Best Thornless blackberry?

Try Osage. Better flavor than most of the erect thornless varieties and easier to care for than TC. It blooms around the same time as Ouachita, so it’s before SWD in my area. I’m going to add several more this Spring.


Good to see you here JT! Cool! This winter I have been cooking a lot with blackberries. Even though fresh some are less than desirable. I’m finding little if any difference cooked. I made this coffee cake with blackberries, some of my worst tasting fresh berries, and it’s to die for. I was going to rip out a bunch, but now I think I’m going to keep them. So intended use is important in any decision.
On SWD which hit my yard this year, I want to try some novel approaches. Like coating berries with food grade DE. It is easy to wash off, and very safe to consume anyway. It should kill the fruitflies on contact. I have heard they can smell insecticides and avoid the area, this stuff is odorless and organic. Also nutritious supplying silicon an often neglected trace element. Silicon supplements are sold and are supposed to have great advantages in the health of plants. One problem is once wet in no longer works. So would often have to be reapplied. It is cheap though. Besides all this I’m not finding worm laden fruits such a big deal for my own consumption. If you put them in the fridge before freezing the worms migrate out. Hair size in diameter, barely even noticeable.

I don’t have any frozen blackberries this year due to this last extra cold winter but I do have quite a few raspberries (purple, red, and black). I do agree that for cooking or just adding to uncooked food, like my morning cereal, the berry flavor doesn’t matter that much.

I’m going to add 3-5 Osage and another 3-5 Natchez. Osage because it is a good combination of taste, ease of care, and early producer. Natchez because it is early and a high producer. I still have several TC’s but lost about have of them to the cold last year. TC has great flavor, productive, but the soft berry is easily damaged by SWD. The Prime Ark45 blackberries seem to hold up better to SWD because of their tougher skin.

There is a new thornless blackberry “Sweetie Pie” that I might trial. It is supposed to be sweet but the berry is soft and ripens late.

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Sounds like an excellent combination to me. Natchez btw has huge berries and I found to be the most winter hardy. Two years ago it was the only blackberry to have canes that survived the winter, although most died on it too. Last year i sprayed them with wilt stop. Covered with as many leaves as possible. Sometimes just the base on uprights. And wrapped burlap around them. It worked, all of them had canes this year. Very little dieback, and loads of blackberries.

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I put a single Triple Crown and a Chester in a year and a 1/2 ago (fall 2014) on the windy prairies here in 5b IL. Both came back very well. The Triple Crown I got from my friend 20 miles away align his fence each summer with tall 6’ + canes that come up from the roots every year. Chester also came from his garden. Chester doesn’t have nearly the vigor that Triple Crown does… shorter canes and not nearly as rampant in spreading.


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I plan to try Natchez, Apache, and Triple Crown in z6b Md.

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I love the ‘bite’ that Ouachita has. It is a very strong, upright, thornless variety that tastes of pure blackberry with a tang, (not sour), and cooks into a delicious jam with little sugar. The berries are almost the size of ping-pong balls! Just another opinion.


Navaho is my favorite for taste but Ouachita is by far my most consistent, it is also very upright with huge canes. They are my second favorite for taste. The thick canes may help with the cold but I have no experience with that.


On in 6a, but zones don’t mean much TC and Chester floricanes both died to the ground 2 years ago. It was way too cold for them.

I have tried
Triple Crown
Columbia Star
Black Diamond
Burbank’s white
Nettleon’s Creamy white
I’ll get a taste of Newberry next year
I added a few others this fall too.
Siskiyou, Darrow, Kotata, and Wild Treasure.
As far as taste the only berries I really like a lot are Tayberries and Marionberries.
The Tays taste like raspberries, I only had a few. So I may change my mind. The canes are not very hardy. It’s the only one that suffered last year. The rest produced like mad.Marion is just unreal, the best ever. It is by far the best tasting I have ever had. It’s amazing when fully ripe.
Boysen and wyeberries are a touch tart, but make an excellent jam. Even though i got a lot of them, most were eaten fresh this year, any i saved were mixed with others for jam and cooking. Next year I’ll keep them separate.
The white blackberries are super sweet, but berries are very small and not prolific so far. Nettleton’s only produced one cane this year, it’s not a prolific grower. At least not yet.

Darn, another now I’ll have to try. Osage sounds good too!

Many i grow are not that hardy so I’m going to protect them best i can. Some are in pots as I’m out of room.

One berry I’m very curious about is the wild yellow cap. I never tasted a yellow black raspberry before. I will have berries next year. And this thing is super hardy too. It is local so well adapted to the area. The berries are huge too, not small wild berries.


Ouachita is large but the flavor is similar to grocery store berries - Sorry mrsg47…they are fine for fresh eating or processing…just average for flavor. I have 5 plants and I don’t regret planting them…they are easy to maintain and reliable.

Drew - You’ll like Siskiyou for flavor…not as good as Marion…but very good and large berries too.


Yes, looking forward! I know other good berries are out there, but I think I’m done adding any for awhile. I have way too many as is. I’m happy even with the average berries.
The thorny ones are a pain to handle, I use suede gloves and they protect you well.
I need to lay down some canes without breaking them to bury in leaves. The next few days I’ll be working on that. I want to spray them with wilt stop. i was hoping more leaves would be gone. They appear not to be losing them, at least some. I have noticed the older plants are more adapted and have lost most of their leaves.
The tayberry grew well this year, and I need to get that one especially on the ground. I want more of those berries! I have about 8 yard waste bags full of shredded leaves to use to cover plants. Unshredded may be better, but all i have is shredded.
Sometimes the canes break moving them, and they have to be moved again back up in the spring. i know certain cultivars are brittle, and I will just leave the canes as is.

