Western (trailing) blackberry report 2013
I have been trying many varieties of trailing blackberry looking for one that works for me. Here is how things did in the last 12 months.
Last summer was really hot and several of the varieties got extremely unhappy. All the plants that were in very shaded areas did better than the full sun ones, so that says the heat was too much for them. I had thought that hardiness would be my biggest problem, and while it is still a big problem I also need to look for high heat tolerance. Also it could be that I allocate more shady spots for them only and just put up with less yield. Note that I can also see a clear correlation on how the heat affected a plant and its hardiness, this is due to the heat setting back the vigor which causes the plant to not overwinter well.
Heres the low-down, these are grouped by hardiness.
Thorny Boysenberry - my one plant did fantastic, both grew well in heat and had zero dieback. Two more plants on order from berries unlimited.
Black Diamond - Grew reasonably well and little dieback. Also getting more of these. They took awhile to get established but seem to be on the path to being a winner.
Obsidian - I have had vigor problems on this variety, the leaves often get this curling in them. But, they appear to be reasonably hardy.
Kotata - This plant was hardy. Some plants did OK in the heat but some got badly fried.
NZ 9671-1 - This guy was about 80% surviving. It didn't like the heat but didn't get fried by it either.
Siskiyou - This variety has been good in past years but did poorly this winter. It also did not do well in the heat. The one plant in the shady spot did great on both hardiness and vigor. I am going to still call it somewhat hardy based on past years good results and the heat problems of this summer.
Not very hardy
Orus 1431-1 - This did not do very well at all in the heat, but its new so it gets another summer.
Newberry - These are new but I planted them the same time as Boysenberry which did a whole lot better; most of the Newberry died back. Not looking very hardy.
Onyx - Most did badly with complete dieback. It also did very poorly in the heat. Shaded plants did great on both counts.
NZ 9351-4 - Same as Onyx more or less
Not hardy, time to remove
Wild Treasure - This variety is the most heat sensitive; most of the plants died. Even the shaded ones did not do well.
Cascade trailing - similar to Wild Treasure
Cascade - Somewhat better than the above two but I lost most of the plant this winter.