Blackberry hardiness

ljpother(3a)March 4, 2009

Home Depot is selling blackberry plants, Ebony King and Marion. I tried to search for information; but apparently there is a device called a black berry that dominates the search results. I found a few vendors that indicated blackberries are hardy to USDA zones 5-7.

I searched because the package said the plants grew from 18" to 40". This seems to be a lot smaller than any I have seen.

Is Home Depot selling annuals in Zone 3a?

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katchmoleen

According to the Michigan Bulb site, Ebony King is for zones 4-8. Davesgargen lists marion blackberries as zones 7-9! I think since Home Depot is a national chain they just ship the same stuff to every store. I saw the blackberries in my Home Depot just today when I was there and thought, "Yeah right!"

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 11:54PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

It's beyond me that Home Depot and some Garden Centers bring in zone 5 and up and get away with.
Zone 3 is really not blackberry climate, I have yet to see someone with fruits.

Konrad

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 1:34AM
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twrosz

I agree with Konrad. I do not know of anyone who is successfully growing blackberries on the prairies. On the other hand, there's some black raspberry varieties capable of surviving. I have grown Wyoming purple raspberry, it has a unique flavor, though stems have nasty thorns and it's best planted in a sheltered location. Lowden Black is recommended, though I have not been able to track down this variety, a friend had said really good things when he had observed it growing in Saskatchewan. Last year, I had planted Jewel, it had sprawled out like an aggressive octopus.

Terry

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 10:08PM
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luckygal(3b)

Years ago I ordered blackberries from a catalogue which were supposed to grow in zone 3. Yes, they grew but they fruit on 2nd year wood and because they had to regrow from the root every year we never had a berry altho would have vines.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 3:56PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Some push hardiness zone just to make a sale....I have one plant put in from a BC seedling last year, [again] after giving up trying several times, I get seedlings from a friend, he always pushes me to plant them and sometimes I break down..LOL.
This plant now I have covered with leaves and insulation..will see what happens this time?

Konrad

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 11:54PM
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don555(3a)

Interesting thread. I've been looking into blackberries on the prairies lately, and I see that Konrad's been trying to grow them for awhile, because I came across a thread from 2007 where he was trying to grow blackberries (I'm assuming the same guy).

Anyhow, I know someone in Edmonton who tried growing wild BC blackberries -- said they lived two years, died the third, but never even bloomed. He gave some seedlings to another person who had them live three years before losing them, again without ever blooming. I know there are now hardier varieties than wild blackberries, though still only rated to zone 4 or so (Illini Hardy seems to be rated the hardiest).

I want to give them a try, as does the person who tried a few years back with the BC wild blackberries. So my question is what is most tender, roots or shoots? If the roots die out then it seems planting them next to a house might keep the roots from dying, assuming they were watered well in the fall and mulched. If the shoots are the issue (and I realize they flower on second-year wood so keeping shoots alive is vital to get flowers and fruit) then would bending them over in the fall and heavily mulching be enough to keep them alive? Or would you actually have to cover them with soil? Or would that even that be enough?

Well, I think I'm going to try anyhow, but I'm interested in hearing what other people have tried and maybe had some success with. Or failed at, as that would help to know too.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 9:54PM
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twrosz

Hi Don,

Although, I have not grown blackberries, laying them down to the ground for the winter and covering with mulch is the way to go, it's the tops that will prove to be most tender. Prior to winter, I had laid down the Jewel black raspberry by placing bricks upon the branches and when the snow had arrived, I heaped that upon the plant ... it is very well snuggled in with probably 20 inches of snow covering. I hope we soon begin our spring meltdown!

Terry

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 1:58AM
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don555(3a)

Twrosz, thanks for the idea about the bricks to hold the canes down. Also for the tops being most tender, that will likely play a role in where the blackberries are planted, opens up a new set of possibilities actually.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 4:12AM
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twrosz

Don, I'll take photos of Jewel in fruit ...

I'm still looking to find Lowden Black, just no luck!

Terry

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 1:18AM
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don555(3a)

twrosz, thanks for the info. Do these black raspberries (Jewel, Lowden Black) taste more like raspberries or blackberries? I've always assumed they are raspberry-like. Or are they a reasonable knock-off for true blackberries??

