Black Satin Blackberry... alive?

ColoradoSteph(5)May 22, 2013

Last year we planted a Black Satin Blackberry. Earlier this Spring when I didn't see any new canes growing from the ground and no growth on last year's canes (apologize if I am using wrong terms, I am new to this), I thought it was dead.

Well, lo and behold just today I saw two canes growing from the ground! I am a bit confused though because they look very purple. Is this normal for this variety or is there something wrong? I expected them to be green since the leaves last year were green.

Is this late in the season for the new canes to be coming up?

Should I go ahead and prune back last year's growth that seems dead? I thought the green growth it put on in the Fall would bear fruit this year however there are no leaves budding that I can tell.

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don555(3a)

I'm afraid it sounds like your plant killed to the ground. The canes that were put up last year are the ones that would bear fruit for you this year. If they are dead, sorry no fruit. (I would leave them awhile just to be sure, but here in zone 3, the new growth on my canes from last year is already several inches long, so it's not looking good for you in a warmer zone).

As for the two new purplish canes coming out of the ground, those are brand new canes that will establish this year and then fruit next year if they survive the winter. You need better winter protection for your blackberry plants.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 9:33PM
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larry_gene

Many caneberry varieties put up new cane growth that starts out as various shades of deep red. Green will appear once the canes are several inches long and leaves form.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 10:47PM
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ColoradoSteph(5)

Thank you for the feedback! I'm just happy to see the new canes coming up and to know that the color is normal. I was already counting this plant dead and earlier in the Spring planted a new Chester Blackberry 5' away.

don555, does the growth on the previous years canes or the new canes coming from the ground usually occur first?

I did absolutely nothing to protect the canes last year. I thought since it is supposed to be hardy down to zone 5, it would be ok. :/ Whoops.

So I am a little confused. I bought the Black Satin blackberry from a local nursery and it had 1 cane with a couple of branches off the main cane. There were a few blackberries already growing on one of the tips. New cane shoots did not come up from the ground at all last year. Was the plant already on it's 2nd year when I bought it? It was planted in the Spring (later Spring if I recall correctly). Were new canes supposed to come up last year?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 11:28PM
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don555(3a)

For me, the growth on last year's canes always appears first -- I have that new growth now. The new canes that come from the ground for this year should emerge soon, but none have come up so far (which is normal).

Here's what my new growth looks like as of May 22:

But I'm zone 3 where these things are really not hardy, so here's what the entire canes that grew last year look like. They got over 10 feet long, but clearly I was only able to keep the central few feet alive, even with a good cover of straw and burlap. About this much survived last year, and I got over 500 ripe blackberries last year from this plant, so it's worth it to me.

As for your odd issue with fruit canes last year but no new canes... I can't understand that either. Maybe just chalk it up to establishing a new plant and try protecting things this winter, then reducing the protection in future years if thing seem hardy (though I think most BB are only hardy unprotected to zone 6?)

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 2:12AM
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don555(3a)

Oh, BTW, yummmm:

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 2:20AM
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ABz5b

Chester is a hardier variety in my opinion than Black Satin even though they have similar ratings. I'm in a 6a and i had dieback on all my Black Satins and none on my Chesters. I eventually got rid of the Satins for better varieties. Congratulations on the Chester, very hardy variety that produces well.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 9:38AM
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ColoradoSteph(5)

don555, thank you so much for the pictures and response. I can't tell you how helpful it is. Yum indeed! What type of wire/line do you use on the trellis? I made a cheesy trellis last year using garden tape/tie and it didn't work very well. I had read about using wire however I was concerned it would cut into the canes. Do you lay the canes on the ground in the Fall and burlap/mulch on top or do you burlap and mulch over the trellis?

ABz5b, I was starting to think that as well. I have read different sources, some say Black Satin is hardy to zone 5 and others to zone 6, and Chester I think is always listed as zone 5. I didn't do much research before picking a variety... I just went to the local garden center last year and Black Satin was the only variety they carried. I assumed since they carried it, it would grow well here. Hopefully it will with better care. Or maybe in 2 years I will be pulling it out as well. ;) From what I have read though, it sounds like Black Satin has a better flavor for eating off the vine than Chester. Do you have another cold hardy variety you recommend?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 10:56AM
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ABz5b

Prime Ark does well in cold environments. Illini hardy does as well. Some other varietes I'd look at would be Triple Crown maybe Darrow. Ill post some pictures of my Blackberries here in a week or 2. Think im up to 33 blackberry/boysenberry plants.

I did the same thing years ago when i bought my first blackberry plants. went to the local nursery and purchased Black Satin, and i thought the exact same thing you did lol. Happens to all of us at one time or another.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 12:58PM
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ColoradoSteph(5)

Thanks for the suggestions. If I end up pulling out the black satin I will look at those. WOW 33 plants! Can't wait to see your pictures. :)

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 5:05PM
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don555(3a)

ColaradoSteph, the wire I use for my trellis is just some cheap "garden wire" from a local dollar store. $1 for a roll, not sure how long is the roll. I clip the canes to the trellis via either cheap garden-clips (also $ store) or some sticky plant-tape, that is kind of like a thin fabric velcro for tying up plants like tomatoes.

For the fall, yes I lay the canes down to the ground, weigh them down with bricks where needed, then cover the entire thing with a deep layer of leaves or straw. Most dies anyway, but enough of the centre survives to give a good crop.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 2:59AM
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ColoradoSteph(5)

Thanks so much don555! I am going to put together a proper trellis this weekend and will mulch this winter. Here is hoping I can keep it alive for berries next year. :)

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 11:59AM
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