Recommendations regarding blackberries for South Georgia Zone 8b

OK, I’m breading another rule I’ve made for myself. I want to add some blackberries to my orchard. I only have space for six to twelve plants and not necessarily space for really huge plants. What would you recommend for a good variety that will take our heat, humidity and disease pressure and that will be pretty easy to contain. I have enough thorny weeds trying to take over my yard without adding a new one. I’m less worried about thorns than I am about having a good quality productive variety that wont turn my yard into a briar patch in a couple of years. Thanks and God bless.


I grow most of the Arkansas blackberries and they do well for me. Ouachita is my most consistent and healthiest, Navaho is my best tasting true blackberry. Freedom’s summer crop does well but don’t expect much of a fall crop in our climate. If you can trellis then try Newberry, it has done well and taste great. It is a blackberry raspberry hybrid. I would avoid Triple Crown and the western blackberries.

If you prune your blackberries and don’t let the tips touch the ground they won’t spread much. I suggest getting several different varieties and then over the years replace the ones you don’t like.
I have Navaho, Ouachita, Osage, Natchez, Kiowa, Prime Jan, Ark 45, Freedom and Newbery and I am adding Von. I have removed Triple Crown and will probably remove the Prime Jan and Ark 45.

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I have not found one that is not huge, they all grow into giant monsters.
The ones I like the best are always the ones that will make you bleed. Some exceptions are Columbia Star (the new Columbia Giant may be a better choice?) and Lock Ness. Both thornless. Lock Ness is semi-upright, and star is trailing, and related to newberry so might be worth trying there. I can’t suggest any really as I’m the anti-Georgia here as far as weather cold and dry! Comparing star to Navaho Star is better, but a smaller berry, seems slightly more productive too. Comparing Navaho to Ness, Ness is just as big and is better.This one goes from super tart to super sweet once fully ripe.Not that productive though.
The trailing thorny blackberries to me are exceptional, all western. Marion, Siskiyou, Boysen, wyeberry, tayberry are all exceptional wonderful tasting berries.
I have only tried Navaho for the Arkansas berries, it’s good, but not excellent. I’m keeping it. feel it is good enough easy to grow, and this one is not a monster! I think we have a winner!

An issue for me is going to be orange rust. There are quite a few wild ones around that have it. I would imagine that resistance to rust will be important. God bless.


I do get some of that but it is a bigger issue on my figs.

I am in 8b in SW Louisiana and I am growing 5 (maybe 4) varieties of thronless blackberries, (Prime Ark Traveler, Ouachta, Osage, Sweetie Pie and attempting Prime Ark Freedom). I say attempting Prime Ark Freedom as I planted these last year and lost all 4 or 5 plants, I just replanted 5 more and will see how they do. Out of the others Osage seems to have the best growth here, followed closely be Prime Ark Traveler and Ouachita. If I had it to do over again I would probably skip the Prime Ark Travelers, I find the berries too tough.

I heard these are good berries, always wanted to try it.

LOL, I never did plant those blackberries, but now I am going to plant a patch. Someone mentioned trellising Newberry, a black raspberry hybrid can work if it is trellised. How would the trellis look? Also is there a black raspberry that would take Zond 8B. I know they sometimes carry them at the local nursery but never really trusted that they would work in SE Georgia. There are some wild Rubus hirsuta with rust around my yard, that’s why I mentioned the importance of rust resistance. I imagine that this would be very important in my yard.

Can’t help much here, I have never heard of Newberry, though there seem to be few raspberries that can handle the heat of 8b. Nothing much has changed here since my reply above, my blackberries have gotten bigger, Osage is still my best, if not largest one, and I did add 4 Itsaul Summer Raspberries a few months ago, these are from Georgia and are billed as an everbearing red raspberry that will grow in 8b.

Thank you for the info. Please keep us updated on how those raspberries do. I’m putting in 4 P.A. Freedom, 4 Natchez, 8 Ouachita, 6 Osage and 7 Kiowa. My goal is to have a long season and to see if anyone stands out. This represents a reduction in the size of my muscadine vineyard. I figured that I will give these blackberries three years and then reevaluate whether I want to add more brambles at the expense of muscadine vines. Maybe by then you will be able to say whether that raspberry is a go or not. God bless.

Well Newberry is a blackberry, trailing thornless. I like one line at 3 foot and one at 5 feet. You have to put them on yourself as they naturally trail on the ground. I make loops I can move to the ground in fall.Newberry is one of the best blaackberries out there. I ripped all of my thornless blackberries out. I feel all have a certain taste, and unless fully ripe, is off putting to me. Plus most ripen at the height of SWD. I now only grow trailing thorny types like Newberry. I find the flavor of these types outstanding. I grew Siskiyou, newberry, Marion, and tayberry.

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Thank you for the information. Right now I’m going with the erect blackberries mentioned above. From the best that I can gather, they are the ones that have the best chance in my climate. The iffy one in my mind is P.A. Freedom, but we shall see. It’s only 4 plants out of 30. God bless.


I have not tried the primocane fruiting types here. Not hardy enough and too upright to protect. All the trailing type are not really hardy here either, but I can protect them, and if protected they will fruit just fine. Oh I also grow Wyeberry another trailing type.

