Free Blackberry Plants – Tip Layering

Back in April 2020 I received 4 Natchez blackberry plants and built a small raised row down my fence line and planted them. They have done very well since then. Growing from only 4-6 inch small plants to today being over 6 feet tall!

Natchez Blackberry plants in the soil
4 Natchez Blackberry plants in the soil

They have side shoots and other canes that are reaching over down to the ground and ready for propagation by tip layering. If the tip of the cane touches the ground they will start growing roots and you will have a new blackberry plant that you can then separate from the vine and transplant someplace else or give to a neighbor. September 29th, 2020 here they are bending side to side but 2 are still over 6 feet tall and the other 2 are over 5 feet high.

Natchez Blackberry Plants 6 feet tall
Natchez Blackberry Plants 6 feet tall

Start by selecting a shoot or cane that can easily be brought to ground level and into a pot. Fill the pot 1/2 full with good quality soil and then take the cane and trim off the leaves near the end.

Tip layering trim leaves
Tip layering trim leaves


Place the tip into the pot.

Tip layering place in pot
Tip layering place in pot


Back fill the pot with more soil to hold in place.

Tip layering back fill dirt
Tip layering back fill dirt

I had several canes that were good candidates for tip layering so I ended up doing 7 pots that I will replant and share a few with friends.

7 tip layered blackberry plants
7 tip layered blackberry plants

Simple I-Trellis for Blackberry Plants

My 4 Natchez Blackberry plants have grown considerably since being planted on April 24th, 2020. After about 4 months of growth – some are up to 48 inches tall and they are folding over and getting close to the ground. I had built a very simple short I-Trellis with garden twine that is no longer enough for them. You can see that trellis video here. To see my 4 Natchez Blackberry plants from the start with video and timeline pictures click here. It was time for an upgrade. Here’s how I made a very simple I-Trellis for my Blackberry plants.

What started out as 4-6 inch plugs have now after about 4 months grown up to 48 inches tall!

Natchez Blackberry Plants April 24th 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 3 and 4 on April 24th 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 3 and 4 on Sept 1st, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 3 and 4 on Sept 1st, 2020

Prime Ark Freedom Blackberries

June 7th 2020
I know that June in Texas is not the best time to plant Blackberries but I decided that now was better than waiting until next spring or even later this Fall. I just really wanted to get started and add to my blackberry row. I currently have 4 Natchez Blackberry plants that I bought thru Amazon and put in the ground back in April 2020. They are doing very well – check them out here. I did some more research and decided to try Prime Ark Freedom blackberries which I ordered from Pense Nursery. They arrived very small with a sturdy stalk and either a few green leaves or a new flexible shoot coming off the short sturdy stalk.

Prime Ark Freedom Plant #10 on June 19th, 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant #10 on June 19th, 2020

June 15th, 2020
All 10 Prime Ark Freedom plants look very similar to the above photo but plants #8 and #9 appear to be the weakest of the group. See photo below from June 15th, 2020.

Prime Ark Freedom Plant #8 & 9 June 15th 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant #8 & 9 June 15th 2020

July 1st, 2020

Prime Ark Freedom Plant #8 July 10th 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant #8 July 10th 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant #9 July 10th 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant #9 July 10th 2020

July 18th, 2020
What a difference a month can make! The two that appeared the weakest in the early stages are now two of the strongest a month later. I was surprised at how much growth happened in about a month! Same Prime Ark Freedom plants #8 and #9 above are shown below just over a month later!

Prime Ark Freedom Plant #8 & 9 July 18th 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant #8 & 9 July 18th 2020

August 1st, 2020

Prime Ark Freedom Plant #8 Aug 1st, 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant #8 Aug 1st, 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant #9 Aug 1st, 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant #9 Aug 1st, 2020

August 3rd, 2020
First flower on my Prime Ark Freedom blackberry plants – plant #3. Walked out this morning to look at the row and there was a flower less than 2 months after transplant!

