Blackberry 2014 update...

Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)May 27, 2014

The other thread was getting too long.

Please post pictures when you see your first blooms, I like to see how long it takes for the blooms and ripening in the various cultivars, here we can compare them nicely!

As said before, mine out in the country,...perhaps a low zone 3, my Chester died completely down, year 3, [unprotected], the other plant right beside, Balsor's Black, same age, had two canes alive, these should produce fruits,..it's just now will they ripen before snow falls?

Got rid of the Chester, not totally,... shooting up from below, I made 4 babies and could go soon for adoption to the warm city!

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don555(3a)

In the city, my Chesters (year 6, covered every winter) came through better than in any other year. My garden is very muddy with all the rain recenly, but I'll try and get a pic soon. Results vary in the city... a friend also growing Chester says his winter survival was not good...haven't seen those canes myself so just going with what he says.

Interesting that Balsor's did better for you, Konrad. Rated as zone 4 (whereas Chester is what?.. zone 6?), maybe it really is a hardier option. It will be interesting to see how well it fruits for you later this summer.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 5:07AM
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twrosz

Konrad, good to know that you're trying 'Balsor's Black', I might have to order some for next spring.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 12:23PM
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don555(3a)

Chester on May 27. Green trellis pole sticks 4' out of ground, so if canes were raised vertical it looks like about 2 metres of canes survived, normally only about 1 m of cane survives. Smaller plant in the lower left is a sucker from last year (the only sucker this plant has produced).

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 12:54PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Went to look today,..thought it was a flower,...bird poop lol.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 9:37PM
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wxjunkie(3a)

First flower buds are appearing on Tayberries and Siskiyou blackberries. Bloom is probably 3 to 4 weeks away at least, though. That's a Tayberry bud in the picture above my thumb nail.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 2:39AM
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don555(3a)

WX, are you in the US or Canada? Things like tayberries and boysenberries I've only ever seen in the US, but then again we have limited offerings to begin with in zone 3, so maybe they are available in the warmer zones in Canada...

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 1:46AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

About 3 years ago I traded with someone who had Tayberry growing somewhere an hour north, with one of my 5 year old plum tree. Turned out the berry was dead. I was also supposed to get seaberry,..but it was a little hawthorn sucker with a clump of crabgrass. The third thing was red raspberry,...it wasn't,
it was a black,..I liked this one.

My blackberry flower looks about the size of your Tayberry

Please post when flowers open on the Blackberry

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 3:07AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

This "new" little plant I'm testing, no name, [Russian] from last year has flowers already!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 1:04PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Balsor's Hardy Black from today.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 1:18AM
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don555(3a)

Interesting! That's well ahead of my Chester blackberries. I had Boyne red raspberries get their first blossoms on June 21, Honeyqueen yellows get their first blossoms on June 22, but the blackberries are slower -- they have buds but no blossoms.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 2:54AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Don,
do you recall when the Chester flowered at the earliest?

Mine were small plants going into winter with good snow cover,
it remains to be seen when they grow larger, [bushier] and not all
covered with snow,..might need to train some canes close to the ground.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 2:38AM
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wxjunkie(3a)

Here's a pic of Siskiyou (don't pronounce the second "i") trailing blackberry today. The flower had started to open 3 days ago, but we had cool, rainy weather and it didn't budge. Tayberry started flowering on the 24th. Looks like Wild Treasure (another trailing blackberry) will be opening tomorrow. For comparison, Don555, Boyne started flowering on the 23rd and Honey Queen on the 27th. Both raspberries will start ripening the first or second week of August. However, the blackberries probably won't be ripe until the third or fourth week of August. Don't know about the Tayberry.
I'm 20 miles outside of Fairbanks, AK, and 1000 ft up a ridge. This location is above most of the wintertime inversions, providing a zone 3a climate, compared to z2 or even z1 on the valley floor below me. I get my plants from sources in the Lower 48, so I can get most anything available in the US - if I want to pay the shipping, which can be as much as the plant itself.
I have 36 varieties of blackberries, 4 blackberry/raspberry crosses and about 25 varieties of raspberries. Here is a quick rundown of survival rates on the blackberries:

Erect: Illini Hardy = 100%, Stenulson = 90%, Ouachita = 90% (odd, since it is not very hardy)
Semi-erect: Chester & Triple Crown=10%, Hull (similar to Chester, but earlier) = 40%
Trailing varieties: Wild Treasure = 15%, Marionberry = 40% (more on this), Siskiyou = 30%, Silvan = 40%, Black Diamond = 90%; Tayberry = 20%, Loganberry (cross) = 90%

Chester, Triple Crown and Hull were severely attacked by voles. The figures represent survival of only those canes that were not eaten by voles. I accidentally ran an experiment last winter when I forgot to remove the floating row cover I put over a Marion plant to aid in ripening berries that it produced last summer. They never ripened and I forgot about the fabric covering the plant until the snow melted this year. The entire length of primocane that was under the floating row cover over the winter is alive and growing vigorously (what wasn't covered died). It has flower buds on it, as well. I believe that survival here is dependent on how cold the temperatures get before a significant snow cover accumulates (>6 inches, 15cm). After that, the plants are protected. We received 12 inches (30cm) of snow with the first real snow storm and right after the temp dropped to about 0F (-18C). This amount of snow covered all blackberry varieties listed above. Midwinter low was -24F (-31C) - not all that cold (Don555, we decided to send our cold your way).
No buds on Illini Hardy, Stenulson (I broke the good cane off of that one attempting to trellis it), Chester, etc. yet. In addition to Siskiyou, Wild Treasure and Marion, I have buds on Black Diamond, Silvan and a wild trailing blackberry.
Chester looks to be more vigorous this year, but probably still not as vigorous as some of the trailing varieties. It has not produced canes more than 2 ft (60 cm) long (first and second years). This may be because summers are so cool here.
Konrad, it will be interesting to see what the Russian variety tastes like. If it is pretty good, that one looks like a keeper. It will also be interesting to see how Balsor's and this variety do with less protection. I know the ones that will produce for me need some (with the possible exception of Black Diamond).

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 3:38AM
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mhayes8655

Last year I put in 3 "prime" cultivars from Stark Bros. nursery. Prime Jim, Jan, and Ark 45, I'd say I lost over 90% of last years canes during the winter. This years primocanes are now about 4 feet tall and most already have flower buds on them. I'm very surprised as my raspberry primocanes, some of which are 5 to 6 ft tall and came up earlier, probably won't be forming blossoms for another month. Pretty impressed with these blackberries, nice to get a good crop even after a historically bad winter (coldest since 1978).

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 1:14PM
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don555(3a)

Konrad asked... "Don, do you recall when the Chester flowered at the earliest? "
***************************************************
Going thru old garden notes....

in 2011 both Chesters began flowering around July 10.

In 2012 it was July 5 for first blossoms.

In 2013, seems I did not record the date of first blossoms.

In 2014, still at bud stage as of June 29....

