Picking Blackberries: How And When To Harvest Blackberries

Person Harvesting Blackberries
picking blackberries
(Image credit: enzart)

Blackberries are excellent plants to have around. Since blackberries don’t ripen after they’ve been picked, they have to be picked when they’re dead ripe. As a result, the berries you buy in the store tend to be bred more for durability during transportation than for flavor. If you grow your own berries, however, the farthest they have to travel is from your garden to your kitchen (or even just from the garden to your mouth). This way, you can have perfectly ripe berries bred to have the best flavor, for a fraction of the cost. You do have to know what you’re doing when you’re picking blackberries though. Keep reading to learn more about when and how to pick blackberries.

Picking Blackberries

When to harvest blackberries depends very drastically upon what kind of climate they’re growing in. Blackberries are very heat and frost tolerant, and as a result, they can be grown virtually all over. Their ripening time varies based on their location.

  • In the southern United States, prime blackberry harvesting time is usually in spring or early summer.
  • In the Pacific Northwest, it’s late in the summer through the first frost of autumn.
  • Throughout most of the rest of the United States, however, prime blackberry season is July and August.

Some varieties of blackberry are also known as ever bearing and they produce one crop on their old growth canes in the summer and a second crop on their new growth canes in the fall.

Blackberry Harvesting

Blackberry harvesting needs to be done by hand. The berries must be picked when they’re ripe (when the color has changed from red to black). The fruit will only last about a day after it is picked, so either refrigerate or eat it as soon as possible. Never pick wet blackberries, as this will encourage them to mold or squish. The season for harvesting blackberry plants usually lasts about three weeks, during which time they should be picked two to three times per week. Depending upon the variety, a single plant can produce between 4 and 55 pounds (2-25 kg.) of fruit.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.