Should my blackberries be planted outside in this weather?

Good morning! :slightly_smiling:

My Nelson blackberry plants from Fedco arrived four days ago! I had to keep them waiting while I got through a week of exams, and they’ve been indoors at about 45 degrees Fahrenheit, with the roots kept in moist shredded paper under plastic, and appear to still be dormant. We’ve been having weeks of warm weather followed by hard frosts here in zone 5b, and it snowed last night. Should I plant them outside anyway? Nelson is supposed to be hardy in Maine, but I’ve never grown blackberries and I don’t want to accidentally freeze them.

Here’s something to brighten the thread: flowers on a >20 year old pear rootstock growing on the farm. It smells wonderful!


I just recently started growing blackberries myself, and all I can tell you is I planted mine (a total of 27 plants in 4 varieties, 23 as bare root stems, 4 as TC plugs) planting started of the first 17 while we were still getting occasional nights dropping into the mid to upper 20’s and all but two of mine are thriving, those two were slow to start growing, but are still alive with small leaves now.

p.s. I did no protective mulching

Pear blossoms smelling wonderful?

I was trapped in a car with sprig of pear blossoms once, and very thankful that the trip was short. They saturated the air with the scent of a mixture of aged human urine and male cat spray. I did not think it was wonderful. :frowning:


I was about to ask why pear varieties you have. I have a mix of E. and A. pears. None of their blossoms smell anywhere closer to nice.

What, pear blossoms smell bad? Haha, pears do so poorly here that I didn’t even know that! I don’t know what this tree is. I’m told that the tree was originally a pear until it died back to the roots, and I have been calling what grew back from the roots a pear rootstock. The roots must be at least thirty years old at this point. It seems to be dwarfed, and it puts on a big show of flowers every spring just as the apple trees are barely starting to show a bit of green. It never sets any fruit and it doesn’t get fireblight. It can’t be a quince if it’s so resistant to fireblight, can it?

1 Like

Thank you! That helps!

Yeah if dormant, freezing weather is no big deal. I have been looking for Nelson, if you ever want to trade for other plants, let me know. Like I have black raspberries, and even have a yellow black raspberry, currants, gooseberries, honeyberries, pineberries, elderberries, red and yellow raspberries, etc.
I really don’t want to buy 3 Nelsons from Fedco, One can be propagated into many.
If anybody has Nelson and would consider a trade, let me know! I would have to plan it out for next fall or spring, by propagation via tip rooting etc.
I need it for breeding. I want to try and make the west coast blackberries more hardy. In general the west coast cultivars taste a lot better.

1 Like

Oh good! It’s great to hear that I can get them in the ground. Thank you!

You know I might be interested in trading. I’ve never done it before because I’m just getting started. Do you think that mine would have enough growth to be useful for propagation in that time frame? That sounds like a cool breeding project.

Yes,it could, but it might not either. Even if we have to wait till 2017 that’s fine. What you need to do is any cane that grows up and then heads back down, stick the tip 2 inches into soil in a pot. Leave it there all winter if you have to. next spring, cut it at about 6 inches.
Normally you would prune the cane at 4 feet and that will keep it upward, don’t do that, let it grow back down and do the tip rooting. I have had about 50% grow that much in one year, and 50% not grow enough to root. Yeah patience is something you need in this hobby. I waited three years for fruit on my trees. And three were fantastic, two were not and are going to be replaced. [quote=“MultifloraRose, post:8, topic:5307”]
That sounds like a cool breeding project.

I needed a year to learn germination techniques. Brambles are hard to germinate. This year I have seeds coming up for the first time. Last year all seeds failed to germinate. As a matter of fact one sprouted today! Yes! I’m also trying to breed an orange raspberry. I crossed a yellow with a red hoping to get an orange. It might not work although I know of orange raspberries, and hoping it will work. I’ll grow as many plants as I can out, and see if any are orange. I still will probably keep the plants anyway. Again it will be 2-3 years before I know if I failed or succeeded.I’ll contact you by PM.

hey drew. i came across this thread and thought you might be interested. i found what i though was a wild black rasp. patch on a old dirt road near me. i wanted to see what the berries were like before i took cuttings, so i went back a few weeks ago and the bushes were full of blackberries! they were a little bigger than a wild raspberry but there were many fruit and the canes are only about 5ft. and only have a small thorn every 6-8in. i picked 4 handfuls and didn’t get a scratch. i have about 8 cuttings of them in peat/ sand starting to root right now. once they take good i can send you several if your interested. these are at least z 3b hardy and the only blackberry I’ve seen grow in this area in my 46 yrs. a great find as I’ve wanted to grow blackberries forever! these shouldn’t need babying at all. let me know.


I hope you still remember this posting from a while back. How do these berries taste? Any cultivars you would compare them to?

This sounds amazing! How are your little guys doing now?

I was thinking about ordering these this year, but held off. I’m sure warmer summers would give better sugar production and probably better flavor. If you ended up getting fruit, would you mind updating us on the flavor & any other thoughts?