.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 3:46AM
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don555(3a)

July 3 - very first bloom on my Chester this year.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 2:24AM
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don555(3a)

July 4 - Both plants blooming today, one with its first flower, the other has 5 now.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 12:25AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Thank you all!

wxjunkie...WOW 36 variates!
How long you've been experimenting with blackberries?

>>(with the possible exception of Black Diamond)....it's a zone 6 to 9,...no protection?

So, throwing over some row cover could be a possible solution
for some winter protection, ..thanks for mentioning this!
I might try this out.

mhayes8655 .. primocanes was on my mind for several years,
still, I'm not convinced yet in any so far, [also raspberries] I love
tall plants for easy picking. Please let us know how
this ripening will turn out, [with date]...season is coming to a end!...lol...already? darn!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 12:54PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Today I picked the first Russian blackberry,..was surprised how sweet it is.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 2:21AM
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don555(3a)

Impressive! They look smaller than the commercial varieties, but if you are getting ripe fruit this early, that is outstanding! My BB have a heavy fruit set, but no berry is near ripe.

How is your Balsor's Black variety doing?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 2:34AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Balsor's Black is turning color a little now, perhaps another week,
also not commercial size, seems about the same as the Russian,..as you said, who cares when at least you can grow some and fairly early harvest. The Chester is a little larger, also not commercial size.

Got some Chester to give away, ..if anyone wants.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 7:19PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

This one doesn't count,...because I bought it this June.

Black Satin, picked a couple of berries, good size, great taste.
Will find out next year if it survived.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 1:30AM
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don555(3a)

Nice! I find Chesters really size up in the final stages of ripening, so it will be interesting to see if Balsor's does the same for you. This is an old pic from 2011, but it shows that Chesters grown in Edmonton can get every bit as big as store-bought blackberries:

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 1:34AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Yes, got some from you,.. been buying some of these new ones,
seems about double in length.

Balsor's Black,..been picking some.
Actually, I was impressed!
If these survive the winter just as well as the Russian, I would say it's the winner!

If,...black satin survives, this one has the best berry of all 3.

Balsor's Black

This post was edited by konrad___far_north on Sun, Aug 17, 14 at 12:16

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 12:11PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Balsor's Black

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 12:13PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

OH.....has anyone got the no name Backberry from this hardy Quebec nursery? Got it last year also but hasn't done much.
They said that it is their own seedling and hardy for Alberta.

BTW...got the Garry Raspberry also from them, [above the blackberry].
Taste of Wild Raspberries and the Size of Grown Raspberries,..
so they say.

I find, it's not what they claim,...also not productive.
Berry is small, about the size of Latham. Latham Raspberry I would say is the closest to a wild, has a nicer taste and much more productive.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Hardy Fruit Tree Nursery

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 12:53PM
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wxjunkie(3a)

Picked the first ripe Wild Treasure blackberry today. A bit on the small size and the taste was not what I'd expected - more of a sweet strawberry flavor than the ones in the store. I have a few Siskiyou berries and one Marion that should ripen before the first frost, so I can compare. Unfortunately, with summer nearly gone (another week or so of sufficient heat to ripen berries), it looks like a small harvest. I should still get a dozen or more Wild Treasures to ripen before frost.
I picked a Tayberry earlier this week. Like a raspberry, but with a little blackberry thrown in. Rather tart and difficult to pick (drupes fall off individually). Looks like they will continue to ripen in cooler weather.
For comparison, I have yet to pick Honey Queen (a few are ripe now) and the first Boyne was picked earlier this week. Most things are 7 -10 days behind the norm due to cool, wet weather. Chester didn't flower - as usual - and is only 2 ft. tall - also typical for Chester here. Hull (same parentage as Chester, only a little less hardy and a few weeks earlier in the lower 48 states) has canes 4 ft long and flowered on August 4th, so I won't get anything off of that either - and likely never will.
I found out that laying black weed block under the blackberries significantly increases cane growth rates. I'll post the final results later, but this looks like a promising way to get longer canes here if it doesn't cool the soil too much. Mulch in general is not used here because it keeps the soil cold and doesn't allow minerals and nutrients to decompose in the soil, eventually killing the plant.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 2:22AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

WOW...your'e really late, yes, you must have been cold then.
Some Raspberries are ending here, Honey Queen had several weeks good loads, have you got Latham, found out, it's the earliest to fruit, this one is completely finished now. It's a small berry but flavor is very nice.

Checked on the Russian Blackberry today with picture, about 2/3 have completely ripened.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 9:46PM
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don555(3a)

wxjunkie, wow, you are late! I take it you are in Alaska?

I'm in central Alberta and I picked my first Boyne on July 20, first Honeyqueen on July 22. There are still some scattered berries on those rasps now, but the main harvest is finished.

Picked my first ripe Chester on Aug. 20 and so far that's it. The plants are loaded with berries and a few more have turned black but need another day or two to sweeten up, but the main harvest won't be until September, weather cooperating.

BTW, if you end up with frost about to take out your BB, you can snip off the twigs with berries and put the stem end in a jar of water indoors by a window. Any berries that are decently red when you snip the twigs will continue to ripen indoors over the next days to a week, and should get black and tasty and sweet. Not as good as vine-ripened, but in a pinch... The further they are from ripe when you snip them, the less taste they will have when ripened indoors, and ones that don't have red in them already won't ripen at all.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 1:26AM
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don555(3a)

Third ripe Chester berry so far, main harvest will be in September.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 11:56PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Thank you Don!
As you can see now, even in a hot summer, like we had this year, Chester would ripen too late for my place out on the orchard. On top of that, I'm about 10 day's behind you in growing and in two weeks the season could be over, at your place you should be good for at least mid Sept.
Over the years you've been growing them, how many ripened out in %? My Russian seems to be done in a week or so, the Balsors black in about 2 weeks,..picked a bunch today on this one.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 12:11AM
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don555(3a)

The first year I grew them that they produced fruit (the year after planting), frost took everything out in early September or so, after I had just a taste of the berries.

In every year since then I've got essentially a complete harvest, with just a few immature berries left on the canes, kind of like raspberries in our zone after mid or late August.