Prime Ark Freedom Plant #3 first flower Aug 3rd 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant #3 first flower Aug 3rd 2020

September 1st, 2020

Prime Ark Freedom Plant #8 Sept 1st, 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant #8 Sept 1st, 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant #9 Sept 1st, 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant #9 Sept 1st, 2020

October 1st, 2020
My Prime Ark Freedom plants are getting taller so I needed to raise the trellis string.

Prime Ark Freedom Plant 8 on Oct 1st, 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant 8 on Oct 1st, 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant 9 on Oct 1st, 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant 9 on Oct 1st, 2020

Natchez Blackberries

My first attempt at growing food in my backyard. I started with watermelons and cantaloupes and that did very well. I began modestly with just a small section for a few watermelon plants and another small section for a few cantaloupe plants. I enjoyed it so much that I then got really into it and ended up using 4 cattle panels to build an arch trellis for each section to grow my food vertically. The main reason for this was to minimize space used so my kids could still play in the main middle part of the backyard but also grow as much as possible! Next was blackberries. As I wrote earlier, this was my very first time gardening and growing food and there are so many things I’ve learned along the way. I would do several things different if I could go back and I’ll most likely talk about those along the way. Now for the blackberries…

Just like with the watermelon and cantaloupes – I started modest because I really wasn’t sure how it was all going to go. What started as 4 small plants ended up being 14 blackberry plants both Natchez and Prime Ark Freedom.

April 16th, 2020
Here’s my start – put in a border down the fence line and added a mixture of garden bed soil, top soil and organic compost.

Blackberry raised bed row
Natchez Blackberry raised bed

April 24th, 2020
Natchez blackberry plants arrived!

Natchez Blackberry
Natchez Blackberry plants sealed
Natchez Blackberry plants
Natchez Blackberry plants ready to be planted

In the ground – rounded out the soil making them up on a hill in a row!

Natchez Blackberry plants in the soil
4 Natchez Blackberry plants in the soil

April 28th, 2020
Wind damage – it is surprisingly windy down the fence line and my small blackberry plants are being roughed up by the wind. Time to build a small temporary support trellis to keep them upright as they get established.

Blackberry support string trellis

May 4th, 2020
Transplant shock? The blackberry plants might be experiencing some transplant shock. These pictures don’t show it very well because this was the day before and the edges got even darker. Purplish color around the edges of several leaves. Thankfully they made it thru and the leaves are all green again.

Blackberry Transplant Shock
Blackberry Transplant Shock

June 21st, 2020
Good growth and stronger stalks. Picture below is of plants 1, 2 and 3 from left to right. Plant number 2 is the largest of all 4.

Natchez Blackberry plants #1-3
Natchez Blackberry plants #1-3 on June 21st, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plant #2
Natchez Blackberry plant #2 on June 21st, 2020

July 18th, 2020
Doubling in size or more. It seemed like a bit of shaky start but now they are really taking off!

Natchez Blackberry plants 1 and 2 on July 18th, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 1 and 2 on July 18th, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 3 and 4 on July 18th, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 3 and 4 on July 18th, 2020

August 1st, 2020
Getting taller!

Natchez Blackberry plants 1 and 2 on Aug 1st, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 1 and 2 on Aug 1st, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 3 and 4 on Aug 1st, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 3 and 4 on Aug 1st, 2020

September 1st, 2020
New I-Trellis with T-posts as they are growing fast and starting to fall over.

Natchez Blackberry plants 1 and 2 on Sept 1st, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 1 and 2 on Sept 1st, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 3 and 4 on Sept 1st, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 3 and 4 on Sept 1st, 2020

Natchez Blackberry Measurements:
July 1st, 2020
Plant 1: 17 inches
Plant 2: 30.5 inches
Plant 3: 25 inches
Plant 4: 18 inches

September 1st, 2020
Plant 1: 33 inches
Plant 2: 48 inches
Plant 3: 42 inches
Plant 4: 47 inches

Good growth considering all were about 4-6 inch plugs when I first planted them back on April 24th, 2020.

October 1st, 2020
Two plants over 6 feet tall and the other two around 5 feet tall.

Natchez Blackberry plants 1 and 2 on Oct 1st, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 1 and 2 on Oct 1st, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 3 and 4 on Oct 1st, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 3 and 4 on Oct 1st, 2020