It’s really nice when you discover what works for you. It took me a long time, but now I’m super happy with what I got. Thorns are a huge pain, but the fruit is so amazing I don’t care. All the plants I mentioned have some raspberry in them. I prefer the taste of the hybrids. Newberry marion, and siskiyou are more blackberry and you wouldn’t know they are hybrids from taste. Whereas wyeberry tastes like it’s half raspberry, half blackberry. tayberry has a flavor all it’s own, almost strawberry like. Marion has a rich blackberry taste and is by far the best blackberry i ever tasted. Siskiyou is close, and new berry has both raspberry and blackberry flavor, outstanding rich flavor, To me the thornless types are terrible compared to these. The only one I liked was Columbia Star. All the same I removed it, it was not as good as those mentioned.Well navaho and Triple Crown are very good fully ripe, but slightly under ripe are not good. Whereas the ones I grow are good under ripe. Depends what you want them for. I make syrups and juices myself besides fresh eating. So grow what I like, grow what works for you. Best try yourself too and not take anybodies word. Some fruit people dogged is my favorite in some cases like Dapple Dandy Pluot, or Flavor Queen pluot. I love those! Many find them boring.

I think you have a good plan sticking with erect ones. The trailing ones don’t like heat. I have a few 1/4th trailing hybirds, thats about the best I can do in my area.

I am currently on break from blackberries, I need a big area to put only them in so I can net the whole thing with one big net. I had them here and there and got tired of the piecemeal netting.

I had Osage on your list, its a fine berry.

Just a few general comments, you say you plan a 3 year evaluation period, you might want to push that to 4 years, I planted my first thornless blackberries right at 3 years ago, and feel this summers crop will be the first real test of them, the first year (3-5 months after planting) they provided at best a sampling of berries, the second year a bit better, but it was not until last summer in their third year that they really started to produce, also the growth habits have been becoming more and more erect with thicker and thicker stalks each year, with some variation depending on the variety (sweetie pie is at best semi-erect). As to the SWD, so far I have been lucky, and SWD has not really hit until the end of the season, in my case the PAF and PAT have the first fruit of the year as a floricane crop starting with a few berries in late April on the 8b/9a line in Louisiana, this rolls on into the Osage and Ouachita in late May/early June, and finally to the Sweetie Pies, so far SWD has not been a big issue until towards the end of the Osages, and into the middle of the Sweetie Pies. Then if I am lucky and if we had a a cooler summer I get a few primocane fruit off the PAT and PAF, though to date this has been just a small sampling (maybe a couple of dozen berries last year) due to the the heat of our summers.

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I imagine most of my berries will be frozen and end up being mixed with low fat yogurt and eaten for breakfast or something similar. Some will end up in jam. I’ve recently been diagnosed diabetic, so I really can’t have much jam anymore. Going forward my jam making will be limited. That’s one of the reason for the sudden space for blackberries. My primary use for muscadines was sweetened muscadine juice and jams. I shouldn’t have much of either. I’m not taking out all my muscadines, but I am taking out half, and those are going to blackberries.

As for the two year evaluation, I as much as anything had in mind the question of just how many muscadines will I really consume? I could sell them or give them away easily enough, but I was wanting blackberries which will be way better for me than muscadines.

As for protecting the blackberries, I simply left the muscadine trellises in place. When the plants get big enough to need it, I will attach a two foot long board on the wooden posts about 3 1/2 foot up like a lower case T. Then I will connect the posts with wire on each end of the 2X4. I plan to maintain the canes at about 4 foot high. In the case of the thorny Kiowa, I may try a modified version of primocane suppression early in the season to make dealing with the thorns easier. I have enough blueberries, huckleberries and plums in the yard that I may not need to protect the blackberries so much. But if I do need to protect them, I think the old center wire at 6 feet will prove handy. I can drape the netting over it so that the birds don’t sit just sit on the netting and eat the berries underneath. But if my blackberry season runs from late April through early July, there will be lots of blueberries and huckleberries competing for the bird’s attention at least a lot of seasons. God bless.


I know I’ve asked you many questions in the past about your blackberries, but another is about how much suckering do you get with each of your varieties? Also, do your plants tend to get more upright as the years have passed?

I like thornless ouchita here near Houston. No other thornless have produced for me and I have tried many if not all. I pulled up the thorny kiowa as ouchita bears as heavily without thorns.

Suckering is going to happen with blackberries, the extent is going to depend on how well you control your vines, if you use ground cloth, etc. As to the erect growth issue, I touched on this a bit in my message earlier today, it does depend on variety and age. I am right at 3 years from planting for most of my varieties and I will make the following observations about each variety I grow, with the statement that they are still not fully mature:

the PAF and PAT’s have been the least vigorous spreading, and most of my PAF’s have failed with only 2 or 3 out of 10 that have been planted over the last 3 years surviving. They both tend towards overly long vines that have a hard time supporting themselves, I need to work better on tipping to encourage lateral growth on them next season.
chita is a bit more vigorous at spreading and overall growth compared to the PAT and PAF, they also are growing much thicker vines this last year, though strangely seem to be less erect in growth than the PAT and PAF.

Osage, here is the real erect growing variety, with vines reaching 4-5 ft unsupported, though will need support to handle berry weight (I plan to string in additional wires for support over the winter), very dense, bushy growth in all directions, also with much thicker vines this last year, much like Ouachita

Sweetie Pie (the only non U of A thornless blackberry I grow) has a very different growth pattern, does not naturally spread as much, and is only semi erect, though it also grows in clusters similar to Osage, I am growing these on a cattle panel trellis. A note on flavor here, sweetie pie is my sweetest blackberry, though the flavor is not as complex as Osage, which is my second sweetest.

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What is your soil like. I’m placing my PAF’s in a location where they will get a little shade when the sun is overheard. I think they will get full six ours of direct sunlight to be considered in full sun, but they will get a break from it. I’ve specifically chosen the PAFs for this spot thinking that on really hot days that they would appreciated a little break and that this might help survivability as well as fall fruiting. God bless.