But those 3 or so years of excellent blackberry harvest has been due to some warm summers and frosts that held off until early October. Those are unusual conditions for my location (based on the past 23 years). Which is why I'm following how some other varieties are doing, in case I get shut down by frost some fall, or the canes get hit with severe winter kill.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 3:41AM
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wxjunkie(3a)

Have picked 6 Wild Treasure blackberries, the equivalent of about 1/2 a Siskiyou blackberry (very poor fruit set), one frost-damaged Marionberry, two Tayberries and a Loganberry. Saw 29F (-1.7C) yesterday morning and 28F (-2C) this morning. With record summer precipitation, 8th coolest summer on record and a frost-free season of just 104 days, this was certainly a good test of what is possible with blackberries. I will have two more varieties (Obsidian and Metolius, both trailing) that should come into bearing next year that are supposed to be very early. However, they may suffer the same limitations as Marion and Siskiyou in that the average temperature has to remain above 50F (13C) for ripening to continue. Wild Treasure tolerates cooler temps during ripening. Given that temps here begin a downward spiral after August 15th and that blackberries seem to begin ripening shortly after that, this is a serious limitation for me.
As for flavor, those who have tasted my Wild Treasure have raved about it. It doesn't taste anything like those in the store and I had to get used to it. Flavor starts off as a combination of plum, raspberry, cherry and blackberry and finishes with strawberry. It is rather sweet. I think it would make great jam.
Don555 . . . yes, 25 miles NW of Fairbanks.
I have Latham. It is quite variable in timing for me, but typically is one of the first to ripen - with Cascade Delight, which to me has much better flavor. I am trialing Prelude, but it has not spent a winter outside yet. This year Prelude was a week earlier that Cascade Delight and 15 days earlier than Latham. Berries are bigger and very tasty - just not very hardy. If it works, I could get raspberries before August 1st, the usual beginning of raspberry season.
As for the Arkansas varieties (Ouachita, Navajo, Natchez, etc.) and semi-erect varieties (Chester, Triple Crown, Hull, Doyle's), maximum berry size right now is 1/2 inch and they are far from ripe. Frost got them, too. Again this year, Chester grew a whole 2 ft (0.6 m) and never flowered. Just doesn't like it here. All of these varieties waited until August to flower, whereas Wild Treasure, Siskiyou, and Tayberry all started flowering late June.
Forecast is for 1 - 2 inches (2.5-5 cm) of rain and high winds this week with the potential for snow at higher elevations. Looks like an early winter.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 1:03PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Thank you all for this report!
wxjunkie...hopefully things turn around for you next year.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 2:16AM
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don555(3a)

Chester getting better:

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 11:29PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Looking good Don!
I picked mostly all today,...just in the neck of time before freeze,..forecast for next Wednesday low 2C. in the City.
It's been a good warm summer.
How do yours ripen in cooler temp. Don?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 2:12AM
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don555(3a)

In really cool weather, my blackberries tend to just sit there and do little. But on warm or sunny autumn afternoons, ripening goes on, throughout September and even into October, until frost hits. My Chester are really a September crop -- always risky in Edmonton, though perhaps a bit less so as the city has swallowed up my location near the city edge over the past 25 years and added us into the "urban heat island".

Anyhow, I've picked close to 100 ripe berries now, will cover the plants against frost as long as I can or until all the berries are ripe. Here's a pic of my main Chester berry canes today... lots of berries close to ripe, some good weather to ripen these would be great.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 3:08AM
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don555(3a)

180 oh-so-tasty berries picked now. Berries are still in the first half of the harvest, more warm and frost-free weather would really help out. Rain and 5 degrees for a high on Monday isn't going to help...

    Bookmark   September 8, 2014 at 2:33AM
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don555(3a)

Had a hard freeze a week ago, I covered up the blackberries with blankets before the frost but I'd say 1/2 to 2/3 of the berries still on the plant froze and died. On the positive side, many of those killed were young berries on the outside of the plant so were not likely going to ripen anyway. Still quite few were protected on the inside of the plant and are still ripening. Picked another 65 today, for a total now of just over 300 berries.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2014 at 11:16PM
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wxjunkie(3a)

My final berry count:
15 Wild Treasures
5 Tayberries
4 Siskiyou
4 Silvan (all ripened inside)
3 Loganberries
1 Marionberries
0 Black Diamond (froze)

Don 555, we had your hard freeze the last of August and that froze all berries on my erect and semi-erect (Chester-type) vines and most berries on my trailing vines. Tayberry (including berries) is frost tolerant to 28F (-2C) and continued to ripen fruit until the next hard frost (26F/-3C) on September 21st. The August frost froze small berries on Wild Treasure, but the larger ones were spared and ripened through September 13th. This was the last day to pick true blackberries that ripened outside. On September 20th, I cut one lateral off of Silvan to bring inside. It was the only one that had a partially red berry on it. What I found out was that this variety ripens very well inside as long as the berries are at least 3/4 of full size when brought inside. They can be green and still ripen quite nicely. Smaller berries still ripen, but they remain smaller and are fairly tart, with a "green" taste to them. I would have cut several more laterals if I'd known they would do so well inside. They taste like boysenberry and are quite sweet. I harvested berries for about 7 weeks total. While I didn't get many - and gave most of those to skeptics - I really enjoyed the taste of fresh blackberries. I am looking forward to next summer and trying different cultural practices that might hasten harvest. Unfortunately, we haven't had much snow and temperatures have been up around freezing in the day for the last two weeks, further reducing the snow cover. No significant snow is in the forecast, but neither are particularly cold temperatures. I was able to cover my Wild Treasure, Black Diamond, Marion and Logan before the snow fell and moose browsed. I need to figure out how to get Black Diamond to leaf out and flower earlier. The foliage on this variety is quite frost tolerant (compared to Wild Treasure), however its fruit gives up at the mere mention of frost (all berries froze under frost protection at the end of August). The fruit are "well presented" (i.e., they sit outside the foliage) which means for me that they are easy to pick, but unprotected during frost. I am also considering how I will trellis them, as trellising will lift the floricanes above the primocanes (which can get really tangled if left on the ground), but also remove them from ground heat. I found that laying black weed block on the ground under Wild Treasure produced a primocane almost 10 ft (3 m) long, twice the length (and diameter) of canes not on weed block, but on the same plant. It looks like the moose might have trampled that cane unfortunately. Don555, your Chesters are up against a fence - something I don't have, but I wonder if you would get more growth and perhaps earlier ripening over weed block. Of course, you receive more heat than I do, so it may not be as important for you. On the other hand, Oregon State University reported greater primocane growth over weed block in their organic trials, but not double.
Chester performed similarly this year (right up until the moose ate it. Longest primocane was 2 ft (.7 m) long and the stub of a floricane never flowered. Even Illini Hardy flowered - on September 13. The other erect and semi-erect varieties flowered in early August. Silvan (a very thorny trailing variety) was intermediate in first flower date between these and other trailing varieties at July 15, yet I still managed to get berries off of it. In fact, it was snowing outside while I was enjoying delicious, fresh Silvan blackberries inside in October!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2014 at 7:58PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Great report, Don & wxjunkie!

Hopefully there will be more next year, have covered up the black satin with leaves, the Balsor's Black a little with row cover, nothing on the Russian and Montreal Seedling.

Thank you so much!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2014 at 11:47PM
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braeburn040(2B/3 BC)

Boy I'M glad I checked this thread! I gave up on black berrys up here I tried a thornless variety from T&T Seeds, 20 years ago, it died back each year,When I see those Chester And Balsors it blows my mind, They are going to be on my list next year.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2014 at 8:31PM
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pictman

I'm glad I found this thread.My chesters died right back in a very nasty Manitoba winter . I'm wondering if I should be covering them.I haven't really done that before so I'm not sure what to use or if would increase the risk of mouse damage.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2014 at 11:28AM
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twrosz

Konrad, if you don't mind me asking, where were you able to come across your Russian blackberry variety?

