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Blackberry ‘Chester’ (Thornless)

‘Chester’ is the most winter hardy of the thornless varieties. It has large, sweet, high-quality berries with good flavor. It is excellent for fresh eating, jams, jellies, and pies. This recent USDA introduction with glossy, jet black fruit has to be seen to be believed. ‘Chester’ is largest fruiting thornless blackberry grown, individual fruits measure up to 1 inch long, as big as small plums. The flowers are a light pink and decorative. Just 45 berries will fill a quart basket, compared to more than 100 regular blackberries. ‘Chester’ ripens in August.

Furnish ample moisture during the growing period and cultivate frequently. After the first fruiting season, prune to the ground to allow room for new canes. Additional pruning should be done each spring to keep plants from becoming tangled and to improve their ability to bear. Successful growing depends on pruning the plant to 5-6 canes, along with training new canes to stand erect.

Availability

# Description Qty per Unit Units Available Price/Unit
Bulk
BL150BAG Blackberry 'Chester' (Thornless) 25 75 $77.50
Blackberry_ChesterThornless
BL150-1

Plant Details +

Botanical Rubus fruticosus 'Chester'
Size 1 YR #1
Height 5'
Spacing 4-6'
Hardiness Zones 5-9
Exposure Full sun
Foliage Large, green
Fruit Jet black
Harvest Summer-Bearing

General Information +

General Characteristics: 'Chester' performs well in the deep South. Will not soften or lose color on hot, sunny days. Blackberries fruit on two-year-old canes. After they have finished fruiting, the canes should be pruned away at the base. The fruit attracts birds. The brown thrasher, gray catbird, northern cardinal, northern mockingbird, and white-eyed vireo commonly nest in blackberry and raspberry thickets. Flowers attract butterflies, notably the western tiger swallowtail. Although the flowers are attractive, this blackberry is grown primarily as a fruit crop and is not considered appropriate for ornamental use.

Planting/Care Instructions +

Planting Instructions: May be planted in any well-drained soil. Dig a hole large enough to encompass the roots without bending or circling. Set the plant in place so the crown (part of the plant where the roots meet the stem) is about 1-2" below the soil surface. Cover with soil to the original soil surface and water thoroughly. Fertilize at planting and again in late spring. Choose a sunny site in your garden with good air circulation, water drainage, and a pH of 6.0-7.0. Keep roots moist until planting. Work plenty of organic matter into the soil and mulch to keep out weeds. Plant as soon as the soil has warmed. Trim canes to encourage new growth. Plants should be set out at least 2 feet apart in rows 7 feet apart. Trellising is beneficial for cane support. These summer-bearing berries produce fruit on second-year canes (floricanes). In the fall of the 2nd year, prune spent canes at ground level and thin others to approximately 4 canes per foot of row. Cut off any suckers that grow outside of the rows. Trim remaining blackberry canes to 7 feet.

Pests or Diseases: 'Chester' can experience anthracnose, botrytis, and verticillium wilt. Cane borers and crown borers are potential insect pests. 'Chester' is most resistant to Cane Blight caused by Botryosphaeria dothidea.