How to propagate blackberries and raspberries

Who doesn’t love a good raspberry or blackberry? They’re sweet with just the right amount of tart. They make good cakes, pies, jams, ice cream, and cobbler. Most of the time, though, we think about raspberries and blackberries as things that we can’t grow ourselves. Either you find them growing wild by a stream or in a grocery store. You absolutely can grow them yourself, though! These simple tips for propagating blackberries and raspberries will help you enjoy the taste of berries in the comfort of your own yard.

Can you start raspberries from cuttings?

Raspberries can be grown from cuttings from either the stem or the root. Raspberries and blackberries are related and can actually propagate in some of the same ways. All raspberries can be propagated by cuttings, and black and purple varieties of raspberry can be cloned by tip layering.

While cuttings are simple to take and plant, there is one common problem. Raspberries are susceptible to several diseases, most notably mosaic, a disease spread from plant to plant by aphids. Blackberries are not typically affected by mosaic, and the disease’s impact on raspberries can vary wildly depending on the variety of raspberry. To be sure you’re getting a disease-free raspberry, don’t take cuttings from a bush that isn’t yours. Nurseries will often sell raspberry cuttings that are disease-free or even disease-resistant, so you may want to speak with your local nursery.

How do you root blackberries from cuttings?

Blackberries can be rooted from stem cuttings or root cuttings. Stem cuttings are easier to obtain and generally better if you’re taking multiple cuttings from a single plant. Take cuttings from stems that are flexible and living, so spring or summer would be best. Make sure your blade is sharp, and cut 4 to 6 inches from the end of a stem. Place the cut side several inches into moist soil. The best soil for blackberries is a mix of sand and peat. Your cutting should be rooted in a matter of weeks.

Red blackberries ripening on vine

Root cuttings are harder to take but are generally more reliable. Take root cuttings in the fall, when your blackberry plant has gone dormant, to avoid harming your plant. For root cuttings, take 3 to 6 inches. Unlike stems, root cuttings require two cuts (since the end of a root is often hard to find). At the wider end of the root, cut straight across, and cut at an angle at the narrower end.

Rather than plant these cuttings in the fall, when you take them, store them somewhere cold and dry for the duration of winter. They should be kept at about 40 F. If you have multiple cuttings, group them together and make sure they’re facing the same way. Once winter is over, plant them with the angled side underground and the straight side aboveground.

How do you clone blackberry bushes?

Blackberry bushes are cloned through a process called tip layering. While any form of propagation produces a plant that is very similar to the original, tip layering ensures that both plants are exactly the same because they actually are the same plant!

Tip layering has to be done when the plant is still young, and it is best done in fall. Take a new vine and bend it over so that the tip touches the ground. Then bury the tip, layering soil over it until both ends of the plant are secure. You don’t want the end to spring back up out the ground, flinging dirt everywhere, after all!

Once it’s safely buried, leave it there over the course of fall and winter. In spring, the end of your plant will have grown roots! Cut the vine, and now you have turned one plant into two!

How do raspberries reproduce?

Raspberries on the vine

Raspberries reproduce differently depending on the variety. Many raspberries, red varieties included, reproduce using runners, underground. New canes sprout from these runners, so you may notice new raspberry bushes in unexpected areas.

Black raspberries, on the other hand, will occasionally produce runners, but they most often spread by tipping. Tipping is just like tip layering, except that nature does all the work. If you want to keep your black raspberries in place, keep them pruned and don’t let them lean over.

Having fresh blackberries and raspberries sounds like a dream come true, and now that you know these guidelines, it can be a reality for you! Propagate to your heart’s content and have a berry good time.

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