Pictman, yes, 'Chester' is tender variety that you will need to lay to the ground and cover with leaves or something such and then also provide mouse protection.

This post was edited by twrosz on Sun, Nov 23, 14 at 12:13

    Bookmark   November 23, 2014 at 11:57AM
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don555(3a)

Just to do an end-of-year update, after the early September frost my plants continued to produce well, which was a surprise to me. Seems the berries inside the plant had enough protection from frost to survive, whereas the ones on the outside were killed. The plants continued to produce into very early October when a very hard frost killed any remaining berries. However, at that point most had ripened anyway. In the end I got over 650 blackberries from my two Chester plants, my best harvest yet.

Pictman - you definitely need to cover those canes or they will kill to the ground and you won't get any fruit next year. These are floricane plants in this climate so they fruit on the previous year's canes. If the canes don't survive, then no fruit. The plant will likely still survive underground and put up new canes each year, but they won't fruit in the current year.

I put mine to bed as soon as the ground freezes, then uncover around mid to late April when the snow is gone and the risk of hard freezes is over. They will still have green leaves when uncovered in the spring. Here's what mine look like when I put them to bed in early November -- I laid the canes down, put bricks on the end of the canes to hold them down, then covered with a thick layer of leaves and/or straw, then topped that with burlap to hold everything in place. (The blackberries are along the fence - one plant has snow on the burlap, the other doesn't. The other bed covered with loose straw has tender roses). Don't use poplar leaves, they compact into a slimy mat by spring. Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2014 at 3:15PM
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pictman

I was hoping it was our extreme winter last year as many of my small fruits didn't produce(grapes, blackberries, haskap, saskatoons, cherries, plums).Some are rather young so they will be excused. Thank goodness we had a big apple crop to make up for it . I'm thinking I could cover them with straw.Itreated them with Scoot as they seem to be a favorite deer snack so that should keep the mice at bay.How far do you bend or lay them down? Opinions?

    Bookmark   November 23, 2014 at 3:41PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Thank you all!
Terry, ...from Austria.

Leaves are good as long when put into a plastic bag or plastic coverings.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2014 at 3:49PM
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don555(3a)

Pictman -- straw is a great cover, probably the best. I usually use tree leaves, just because I have those for free in my backyard, whereas straw I have to go buy (kind of messy in my Honda Civic), then deal with disposing of the straw in the spring.

I try to lay the canes down as close to the ground as possible. It's best to start training them to lay almost flat in August, while they are most pliable. But that can be tough while you are still actively harvesting and everything is entangled. Basically, the closer to the ground the better. One year I even buried part of them under a few inches of soil, but that caused problems with rot. So go with canes as flat as possible, covered with straw.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2014 at 2:20AM
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wxjunkie(3a)

I have 2 Wild Treasures, 1 Black Diamond, and 2 Marionberry plants under heavy floating row cover. I did not cover any of them with straw, as that tends to attract voles. I let snow cover the row cover material and interestingly, though we've had some above freezing days, the snow has not melted off. I have numerous other potted blackberry plants under plastic and straw (don't care if the voles get to those, just protecting the roots) - the same method I use to protect potted grapevines (voles don't seem to like these). The others of my 30+ blackberry varieties are left to the elements, though I did mound some snow on one Tayberry. Siskiyou and Silvan did fairly well last year with just snow cover. Plus they have thorns and I have only recently come across the idea to use plastic under the floating row cover to prevent it from being shredded by the thorns I also read that using true white plastic for winter protection is much better than the clear to opaque plastic sold at hardware stores, which tends to trap heat inside and (for me) melt snow on top of it. Hull (sibling of Chester and somewhat earlier) and Illini Hardy will probably survive okay, though they are too late to ripen anything, so it doesn't matter.
I came across a study that examined the humidity surrounding blackberry canes in cold weather and what impact that had on cane survival. It appears that they can suffer substantial damage just from very dry air. And we know about dry air in the winter, don't we! I hope to play with this in the next two years to see if I can get better cane survival, but I think just adding floating row cover (which increases humidity, too) will make a big difference - unless the moose steps on it and the canes.
Don555, I also had much higher survival rates for berries that were inside the canopy when the frost hit. However, I also noticed that berry size appeared to be a factor on some varieties. Those that were already at least 1/2 of full size and green had high survival rates, whereas berries that were smaller tended to die - especially if they were 1/4 size or smaller. Silvan displayed this phenomenon, and I ended up cutting some off and bringing them inside just before the next frost almost a month later.
We now have 10 inches (25 cm) of snow (didn't drop below 0F/-18C before this accumulated), so everything should be tucked in nicely for the real cold - barring any episodes of rain.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2014 at 8:07PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Great report..thank you!

Only -18C...we had minus 35C! It worries me a bit, tooo....early!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2014 at 2:56PM
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Elwir

Apache

    Bookmark   January 1, 2015 at 8:17AM
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wayne

That Apache looks very nice even the unripe fruit has good color. I look forward to the day when growing black berries here won't be such a hit and miss event, but come to think of it, lots of plants that I'm trying to get to produce fruit is hit and miss. Happy New Year!!!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2015 at 11:25AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Apache looks good but needs to get covered also over winter.

Thank you..happy new 2015 to all of you!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2015 at 11:58PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Elwir in Bashkortostan, Russia
Please tell us, how do you grow these zone 6 berries in your harsh climate, minus 40 to minus 46 deg. winter temp.?

    Bookmark   January 2, 2015 at 2:17AM
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josey44

Great thread. Would any of the fellow Albertans be willing to send me some sticks? We are outside of Airdrie and I would love to try blackberries. I haven't seen any in store last summer at all.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2015 at 11:33AM
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northwoodswis4

Konrad,
Do you have any idea where one can buy Balsor's or Russian blackberries in the U.S.? Do the Russian ones have any other name? Thanks. Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   January 10, 2015 at 9:05PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Balsor's Hardy Black (Zone 3b) you can get from,..see link
Think this one is as good as it can get in terms of hardiness, the berries were better then the Russian, did some reading, apparently, the hardy blackberries originated in eastern Canada, not Russia.

Northwoodswis
Sorry, can't help you, the Russian I got as a no name for a trial.

Here is a link that might be useful: Balsor's Hardy Black (Zone 3b)

    Bookmark   January 11, 2015 at 1:15AM
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don555(3a)

Josey44, you aren't likely to find anyone who can send you any canes because commercial blackberries like Chester don't sucker like raspberries. The plants get larger and put up more stems each season, but they are all stems attached to the original plant, not suckers that root and can become independent plants.

Your best bet is probably either mail-order or a large store like Home Depot or Rona whose garden centres often have boxed Chester or other blackberries in April or May. I got my plants either at Home Depot or Rona -- they aren't the greatest quality but be choosy and you can usually find an okay plant.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2015 at 4:20PM
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northwoodswis4

Thanks, Konrad. Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   January 11, 2015 at 5:14PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Here is another source,

Here is a link that might be useful: Balsors Hardy Blackberry

This post was edited by konrad___far_north on Sun, Jan 11, 15 at 17:36

    Bookmark   January 11, 2015 at 5:31PM
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josey44

Thanks guys!

