Mac Black raspberry

I saw this one on Indiana Berry co. website . Anyone try this one . Rated zone 3 . Thinking of ordering it for my property in zone 3b .

I have them planted but Im in zone 6A. Got them from Indiana Berry too. This variety works better for me than Jewel. They are about 2 weeks later in ripening than Jewel.

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If I ever can find room, I’m going to have to try Mac Black. I tried Allen, Niwot, and Jewel. Jewel I think tastes the best. The plant though is not a prolific producer. Maybe once it’s more established? Allen looked very promising, but last years crop produced a number of dry berries. Niwot has 2 crops. The primocane fall crop was terrible in taste. The summer crop was very good. Strange how that happens with this one. A cross of Niwot is out there that produces better fall berries.
All seem to produce about the same time as Jewel. Having a slightly later producer would be nice. I think black raspberries make a killer jam. I also forage wild ones, and those too produce a killer jam.

Both my black raspberry varieties took a bit longer to get established but they are both growing well now. I still have a gallon of black berries frozen for jam-making this winter. Black Mac had the larger berries and slightly better flavor than my Jewel black raspberries. They both took -12F last year and had no damage at all.

Yea another good thing about them is they are extremely winter hardy. I had one of those wild yellow caps in a pot last year, outside, and it survived and grew like crazy! I’m leaving it out again. Well it’s in a fabric bag, which is a much better option for plants outside. The sides breath and such.

I have had Jewel for several years and like it . Planted Niwot this past spring . Did not get very large this year but tip rooted several plants . Should get to try some next year . Thanks for the info .

@jtburton, good to see you here! I greatly enjoyed your blackberry threads over on GW.

I’ve had many blacks over the years and they all taste the same to me. Maybe I’m not paying enough attention.

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I honestly can’t see much difference in taste either . They are all good . I will trial Niwot and Jewell in my zone 3b . Plus I planted a seedling black there last summer . Probably a Jewel seedling . It came up in a pot here . So birds planted it . Could also be from some local wild blacks . The local wild reds in 3b are not very large . Not really worth picking in quantity . So I will add some domestic reds . I really like brambles . Since retirement I make several trips each summer up north . Going to build a cabin possibly in 2017 . For now a large pole building and a camper . Did some clearing with a rented bobcat last summer . So now I can plant some fruit . If i time my trips right I can have fresh berries here the have some up north . Their season lags behind home a couple of weeks .

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Part of it may be influence of the apparent ‘seediness’ factor. My Mac Black’s are larger and seem less seedy than the smaller, Jewel black raspberries because there is more berry volume to balance out the seeds. At least that’s my theory :slight_smile: Both of black raspberries look good going into the winter.

Is Mac Black early enough to escape SWD?

It’s a summer black, so it might be OK, depends when it ripens, which is late mid season, which is in mid-July, I think.

If @jtburton or @jerry63 see this, maybe they could comment. I don’t know if @Drew51 has grown it or not.

I’m planning on adding MB this year.

I had to check my notes, but Mac Black finishes up by the end of the first week in July (about a 2-3 week picking period) in Northern KY, that is several weeks before SWD becomes a problem. Actually. I have not seen much SWD in the last two years, so maybe nature has balanced it out in my location. :slight_smile:


Thanks Jeremy. Do you have time to give us a report on how yer various berries did this year? I don’t know of anyone else on this forum who grows as many as you do.

I’m ordering some rasps and blacks for this year and was wondering how yours have done, since you’re not that far from me.


Let’s say that I have some lessons learned this last year. Although it has been a few years in the making, I finally reached the tipping point where I have to admit that I have too many berry plants to provide the proper care. As a result, many of my berry plants just did not do that well.

It started in 2016 with a very wet Spring and it happened again in 2017. My raspberries have pretty much been wiped out with root rot. Despite having them planted in raised beds, a long wet period and clay soil allowed root rot to take hold. I’m starting over in 2018 with two new beds with new soil. I have not finalized my raspberry selections but I will most likely plant Cascade Delight (red) and Royalty (purple) again. Both varieties grow well, produce a good volume of berries, and make really good jam.

I really like Black Mac Black Raspberries but mine just did not produce a large volume of berries. If you are going to grow black raspberries, adding both Jewell and Black Mac will provide about 4-5 weeks of berry production.

My Eastern (Erect and Semi-Erect) did well this year and I added about 15 new plants as replacements for some of my Triple Crown blackberry plants that died from -12F cold 3 years ago. Osage continues to work well for me. A good producer, hardy growth, and an above average berry flavor make it a winner. Ouachita continues to produce reasonably well but the flavor is only average. Prime Ark 45 continues to impress me with two berry productions per year and has decent flavor. Getting fresh blackberries in October in Kentucky seems unnatural but it makes a good story (and a good snack).

