulching, and regular maintenance, you can keep your blackberry patch under control and enjoy a bountiful harvest.

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