Prime ark freedom in zone 5?

Hello everyone,
Back when I first started out gardening I purchased some PAF blackberries at my local garden center (not realizing they’re not truly rated for zone 5). They’ve survived year after year but the canes had so much winter damage that they only produced a few flowers each year. This year I decided to pull them out and some of the roots decided to fight me and produced an enormous amount of new blackberry plants. These new shoots are actually producing more blackberries than the floricanes did in previous years. Historically the primocanes never matured fruit fast enough before winter. Im wondering if I were to cut down all the canes each fall, would it stimulate early fruit production in the primocanes potentially allowing me to get a consistent crop?


My guess after reviewing the definition of “ What does Floricane mean?

noun Botany. a plant stem that grows for a year before bearing fruit and flowers, as in the bramble or raspberry.”
Is that your blackberries in the first year or so are forming a stronger root system, and at the end of your fruiting season, you need to prune off this seasons canes to allow all the remainder of the growing season to support the growth in next years fruiting canes. That is my experience with raspberries. Each fall as soon as my older canes begin to fade, I prune them off,then over the winter I place about 6” of horse manure and leaf cover over the bed followed by a Pre bud springtime top dressing of 3-16 that spring rains drive down to roots. I suspect you need to test about half of your berries with a similar treatment and compare next years production with prior practice. That should let you see if this works best.
Kent, wa

i tried it here in z4a as i couldnt get the canes to over winter here. its too bad too as PAF is the most vigorous growing cane fruit by far. never got 1 fruit to even start to color up before frost took them out. i doubt you will either. if you want a blackberry totally hardy to your zone, check out Nelson blackberries from Fedco. z4 rated. mine have never had any winter damage to the canes above the snow line. berries are smaller than most cultivars but are very prolific.

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I’ll definitely look into this variety, thank you! Did you ever try cutting down the primo/floricanes each year on your PAFs?

yes for 3 years before pulling them. they grew huge canes and many flowers/ berries but none came close to ripening. i tried everything including burying the primocanes in insulation, straw and snow. they all died.

Thanks again! Now i can feel less guilty about pulling them.

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