I planned on ordering from Veseys anyways. Had no idea they have blackberries!

    Bookmark   January 12, 2015 at 11:52AM
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northwoodswis4

Veseys will not ship plants to the U.S., so that leaves only Corn Hill that I can find that sells the Balsors to customers in the U.S. Unfortunately the postage and paperwork push the price up a lot. The bushes are ten dollars apiece, but the total bill for ordering three plants comes to ninety dollars. I don't know if I am that fond of blackberries! Plus their guarantee doesn't apply to the U.S., since there are often hold-ups at the border. If anyone else in the St.Paul, MN, area wanted to go in on some bushes to cut the postage and paperwork per plant, I might reconsider. Also, if anyone sees them anywhere for sale in the U.S., let me know. Thanks.
Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   January 13, 2015 at 7:30PM
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wxjunkie(3a)

After reading your entries this summer regarding Balsor's and the Russian variety, I'm wondering if Balsor's would be too late ripening for me. On the other hand, it also depends on how adaptable that variety is. Thanks for the source, konrad_far_north. May give it a try.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2015 at 7:21PM
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northwoodswis4

Okay, so I broke down and ordered some Balsors from Corn Hill. That plastic card and the internet are too easy to use in moments of weakness! I have plenty of room to plant, but do I have the stamina? Heave, ho, dig that pasture sod! Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   January 18, 2015 at 11:30PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

LOL...yeah, some misery short cold days at this time of the year with the combination of a warm house can do this to you!

Glad you found some, please let us know how they make out.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2015 at 9:46PM
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northwoodswis4

Will do, Konrad. Of course, it's all your fault! Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   January 19, 2015 at 11:41PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Haha... I think even in your zone good snow cover or other means of insulation for winter will be needed. Last winter we had lots of snow here, [without other insulation].

    Bookmark   January 20, 2015 at 12:07AM
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northwoodswis4

I just got an email from Corn Hill that blackberries are on the list of plants that they are not allowed to sell to the U.S., so I still can't get the Balsors. It was a nice little adrenalin rush there while it lasted, though. Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   January 20, 2015 at 5:07PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Oh darn!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2015 at 7:59PM
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salmon(4A WI)

I came across this informative thread, and just thought I'd let northwoodswis4 and others know that Fedco Trees offers a hardy thorny blackberry called Nelson. I planted three in Spring 2013 - they grew well, but were browsed by some deer that fall. The remaining canes and roots survived last year's brutal winter, and thrived (spread) this past growing season. I haven't got any fruit yet.

Here is a link that might be useful: Nelson blackberry

    Bookmark   January 24, 2015 at 12:11PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

As all hardy ones sounds very interesting, and the thorny native berries will be always hardier then thornless, upright growing, thus, will be subject to winter kill above snow line anyway for us in most years, unless one bends the canes down constantly over the growing season...allot of work!
I do think that if one wants to grow a decant size berry, then it just needs to get covered over winter. Doing so, the easiest will be thornless like Don has, the only drawback on Chester is, they're too late in ripening. Also, Chester is not truly trailing, semi erect. As I did more reading, it turns out my black satin does perform better to some growers then lots of others including Chester, guess one needs to try some. The Black satin is trailing which makes it nice to lay down for winter.
Will find out come spring if it made it.
Since Chester I dug up and potted, will try to grow in pot, ..easy to store away in a sheltered area,...I put it in the compost bin, that should give it some heat for winter survival lol.

Here is a link that might be useful: Best Blackberry bushes for zone 4

    Bookmark   February 1, 2015 at 10:30PM
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don555(3a)

Konrad, interesting link there.

I always say I'm growing Chester, but your link makes me wonder what I'm really growing. I have two blackberry plants. The first one was bought at somewhere like Home Depot as a "Chester Thornless", and has pink flowers and huge berries, but not a lot of berries. It grows on a trellis mixed with my grapes, and the competition between the two is why I assume it has low berry production. It gets very thick thornless canes that I have to train to grow horizontal early, or risk breaking them in the fall.

The second bush was a gift, also called "Chester Thornless". But it has white flowers, smaller fruit, and very heavy production, which I've assumed was to it growing on its own, without competition. The canes are thornless but much thinner than the other plant, much more heavily branched, and much easier to bend for covering in fall. Both plants produce fruit at the same time, which here is from the start of September to early October.

Reading this myself, it seems obvious I have two different varieties. Hardly surprising a blackberry (or both) would be mislabelled here. Now... I wonder what I REALLY have?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2015 at 1:32AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

I've studied blackberries this winter like never before,...the funny thing, one can read different things for the same plant! Some say trailing or semi erect for the same plant, the same with my black Satin! That makes me wondering, perhaps some nurseries grow them from seeds. As I remember, Chester has pinkish flowers by reading and seen on my plant. I've seen that my black satin grew a very long trailing cane in the first year, I've even tip rooted the end for a new plant. Anyway, still fun to see how each plant performs, your thinner cane plant makes it a better trailing plant and preferred to have for the ease of laying down. I'm pretty sure, the Black satin would work even better for you, earlier fruiting with larger berries. You're doing it the perfect way Don, by covering up with Straw,..Elwir from Russia [above] with similar climate covers them too and harvest tons of berries! I'm contemplating of getting a shredder, buy some straw bales and start chopping in fall! In spring, I can use the chopped straw to mulch my veggie garden for suppressing weed growth,..should be a win win enterprise. Boy, I sure love those blackberries! Was buying some from Costco again this weekend!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2015 at 10:00PM
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twrosz

Besides the 'Balsors Hardy Black' I have on order, I think I'll also attempt a tender trailing variety if I can come across one that fruits a bit earlier than 'Chester'.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2015 at 1:00AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

If you do find one, besides my black satin, please let us know, I searched long and hard but couldn't come up with anything else.

I think some in pots might just fit the bill, even Chester, growing in a pot above ground will push things ahead and harvest should start earlier.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2015 at 10:02PM
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wxjunkie(3a)