Assuming my newer plants make it through this winter (already had a -5F night), I will have Vonn, SweetiePie, Natchez, and more Osage next year. I’m considering adding another row of a thornless Prime Ark to boost my Fall production. I have a couple of declining Triple Crown plants that are now past their prime. The berry flavor is still really good but that variety tends to trail all over the place and is harder to contain. If I had fewer plants and/or more time, I would probably manage those better.

Trailing Blackberries.
Still have Boysen, Newberry, a Loganberry, and several Wyeberry plants. None are big producers but do provide a really good berry flavor to sample. Well, maybe not the Loganberry. :wink: I have a variety from the UK called Fantasia and it grew like crazy this year but it is almost as thorny as Kotata and not easy to keep maintained. I probably had 40ft of canes on one plant but I doubt I will get anything off of it due to the cold weather.

I still have several black currants that are growing well, a couple of gooseberry plants, and about a dozen blueberry bushes (Northern Highbush and Rabbiteye).

Probably the two most challenging issues I have, beyond the weather, are red neck cane borers and a highly aggressive species of grass that suffocates my plants. I treated many of the plants with pesticide early this year for cane borers and it seems to have reduced their impact. Next year I’m waging war on the weeds / grasses.


Wow, thanks for that detailed report. This will be helpful in me selecting some of my berry plants. Sorry to hear about your rasps, I think our soil is more loamy, but I’ll prob need to make raised beds for them and the blacks.

My tentative raspberry selections include: Prelude, Killarney, Nova reds, Mac Black and Bristol blacks, and Royalty purple.

My blackberry possibilities are: Osage, PA Freedom and Traveler, maybe Ouachita, and Triple Crown.

I’d like to also give Marion and Boysen a shot, even tho this isn’t the best climate for them.

Where do you get your plants from? Is your Boysenberry the thorny or thornless variety?

I planted 4 gooseberries last spring, one of them (Hinnomaki Red) didn’t make it. It came to me with very little roots on it, just a little twig. But, the other three plants seemed to do well, although none of them are more than a foot tall. I would think it’ll be next year before I get any fruit off them. Same as my blueberries, although they put on better growth than the GB’s.

Although I prob won’t grow them (I think I’ll have enough of other fruits), are any of your black currants good to eat fresh, or are they usually used for preserves, jams, etc?

Thanks again for the reply.

Edit: never mind about the Boysenberry question, I saw a post you sent last year that stated it was a thorny version.

A number of online retailers sell Marion but I have purchased it from the following:,, and Scenic Hill also sells Cascade Delight rootstock which is an good way to get that variety started quickly and for a low cost. You should give Cascade Delight a try. It’s the only raspberry variety that I have tried that produces fruit at the same (or similar) volume as blackberries and they are large berries.

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Thanks JT. I’ll check out those sites.

You mentioned in another post that the better tasting berries are Marion, Boysen, Siskiyou and Newberry, but they have a hard time here. Are you talking about their winter hardiness, and if so, which seem be the best in that regard?

One last question, after planting, when did your gooseberries start producing? Which one would consider best tasting and the best producer?

Thanks again.

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@Drew51, while I was looking thru the one green world site, I noticed they are selling Jewel gooseberry. Weren’t you looking for that variety?

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Yes, I found a couple places, Kinda steep at OGW. I have to limit my buying. I hope to pick it up. I found another that looks cool. Langley Gage gooseberry. It supposed to be white, with good flavor. I never grew Mac Black, but looks interesting I have Jewel black, and two niwot offspring growing right now.
I found some low light types for my cottage I want to pick up too. So not sure how far my budget will go this year?

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@subdood_ky_z6b Winter hardiness is the primary challenge. The plants grow fine in NKY during the summer months but to get them through the winter, you will need to protect them. Since all of these are ‘trailing’ varieties, you can place them on the ground, cover them with loose straw and cover the straw with a cloth row cover. That will get them through the winter. Hungry rodents can be hard on them during the winter months (e.g. they will gnaw the canes). During the summer (in NKY) there is not much I do special to get them to grow. Cane borers are the only real summer-time issue I have for trailing blackberries. Newberry and Boysen are the most cold hardy. Siskiyou is hard to cover because the canes are not that flexible and tend to break easily. Marion has the best flavor but is also the least cold hardy.

My gooseberries produced the next year but I bought 2-year old plants. Gooseberries and Black Currants tend to not like really hot temperatures, so partial shade during the day seems to help. I had Hinnomaki Red and Poorman. I thought the flavor was similar…kind of tangy ( I like sour /tangy). The surprise is the skin is kind of thick, so that is noticeable right away. Ground squirrels like them, so it’s tough to keep them away.

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