Or are they something unique in their own right? I grow yellow raspberries (Honeyqueen?) that are very different than the red raspberries I grow. Are the black raspberries also a unique taste?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 4:34AM
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twrosz

Don, I can yet only answer upon the Wyoming Black, it being unique and more richly flavored than red raspberries and better than any store bought blackberries, I don't think I've ever tasted garden fresh blackberries. I had gotten scratched and snared one too many times by WB and had gotten rid of this variety ... though, I did cross it with a thornless red raspberry and now have some spineless plants with similar flavor to WB ...

Oh, I had also grown Royalty, though even with being laid down, the canes would often blacken, so I gave up!

Lowden Black is said to be rated excellent for flavor, size and of good hardiness ... I so want to find these!

I really like Honey Queen. I gave Kiwi Gold a try, though it has not proven hardy.

Terry

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 6:47PM
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shazam_z3

I had fresh blackberries right off the shrub when I was in Victoria one year. They were amazing.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 1:16AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Same me, in Vancouver and Stanley park.

I just checked with Greenland after talk show today, on their website, they have Ribes, Chester Thornless...these are zone 5-8...I'll ask why they are bringing them in...please do the same....they might get the message then?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 1:30PM
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freezengirl(3aMN and 5AK)

I had spotted Blackberry plants through Johnnys Select Seeds out of Maine I think. I don't know anything about them except that they had them listed for zone 4. I think in general Blackberries are a zone 5 limit for cold temperatures.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 2:46AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

I wrote to Greenland and go a answer...

We do bring in tender plants not suited for our zone if we have tried them and have had success. We wouldn�t however bring in plants that would have be zone 6-9. Plants that are zone 4 or 5 require a protected area of the yard and winter protection. I live on an acreage � hour east of the city where it is much colder than Sherwood Park and have had lots of success with zone 4 & 5 material. We have many customers that have had success and are producing fruit with the blackberries you have mentioned so at their request we have brought them in but we only offer a 90 day guarantee on them.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 7:32PM
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don555(3a)

I think they ("they" meaning all garden centres and department or grocery stores that bring in non-hardy material) should clearly label these types of plants as "not normally hardy in this region" or "requires special care to survive the winter" or something to that effect. I do like that they stock some of these experimental varieties though, I get a kick out of trying to beat the odds with some of them. In spring 2009 I bought two Chester blackberries (I knew they weren't hardy)from Home Depot -- one died in winter 2009/10, the other survived and set about three dozen berries last summer, though only one berry ripened before the first hard freeze of the fall turned the others to mush. I had a lot of fun for the $20 or so it cost me! And maybe the survivor made it through this winter too?... guess I'll know soon enough.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 12:25AM
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NorthernFruitGrower

If you're willing to try your hand at starting plants from seed then Gardens North in Nova Scotia sells wild Mountain Blackberry seed that they claim can be grown in zone 2 even! I'm a bit skeptical myself, but they have good ratings on the garden watchdog. What do you guys think?

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardens North

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 1:02AM
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prairie_chick(3b MB)

Hi, I'm new to this forum, and this thread caught my eye because I too have been looking for a hardier blackberry. Four years ago, I purchased one from Dominion Seed House named Perron. It is a thornless blackberry, which they have listed at zone 3. It bloomed on both old and new wood, but it requires a very long summer for the berries to ripen. In its third year, we had some heat in September, and I was able to harvest about 6 cups of delicious berries. That was a bumper crop for this plant! Another issue I had with it was the suckering. In the plant description, it is said to be non-suckering, and for its first few summers, that seemed to be the case. But in 2010, all the main canes died and it suckered in a ten-foot radius. It's too early to tell if it made through the winter this year.

I have also grown black raspberries - an unknown variety that gets shared through the gardens in this area. The taste is not comparable to a blackberry. It's good in its own way, but more tart and seedier. Its extreme thorniness finally earned it a place on the compost pile.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 12:04PM
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don555(3a)

NorthernFruit -- those mountain blackberries look identical to what grows wild at my brother's place in southeastern Ontario (zone 5). They are very thorny but totally hardy. When I visited in mid-August last year, the berries were at kind of a mid-ripe stage -- many tasty berries to eat, but scads more yet to ripen. Since his tomatoes ripen at least a month earlier than mine, I think even these wild blackberries would have issues of ripening on the prairies, even if they proved winter-hardy.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 3:52AM
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DonnieJean(3)