Interesting discussion. I too attempted to order Balsor's from Cornhill. Ended up ordering some roses. May have some Balsor's cuttings coming from the USDA, though. Konrad, Black Satin is similar to Chester in several respects (including heritage and growth habit) and I have read that erects and semi-erects tend to grow trailing the first year - mine did. With luck, the canes will remain soft and flexible. My Chesters produce very short, but very rigid thornless canes each year. Triple Crown produces canes that are a bit more flexible and are supposed to produce berries with better flavor. That is also a possibility for your unknown. As the plants get older, the canes of TC tend to get thicker at the base, however. I have Chester, Triple Crown, and Black Satin, but the latter is not large enough to compare to the others. For me, Triple Crown flowered and began developing fruit, but frost got the very young berries.
As far as trailing varieties go, only the Western blackberries and eastern dewberries (not hardy) are truly trailing (though I hear that some Rubus canadensis can have a trailing habit).
These Western blackberries are also much earlier to ripen, but hardiness below zone 6 is problematic, especially for you on the plains where snow cover is inconsistent. For comparison, my trailing blacks began flowering the fourth week of June, while the eastern (all erects and semi-erects) began flowering August 4th. Given that blackberries require about 8 weeks of warm weather to go from flower to ripe, my first trailing berries were ripening on time in late August, while the eastern varieties would have ripened in early October - a good 6 weeks later. And, even though this was a cooler than normal year, I believe these dates are representative (+/- one week). They also suggest a one month delay in ripening between Don555's location and my location.
Right now, my trailing varieties are experiencing +22F (-6C) under 15 inches (38 cm) of snow, while it is -15F (-26C) above the snow at my farm. In the valley below me it is -35F (-37C). Thank goodness for atmospheric inversions.
Costco blackberries? Hope they are better than those at Sam's Club (disgusting compared to my fresh ones)!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2015 at 1:05AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Thanks for this post, you have definitely more experience then me, plus heaving 36 cultivars, WOW! The Chester is a late fruiting berry where Black Satin is mid summer,..as I read.
Just found Dirksen, [do you have?] I read, similar to Black Satin but earlier ripening. Also would like to try the upright growing Kiowa. HUGE berries, early, HUGE thorns but need covering.
What is your conclusion so far out of the 36 cultivars,..which ones do you think can be a keeper? Or, will you do some serious covering up for winter survival and production? Under a tunnel would be another option for pushing ripening ahead.

There are no nurseries in Canada I've found to purchase any other cultivars to try out.

Don't know what you had at Sam's Club, the Costco's berries came from Mexico..very nice.

This post was edited by konrad___far_north on Sun, Feb 8, 15 at 3:08

    Bookmark   February 8, 2015 at 3:05AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I just found this thread. I'm interested in hardy blackberries. Even though in zone 6 many struggle here without protection. The hardest blackberries I found are Darrow, which are all over and supposedly hardy to -25 .Upright thorny, and Nelson, which I know little about.
Both are very old cultivars. Darrow from around 1940 and Nelson from around 1915.

Currently I have neither, but was thinking of trying at least Darrow for now. My problem is my garden is full to the brim of other cultivars. I need to remove some to try these as is. I hate doing that!

Anyway I want to cross Darrow with some moderns to develop a great tasting hardy blackberry. it will be thorny and maybe trailing (Darrow is upright). Currently I'm practicing crosses and germinating seeds, both are not easy with blackberries. I have been getting help from Pete Tallman a raspberry breeder on technique. He recently released Niwot. He also sent me seeds of unreleased raspberries, a very cool gentleman!
Nobody really in the Rubus breeding circles is working on a super hardy blackberry I know of, and it is needed obviously from this discussion. I hope to change that! But it may be a decade before anything is developed, if I'm even successful.
So you can't get these (Darrow and Nelson) in Canada? Cultivars that seem worth trying there.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2015 at 3:53AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Thank you Drew!
No Nelson and Darrow in Canada.
Since I got 2 hardy wild ones already, [Russian and Balsor], upright with small berries, I figured that I don't need 4 of them, lol.
Still, it would be cool to test more and see the difference,..roundup can be obtained easily down the road if things don't work out.

>>Nobody really in the Rubus breeding circles is working on a super hardy blackberry I know ofThat has changed, I did crosses, Black Satin with the hardy Russian,..but when the berries came, I couldn't resist, I ate all of them! lol.. Hopefully next season with more berries.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2015 at 11:08AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Ha! That is funny! I'm growing out some raspberries I crossed for practice. I managed not to eat them! It won't be till 2016 before I can even try hardy blackberry crossing. I need to establish and grow Darrow out. I should check Nelson too, but the price is steep.

Tyler in Ontario has a yellow blackcap, looks pretty cool. I'm sure he would sent you plants or seeds if interested.
Tyler is close to me and comes across the border from time to time. Once established I'll have to show him Darrow! ;->

Check this thread out if you haven't seen it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Yellow Caps

    Bookmark   February 8, 2015 at 11:29AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

I'm after Blackberries, have more then enough Raspberries, also have yellow and black.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2015 at 12:16PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Ok, no problem. I myself was fascinated by the size of the yellow black raspberries. I never tasted them, and look forward to mine growing. I want to compare to the yellows from the reds. I never knew a black raspberry could be yellow. Bet it tastes nothing like the yellow's from reds.
Tyler also has two cultivars of white blackberries. I now have both and should get a taste in 2016. I heard though they are nothing special, all the same quite unusual!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2015 at 1:27PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Interesting but one NEEDS more the dark ones,.. much more loaded with antioxidants.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2015 at 2:18PM
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northwoodswis4

So the western trailing blackberries are much earlier? Maybe that is what I should try, covered with straw. We don't get consistent heavy snow cover here, but hopefully straw would work. What variety would be a good one to try for border of zones 3/4? Are there some good nurseries that sell by the individual plant, rather than groups of three? Then one can experiment more. Actually I am more obsessed with growing many kinds of fruit than I am in eating them, which is good, because so far there hasn't been that much eating from many of them!

Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   February 10, 2015 at 8:28AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Some sell individual I think indiana berry does. Raintree has some trailing.You could also trade with people. But my tailing are young, and I have not root tipped any yet to make new crowns. I plan on doing that next fall. If you have any interest in others at that time, as stated I could use a Nelson!

I have of trailing types

Boysenberry

Marionberry

Siskiyou (I have extra super small ones right now-Bay Laurel may have some?)

Columbia Star (Raintree has them-thornless)

Wyeberry (you won't find this anywhere)

Black Diamond (Raintree-thornless)

Loch Ness (Raintree-thornles) This may be semi-erect? Mine is trailing first year.

Tayberry

One that died on me is Loganberry. Tayberry, Wyeberry, and Boysenberry survived winter here last year.The rest are young I bought last spring, or traded for. I traded for Siskiyou, and Marion. And three of us all bought Columbia Star together last spring. As we only wanted one plant. it's so easy to make new plants, one needs only one of each.

The thorny ones are a little more hardy. probably the Wyeberry is the hardiest of the bunch.

I had a lot root on me last year, but I pulled them out, I have limited room. i should have made plants for trade, my bad. i will this summer.

I use leaves to cover my tailing types. I put burlap around the edges.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2015 at 9:22AM
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northwoodswis4

Thanks for all that info. I have probably bit off all I can chew for this year. Will have to see how the ones I have already ordered do, and then take it from there. Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   February 10, 2015 at 12:42PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I also ordered Newberry too. Good luck. I think Nelson and Darrow are going to do fine where you are. Keep us updated on them.

