How To Transplant Blackberry Bushes

I was so excited the other day when the kids and I were walking to my dad’s house and we came upon a huge patch of wild blackberries in full bloom along the dam beside his lake. We’d looked all through the woods the other day, trying to find blackberries, without any luck. Looks like we’re gonna have plenty of berries to pick this summer after all!

I plan on transplanting a bunch of these bushes to my front yard. They are so beautiful when in full bloom, and having the berries a few steps from my front door will be a nice treat. I think I’ll wait until after we’ve harvested the berries from this patch before I move them, so as not to lose any fruit. I’ve been reading up on the best time and way to transplant blackberry bushes. Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. The best time to transplant blackberry (or raspberry) bushes is in Fall, after all of the berries have been picked.

2. Prune the vines down to about 5″ tall before uprooting them. This will make them easier for you to transplant, but will also cause less stress to the plant. If you leave the long canes, and don’t trim anything back, these older branches will begin trying to bloom and create fruit again in Spring. All of the plant’s energy will go toward growing the berries, and won’t be focused on the newly transplanted root system. If the plant isn’t able to establish strong, healthy roots, it could die as a result of focusing all nutrients on the longer fruit bearing canes.

3. Begin digging about a foot from the plant all the way around, so as not to disrupt the root system too much. Dig about a foot deep as well. You don’t want to pull the plants up, or yank on the roots, but gently lift them out of the ground.

4. Once the plant is up, wrap the roots with a plastic bag to keep them safe until you’ve given them their new home. Try to get them in the ground again ASAP.

5. When digging a new hole for your transplant, make sure to make it twice the size of the root ball. This will give the roots lots of room to be able to spread out and take hold. You don’t ever want to cram them into a hole. Trim the roots a little if you need to.

6. Before putting your blackberry (or raspberry) bush into its new hole, add a little bit of barn litter or compost to the bottom of the hole. Berry bushes love acid soil, and manure or compost really help! Our soil here is mostly clay, and they do fine. Blackberries usually do well in most soil types.

7. Soak the roots in a bucket of water for about an hour before planting. Don’t leave the roots in water too much longer than that though. Make sure not to over-water once it’s in the ground.

8. Place the plant in the hole, and fill it in with soil. Tamp it down lightly; then water.

9. New growth will appear about 4-6 weeks after the plant has been trimmed and replanted.

10. You can make more of your new transplant by “tipping” it. This term describes a process in which you use a long cane off of one plant to create a new plant beside it. To do this you would leave one of the canes long when pruning. Then once it’s transplanted, bend the long cane so that it touches the soil wherever you want the next plant to grow, and cover it with a couple of inches of soil. It is helpful if you leave the end tip sticking up out of the dirt so that you can see where the new plant is growing. The tip will begin growing its own new roots, and will be the start of a new blackberry bush.

You can trellis blackberries, or espalier them. I’m not sure how I’m going to train mine yet once they are in my yard. I just need to make them easily accessible for harvesting time.

Can’t wait till these bushes are full of yummy berries!!