Has anyone had success growing thornless blackberries in zone 5 or colder?, Most growers around me have them in hoophouses, but I’d like to grow them outside if possible. I read on Nourse Farms website that Chester is hardy to zone 5, and wonder if that’s true. Thanks
I grow Triple Crown, Chester, Natchez and Apache. They keep growing until the freeze in the autumn, so immature tips often do not survive the winter. Occasionally the whole canes get frozen, but they produce berries every year anyway, more than I need. They are planted in the ground and I do not protect them. I think that the quiet location without wind is the best.
One zone five is different from another? Where are you? I’m in 6a and have had all mentioned grow, but one year none produced, all canes died from the cold. Micro climate helps. Lochness is rated to zone 6 but is an exceptional thornless. TC is good, but I prefer Lochness. Chester is hardy but I would say it has the least desirable flavor.
Natchez too, I myself like it the least. I never grew Apache, I have navaho and it’s like Triple Crown but not as good a grower. I would try TC, Lochness, and Chester just in case.
I’m done 7b/8a but we jusyvwent through a terribly long cold (for Metro Vancouver) winter with temps below freezing for almost 3 months and lows of -15c (5f). And my thornless blackberries didnt even notice…
They’re a couple weeks behind but I should be eating the first ones in 3 or 4 days and within a week or two, I’ll have blackberries coming out the wahzoo!
You don’t need a hoophouse. If your temps go well below zero (not sure what the crucial temp is) you can pull the canes down and cover with leaves- just make sure you control rodents. You can use a short temp fence to keep leaves from blowing away.
It gets down to -10 or -15f just about every year here. Sometimes its even colder. Antmary, you said that occassionally the whole cane freezes back but they still produce. How is that possible?, I thought they were making fruit on floricanes, not on primocanes.
It is as much about the state of the plants at the time as the actual temps. Preceding temps have lots to do with a plants ability to withstand a severe cold stretch. I’ve seen common varieties, such as Triple Crown, frozen to the ground in temps in the negative upper single digits several times. I believe that extremely mild winters with sudden devastating dips may be the new normal.
Back in the '90’s we had a test winter with lows below -20 that killed even native thorny blackberries to the ground.
Just my guess. She stated that the canes freeze but I think that only the tender ends died back. That was how I interpreted it.
May be not for all varieties. They usually have undamaged part closer to the ground or even under ground and they send shoots with the flowers from there. Chester does it for me. I have to say that we usually do not have a lot of snow during the winter. In the places with good snow cover they will probably survive better.
I think sometimes in warmer zones it’s worse as it goes from nice to terrible quicker. Often warmer in zone 7 when the cold hits, whereas here in 6a/5b it’s already cold and the plant is ready. I agree, makes a huge difference.
I’ve had Triple Crown and Chester in the ground and are on their third leaf (year three.) Mine are planted in exposed locations to howling prairie winds and doing great.
On another thread the cultivar ‘Baby Cakes’ (zone 4) was brought up. Seems like the perfect size shrub thornless blackberry but only if the flavor is very good. Chester is water-bitter in flavor. Triple Crown is tasty and sweet.
Chester will become compost.
Here Chester is OK, not great it’s certainly not watery. Is pretty good fully ripe. I’m keeping mine. It has a lot of flavor here. I’m cautious as I lost all canes to all blackberries one year, It was too cold too long. A week of below zero weather did it. All stone fruit buds were killed too. Every single one on all stone fruit. My raspberries were hurt, but not all, many fruited.
@Drew51 I’m going to stop planting raspberries as much as I love them. Japanese beetles are too much of a problem Since Japanese beetles do not touch my thornless blackberries, that’s what I’m going to plant a ton more of. Gonna take time because I have been getting my raspberries from my Mom and sister.
I’m really interested in ‘Baby Cakes’. Until I buy a plant or hear from others about its flavor, I will hold off. a 4’ x 4’ shrub thornless blackberry has the same dimensions as my raspberries. Black raspberries a bit larger than reds, but ballpark is great.
You know all gardening is certainly local.
Here the beetles go for the thornless as much as the raspberries, and black raspberries are way smaller than reds. Unless you mean the plants? Slightly larger plants, fruit is smaller.
I saw something very good to see this year. The local sparrows have been eating the Japanese beetles. They are the lightest I ever seen them. I only see a handful everyday.
They must have peak years. They were light at my place this year.
I meant the plants, yes.
I have 20’ of Black raspberries and 6-8’ wide. I have I"m guessing 60’ of red raspberries and 6-8’ wide. I have room in these two long rows to add at least 200’ of more berry plants. Originally I was going to go with Triple Crown because my sister has them now suckering beautifully on their third leaf. Dig a few at a time and move them here.
I could spray beetles everyday. It’s not too bad but they have completely defoliated a few trees.
Another 1 1/8" of rain over night means lots of them arriving tomorrow.
Congratulation on sparrows eating them. You couldn’t be more lucky.
About time something went well. The SWD is terrible here this year. They are pretty much destroying my blackberry crop. Yields are way down as ripe berries are no good. I have to pick early to get anything. I will be killing them all eventually. Waiting for a product to make it here. I guess it will be here tomorrow as Amazon packages are delivered on Sundays.
I do grow early types like Boysenberry and Tayberry before SWD got here. Yields were good.
The rain missed us again, dry as ever. Bone dry here.
JB love ripe blackberries. I cannot enjoy fully ripe blackberries because they infest them.
Wow, my Amazon packages are never delivered on Sundays. UPS is the only carrier for Amazon for me.
Have you or anyone grown thimbleberry and can comment on their fruit flavor?
No SWD problems for me.
Going to be spraying Japanese beetles today and tomorrow and likely the day after and the day after that. I walked my property yesterday evening and there were enough beetles to warrant a gallon of malathion to be made. I thought to myself, just spray tomorrow. It was 7pm or nearly then, yesterday.