I think Darrow is the better cultivar, but not positive. I would also like you to test some crosses for me in a few years. See if they can grow in your zone with no protection. Well I hope to have some crosses by then. Good luck and enjoy!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2015 at 1:58PM
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wxjunkie(3a)

Wow! Lots of action on this thread in the middle of winter. So, decided to order some Nelsons, though they will probably be too late for me. Am hoping to get some Balsor's from a repository, but probably ditto. Konrad, Dirksen is supposedly not a good choice for "northern" climates-so I didn't bother. Not sure why and not sure it is much earlier than Hull (which is supposed to be a little earlier than Chester). It may not be as hardy as Chester or Hull. Indiana Berry has Hull. I've only had Hull two years. It survived well last winter, but we have less snow cover this year and it was grazed heavily by moose before the snow fell. It will probably still have some green canes on it though. Canes are pretty rigid, but the tips can be weighted down mid season to encourage a more trailing habit. Hull flowered with the other "eastern" varieties (Triple Crown and Indian-named) around the first of August for me. Since I don't have anything comparable to you, Konrad, I can't say if it will be any earlier for you. We also had an early frost (end of August) last summer that killed all the young berries (including all on my "eastern" varieties), so I didn't even get the chance to cut them off and bring them inside. I do have very small Darrow and Black Satin plants, but they will take a while to get established. I don't expect either to survive above the snow line. I'll need at least another year to determine which varieties to recommend. With the rain and cool temps we had last summer, it just wasn't very representative. As far as tunnels go, blackberries don't set fruit very well above about 80-85 F (27-30C) and my tunnels reach that frequently during flowering time unless I am home all day (which I usually am not). Plus, here they don't extend the season, since temps in the low to mid-20s F (-3 to -6C) usually mark the beginning and end of our typical growing season. And then there is taking them down for the winter and still having to worry about snow cover.

I have Kiowa and so far have not been impressed. VERY thorny and about as hardy as the other Arkansas (Indian named) varieties to about -5 to -10F (-22 to -25C). Natchez appears to be a little hardier - will see this spring. It is erect. On the erect varieties, you risk seriously damaging the canes if you attempt to bend them over. Interestingly, Hull seems able to repair damage (breakage) to its canes more easily than other varieties. The Arkansas varieties are half Darrow and varying degrees of Brazos (a not very cold tolerant variety from Texas). Illini Hardy is another one that is fairly hardy (to -24F, -31C, reportedly), but is very late (probably later than chester) to ripen. It survived here last winter with a minimum of -24F (-31C), but it also was weighted down with snow, so it didn't feel the full effects. This winter I've seen -28F (-33C) and everything above the snow looks pretty dead. Darrow is in the lineage of all the hardier varieties already.

Good call on the antioxidants, Konrad. Yep, not much value in "white" fruit.

Drew51 and Northwoodswis4, I can only speculate on trailing varieties that might work for you. Here in interior Alaska, we tend to have persistent snow cover over much of the winter - thank goodness, since not much survives -50F (-45C) with the dew points we have and the days on end that these temperatures can last. We just had our first and probably last real cold spell of the season. It lasted from Jan. 25th through Feb 9th, with lows in the -30 to -45F (-34 to -42C) range except for 5 days where lows only reached the -20s. My farm escaped most of that (as it often does), with minimums of only 0 to -28 F (-18C to -33C). What I have found is that a few trailing varieties stand out as hardier than the rest. These include Black Diamond (which has Comanche in its lineage - one of the hardier Arkansas varieties) and Silvan (sometimes spelled Sylvan and is a backcross between Marionberry and Boysenberry). I haven't tasted Black Diamond as the fruit is extremely susceptible to frost, but Silvan has a truly wonderful sweet boysenberry flavor and the fruit and foliage are moderately tolerant of temperatures down to 28F (-2C), odd for a blackberry (a cross in this case). Black Diamond survived well without cover other than snow last winter (again, a fairly warm one for me) and Silvan was at about 40% cane survival Tayberry has been another good one for me. It too has frost-tolerant berries and foliage, though it is fast growing and the tips suffer frost damage. It is semi-trailing in habit but is easily coaxed into laying down. The berries are hard to pick, however. If you do cover these with straw, I think you will need to put a layer of material on to block the wind as the second biggest threat to blackberries is dehydration. A study in Maryland looked at laying thick floating row cover over the canes and they noted much better survival when humidities were kept high under the covers. I have also had good success with a thornless Loganberry - though not sure why.

I still favor Wild Treasure for its earliness and adaptability to my climate - much much less heat than Wisconsin. It is not hardy below 0F (-18C), but I can increase success by laying floating row cover over it in mid-September. 6 inches (15 cm) of snow typically accumulates before temperatures reach -5F (-20C) where I live, so little else is usually needed.

I am not fond of Siskiyou as it is overly vigorous, easily damaged by wind and suckers excessively. It produced the first primocane in late April last year (before the cold weather was over) and by mid-September had probably produced 15 primocanes from each crown. Unfortunately, these canes were broken repeatedly by wind storms, leaving a thorny mass in the middle of the plant and a few canes stretched out. It ripens over a long season (no good for me) and refuses to pollinate or ripen when the average daily temperature is below about 55 F (12C), which is not unusual where I live.

I have Stenulson from Wisconsin, which appears to be a rather wimpy blackberry and seriously needs to be trellised. It survived last winter pretty well, but was damaged repeatedly by wind this summer. It grows fairly vigorously otherwise. It has not flowered yet, but is probably too late ripening for me. I'm also looking into getting Fort Kent King - one that caused a buzz among the NAFEX group a few years ago. It is available in northern Vermont - I just have to find someone who lives there that wouldn't mind getting it from the nursery, unpotting it and mailing it to me. No small feat. I am also trying to get a sibling of Wild Treasure from the national germplasm program. Orders are in. TIme to wait and see.

If anyone is interested, I posted a YouTube video a few weeks ago of a quick winter tour. You can find it by searching YouTube for "Fairbanks winter grape" and looking for the 10 min and 47 second video.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2015 at 1:13AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

WX good report thanks. I still may go back to using local wild plants that seem to have no issues with the cold for breeding. As far as whites not having antioxidants, well that is speculation, other compounds of value might be present too. Plus I grow fruit for taste mostly, not nutritional value. They are hardy too. I could never get myself to kill such rare plants.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2015 at 5:00AM
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gator_rider6

I grow blackberries in warm climate if plant dies the berries will ripen on dead canes so cutting and take plants inside to ripen sounds good for North. If pick berries center cone be green not gray they taste much better if cone inside druplet are gray, its real problem in thornless varieties. I store mine in frig 24 hours they all taste better, Blackberries fruit size up at three stages green, red and black by heat water cut ends may pick up water for few days help final sizing. I almost forgot if want tartness just add dozen green berries to recipe I've got try that in my 7 days to wine recipe lol.

In my studies of blackberries in zone 3 and 4 cover with 6 foot straw for erect variety cut main cain low The laterals pinch bud out not cut main cane. When time to remove straw the lateral can be trellis up, so the new canes be trained under crop laterals. Blackberry plants are heavy feeder fertilizes at 5% bloom for larger berries and leaves. You want cover canes with straw just before go dormant. if don't they make berries under staw.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2015 at 6:58PM
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wxjunkie(3a)

Thanks for the info gator_rider6. That is a lot of straw (and the weeds it brings with it). Here (Fairbanks, AK), straw is not very useful unless it is covered with snow. It is usually only used as a ground cover to protect ornamental herbaceous plants until the snow cover becomes established in the fall. I know you can put straw bales around and over plants to protect them, but again that is a lot of cost. Plus, here voles are very attracted to straw and will eat anything green under it (thorns and all) and leave a stinky mess behind.