I have a nice Tayberry plant that I’m overwintering but I have not yet had fruit on it yet. I may let my Loganberry freeze though. I’m really curious to try my hybrid Wild Treasure blackberry fruit, assuming it doesn’t freeze. Currently, other than finding a Nightfall Blackberry, I’m probably going to not plant anything ‘experimental’ this coming year. I have tried almost all of the commercial Western trailing blackberries.

I have a supply of pine needles to use to help cover plants plus the Agribon row covers. I’m trying 4-mil plastic sheeting this year to form a tunnel over the trailing berries in the garden. I also purchased an A/C powered temperature controller and a mini-heater to use to form a heated shelter for potted wild treasure blackberry plants. I have a large plastic sheet to cover them and will run a weather proof extension cord to power the temperature controller and heater. Will probably set the temperature thresholds at 20F (start) and 30F(stop). What I’m really hoping for is a warm winter this year. :slight_smile:

I got my first taste of Newberry this year- just a few on a 2nd year vine. They were very good and reminded me of Boysenberries, just a bit sweeter. I did lose some to the birds, something I haven’t noticed much with other blackberries.

This past weekend, I spent almost an hour untangling and laying out the canes for a single Newberry. It grew to an incredible degree, with more than 20 canes reaching 12’ or more. One cane topped 20’, with a bunch of others in the 15’ range. I’m going to need to install a much bigger support for it next year. This year I just tied it to a single post.

Sorry to go slightly off-topic, as Newberry is actually pretty thorny. My favorite thornless is Triple Crown (much better flavor than Apache and Ouachita), though I planted a bunch of others this past spring.

Hopefully some will be almost as good and earlier to avoid SWD:
Prime Ark Freedom

Sounds perfect. I just planted mine this spring. It’s in a huge container, so I can control it a touch better. I’m worried about it being too tender here, so it’s in the garage along with Marionberry.

Yes me too! So far so good, I love it! Yeah let us how how the heating goes.
I still have work to do with the blackberry canes. Next week looks better. I did prep my fruit trees today. Some compost, and mulch. The compost won’t break down till spring. Although will break down a bit sooner this way. I put leaves around the trees too, and the compost holds them in place. On top a bit of straw. I scored ton’s this year from Halloween decorations throughout the neighborhood. So many bales I’m going to do some straw bale gardening next year. I also added manganese sulfate as my soil seems to lack this mineral.
I noticed a deficiency 2 years ago, and this year in my in ground raspberries. Well i think that is what the problem is? We will see…

20 feet! Bonkers!


Did you do anything to protect your Newberries, or did they come through last winter unscathed without help?

I have a few Newberry blackberry plants too. They are quite vigorous and fairly hardy compared to other Western trailing blackberries. They will start to get cane damage if uncovered once the temperatures get into the lower teens. I had mine covered with some straw and Agribon row covers last winter and they survived -12F last year and produced a decent crop.

Drew, could you elaborate on your blackberry winter prep?
My attempts: Winter 2013-2014. Extreme. -20’s. Overwintered several potted varieties in unheated workshop. All survived, All had severe die back and produced very little fruit the following summer. Winter 2014-2015. Again, an extreme winter. -20’s. Unlike the previous winter, It got bitter cold (not below 10, but cold, windy, and snow) overnight in November. I was away. I hadn’t prepared the plants for winter yet and I feared that they weren’t fully dormant when they got slammed. I drug most of the plants into the unheated workshop after that. However, as a trial I had planted a boysenberry in ground and potted one. The potted one I drug indoors. The in ground boysenberry I laid on the ground and covered with leaves. On the -20 degree days, I added a little heat to the workshop. All plants survived the winter without die back. Some did suffer some fruit loss. The in ground boysenberry covered with leaves was the clear winner compared to the potted one in the garage.

Well I’m still learning too, and this is excellent info Isoh. I always assumed the garage would be better, mine is attached to the house, so it does not get stone cold in there. So that may be an advantage. I have a two story house and the roof of the garage is just below a bedroom. So one side wall and the south facing front door are the only exposed walls.
The biggest thing I think that helped was using Wilt Stop. the Triple Crown, Chester etc. cannot be covered totally with leaves, although I covered a good foot or two of the base. Yet little to no cane dieback. I also half-ass wrapped them in burlap. It might prevent drying winds? We got to -16 here.
So I need to put as many canes on the ground, spray with wilt stop and cover with s many leaves as possible. Also wrap burlap around any canes not covered with wilt stop. Row cover is just as good.

I didn’t do anything special to protect them, but they were all laying on the ground, so they were probably covered by snow for most of the worst cold (around -9F last winter, the coldest in the 5 years I’ve been growing fruit). This year, I’m planning to cover them with some leaves, and maybe some Stop Wilt.

After all, I spent quite a while untangling them, so I’d like to see a good yield. In terms of a trellis, I have an old ~9’ tall arch that the previous owners used for a rose. I figure that I can spread 15’ of canes over it in an upside down U shape. Sounds like a much better use for it than growing beans again :smile:

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