I live in zone 3a and would love to grow blackberries. But I've been searching the web on hardiness and find it so contradictory. One site says Chester's are hardy in zone 3, but another site said hardy only to zone 6 - quite a difference. Has anyone had success growing the Illini blackberries? Again I found hardiness ranges of 3 and 6. Any help or thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 7:20AM
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mytime(3/4 Alaska)

In addition to hardiness, consider your growing season. Many plants that will survive for me will never bear fruit...well, maybe once every 10 years...due to rarely having a long enough season to ripen the fruit.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 11:48AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Yes..this really boils down to it, now they need to breed "early ripening" into them!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 2:34PM
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don555(3a)

DonnieJean, Yes a challenge, need winter protection and a bit of luck, but oh so yummy! Here's some Chester blackberries grown in Zone 3a last year:

I got 400-500 berries off two plants last year, the long warm fall allowed pretty much every berry to ripen. There's a long discussion of things here:

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/farnorth/msg0300573215740.html?53

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 4:55PM
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RandyR217

Hi all, just looking up blackberry hardiness and well, saw this thread.

I tried for years to get blackberries to grow where I am - 20-25 below is fairly common here, and sure enough, none survived more than 2 years.

In 1998 I bought 2 plants at 1 place and one at another (don't recall variety) and only one lived.

It's now 14 years later and that one plant has become a 50' row of extremely hardy and tasty blackberries. There are literally THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of berries.

A local friend said the same thing - he grows native prairie plants and could never get blackberries to grow - except this particular mutant. It is a bush variety, thornless.

Randy

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 8:13PM
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RandyR217

Oh, and if there are any volunteer testers in Zones 3 or 4 that want to try this mutant, I will ship cuttings in a sealed bag, or I will try to root them - you need only pay shipping to see how far north this mutation will grow.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 9:35PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Has anybody taken Randy's generous offer?
In spring, walking into Canadian Tire, there was this Chester looking at me, ...well guess what, I adopted it! Low and behold this plant has some fruit turning black, about half the size of yours, Don.
Is this normal for a newly planted blackberry?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 2:15AM
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don555(3a)

Konrad, fruit on a newly planted blackberry is impressive since they normally fruit on year-old wood (from the previous season). Just be sure to leave berries on the canes for several days after they have turned fully black, so they reach maximum flavour and minimum tartness.

My vine planted in 2009 died to the ground this spring, but has put up vigorous new growth, but it won't produce fruit this year.

My vine planted in 2010 has loads of berries on it, but they are still very green and will need at least several more weeks before they ripen.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 3:57AM
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mytime(3/4 Alaska)

Randy, I missed your post earlier this summer. I'd be happy to try some of your cuttings if you have some already rooted. If not, I'd like to try some next summer (it's too late to root something here and have it survive the winter).

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 11:57AM
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Collin001

Randy,

I don't know how customs will handle a sealed back but I'd be happy to pay the shipping and try out a small seedling in the fall! Message me if interested.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 11:13AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

This picture, [Chester] from the 24th. the plant was put in this spring,..will see what it will do over winter.

Don, thanks for the berries you brought to Devonian, I shared it with other, ..they were nice!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 2:06AM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

RandyR217,

I tried to send an email but your address is not set up. I would like to trade for your black berries. Maybe I have something you'd like. Please send me an email.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 2:50PM
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paininthepetunia(3)

I am in the Edmonton region and would love, love to grow some Loganberries. Not to be confused with dewberries, blackberries, or black raspberries. My question, has anyone successfully grown a loganberry crop that actually produces fruit here?

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 12:03AM
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don555(3a)

I haven't heard of anyone growing loganberries but maybe someone who has will respond. I don't see any reason why they wouldn't grow here if treated like blackberries ie lots of winter protection. You would want a variety with training canes rather than upright canes since you would need to lay them on the ground and cover them for the winter. They are supposed to ripen earlier than blackberries, so that would be a plus. Finding a source in Canada might be an issue.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 2:41AM
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lmcinroy(3b)

Randy,

I would love to try your blackberries. I am a zone 3b. I can't find your email to message you could you please email me at lmcinroy@gmail.com?

Leanne

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 5:22PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

RandyR217,

I tried to send an email but your address is not set up. I would like to trade for your black berries. Maybe I have something you'd like. Please send me an email.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 2:18AM
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