My berries seemed to size up quite well in just room temperature water. They were in a jar of water in a sunny window - just as Don555 has done in the past.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2015 at 4:46PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Here straw is the best, has fewer weed seeds than anything else, well it depends on type of straw. Not like Hay though! Pine needles is what I use to cover my strawberries. I forage them myself. For blackberries I use leaves too. I don't use row cover, but that is an excellent idea. I have been using burlap, as i had it on hand. I have found the most hardy trailing to be boysen and wyeberry. Although I need more time to experiment. Loch Ness seems to be fairly hardy too, but it's new and I need more time to study it.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2015 at 4:51AM
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Konrad..just outside of Edmoton Alberta(zone 3)

Straw from fields of wheat/barley/oats etc. are sprayed with herbicides, virtually no weeds in the straw. I'm planning to use it between fabrics, then summer usage for mulching veggie garden to help suppress weeds and moisture loss.

Good info. thank you all!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2015 at 11:56AM
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Konrad..just outside of Edmoton Alberta(zone 3)

..but only about 6 inches of straw, not 6 foot.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2015 at 11:58AM
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Konrad..just outside of Edmoton Alberta(zone 3)

How come only Don's pictures are showing, rest disappeared. Can't even edit them back because no edit button. Does this also show on your end??

    Bookmark   February 26, 2015 at 7:29PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Well one of mine is showing, but not the other? Strange , it must be Houzz.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2015 at 9:23PM
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gator_rider6

Yes started after I saw all photo here Houzz.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2015 at 9:24PM
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Konrad..just outside of Edmoton Alberta(zone 3)

OK..sorry, drew, I did see your only one. Have contacted Houzz, they said,..

>>Were your photos hosted elsewhere and embedded previously? If so, they will not show. If you would like to comment with the photos again, you can add them directly to the post by clicking the Photo button in your comment box. Sorry about the confusion!<<

NO host, pictures came from desktop, where is the photo button in comment box in the post?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2015 at 10:07PM
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Konrad..just outside of Edmoton Alberta(zone 3)

I think it happened the day when Houzz took over.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2015 at 10:09PM
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gator_rider6

Houzz Photo

Its in bar below when commenting like B for Bold line

    Bookmark   March 3, 2015 at 6:42PM
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Konrad..just outside of Edmoton Alberta(zone 3)

Yes,..I know how to add photos when commenting or starting a new thread,

..if that's what you mean.

Houzz wrote back saying the same,...

When you are posting a new comment, you should definitely see a photo button at the bottom of the box to add photos. We've attached a screenshot for you.
If you are not seeing it, please let us know what browser and version you are using.

For editing, original posts can be edited for up to one hour to correct typos, and comments on discussions can be edited for up to one week. Hope that helps.

Houzz Support

That isn't the problem, the problem is, all of my pictures and some others are missing in this thread.

Why they can not see this??

    Bookmark   March 3, 2015 at 7:02PM
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Konrad..just outside of Edmoton Alberta(zone 3)

Strange...my pictures are back but Don's are gone!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2015 at 9:36PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

This winter I buried my trailing types in leaves and sprayed with an anti-desiccant too, any that were exposed, some semi-uprights. It seemed to have worked well.

Cultivars like Black Diamond and Columbia Star made it. Both thornless trailing types.

I have high hopes for Columbia Star it has many raspberry-blackberry hybrids in it's lineage (20% Marion), and should have a very complex taste. Marion IMHO is the best of the raspberry-blackberry hybrids Also the info on it shows it is very productive too. More productive than Black Diamond or Marion.

The biggest problem is digging them out and not breaking canes. It's a mess. this year I think I will trellis primocanes and lay down in a neat pile in the fall. letting them just trail on their own made for a tangled mess!

Also interesting is it's thornless trait. It uses the Lincoln-Logan gene bred in from New Zealand cultivars. A very interesting blackberry!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2015 at 5:49AM
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wxjunkie(3a)

Drew51, how cold did you get this winter? Were the blackberries under snow during the cold? What anti-dessicant did you use? Have you seen examples of the loop systems western growers use for the trailing blackberry varieties in cold winter locations? If not, here is my attempt at explaining it. On a two-wire trellis, you hang 2 hooks, one about 24-36 inches from the center of the plant on each side on the upper wire (so the hooks are 4-6 ft apart, with the plant in between them). Once the primocanes are about 4 ft long, you start training them toward these hooks (half the primocanes to one side and half to the other - or you could put all on one side, alternating sides every other year). Once the primocanes are to the hook, start wrapping them into a circle that is suspended by the hook. To me, it looks like Mickey Mouse with his ears being the loops of primocanes hung on the hooks. All of the canes to each hook are well secured to each other, so they move more or less as one loop. In the fall, the loops are removed from the hooks and laid flat on the ground and covered over. This is quite easy to manage if you keep the loops fairly small. I tried to find my reference to this method, but I could be looking for days. In the spring, uncover the loops and hang the canes (carefully, as at this point the canes are somewhat brittle on some varieties - this method is real popular with Siskiyou and Marion). Once berry production is finished, cut all floricanes off near the ground and begin training primocanes to loops. Depending on the vigor of your plants and ripening season, you might find that you need to start training primocanes before floricane production is finished. In that case, you would use alternating sides for primocane training and floricane production. This method does not work for Wild Treasure, whose canes are thinner and stiffen up much earlier in the season than Marion or Siskiyou. It may not work well with Black Diamond either, but for me BD isn't overly productive of primocanes and its short stature makes it relatively easy to trellis. I know from experience that Siskiyou floricanes are very flexible as I wound them as primocanes (skipped the hooks as that would remove them from the precious heat of the ground) into loops overwintered them on the ground and then they were thrown about the next summer (still on the ground - they've got to be tough) by three wind storms of 40+mph. A little beat up, but not really all that bad and the canes never broke from the crown.

A bit long, but hopefully you get the picture.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2015 at 5:56PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Yea, thanks that sounds like a perfect system for me! I have Marion and Siskiyou too. And I can say it will work for Columbia Star the vines are very flexible. It got down to -16F here and I used Bonide's product Wilt Stop or Wilt Proof, but only on the uprights, and some have dieback. So it was not perfect. Also sometimes they look ok now, but still die. I'll report back later too. I also have Boysen and wyeberry and the loop system should work for them too.

I have Black Diamond too. Also Loch Ness, Triple Crown, Natchez, and Chester.

Oh also Navaho, I may eliminate many and just go for the trailing. For upright I'm going to try Darrow.

The blackberries were under leaves, burlap, and snow. We got a lot of snow this year.

Here is how many leaves I put on them. I covered the edges with burlap

    Bookmark   March 17, 2015 at 8:57PM
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