Blackberry Thornfrey is loved by many gardeners for its excellent taste, simplicity and high yield. This variety is grown both in summer cottages and on farm lands.
The history of growing the blackberry variety Thornfree
The Thornfree Blackberry was introduced to the United States in 1966. It is the result of selection by Dr. Scott. The name of the variety can be literally translated as free from thorns, which is fully consistent with reality.
Blackberries of the Thornfree variety instantly gained popularity in their homeland and quickly spread throughout the world, including growing in Russia. Even 15 years ago, there were no other thornless varieties in our latitudes, perhaps that is why she still often becomes a pioneer in the garden plots of novice summer residents.
Thornfree Blackberries are large and oval in shape.
Since 2006, the Thornfree blackberry has been included in the Russian State Register and is cultivated on an industrial scale.
Description of the variety
Thornfree is a late-ripening dessert variety that is a powerful, semi-growing bush. Shoots are thick, rounded and thornless. Lateral branches without wax coating and with some pubescence. Fruiting begins in the second year of the shoot's life. Thornfrey blackberry leaves are large, double-serrate, slightly pubescent, dark green in color.
The berries are large, black, regular oval, suitable for freezing. They have large drupes and slight pubescence. The tasting score of berries was the highest at one time. Now experts rate Thornfree berries at 4 points fresh, and after processing they give them 3 points.
Until the stage of maturity, the berries retain their gloss. Having reached maximum ripeness, they become dull, sweet, acquire a noticeable aroma, but their consistency becomes less dense, so the blackberries are harvested in a state of technical maturity. At this time, the berries are still sour and practically do not smell, but they retain their shape perfectly.
With proper care, 2 buckets of berries can be harvested from one blackberry bush
Thornfree Blackberries are very fruitful. With proper care, enough sunlight and moisture, up to 20 kilograms of berries are harvested from one bush per season.
Table: characteristics of the Thornfree blackberry variety
Features of planting and growing
Thornfrey blackberry bushes are planted at a distance of 1.5-2 meters. There are two ways to form them:
- vertical - then experts advise leaving a distance of 2.5–3.0 m between the rows;
- horizontal - allows you to save space and plant bushes closer to each other.
In any case, the blackberry needs fastening. For him, trellises up to 2.5 m high are suitable, on which three to four rows of wire are stretched.
Thornfree Blackberry Care
This blackberry variety is responsive to organic fertilization. It reacts well to humus, ash, compost. Very good results for the formation of ovaries are obtained by the addition of urea, potassium complex, nitroammophoska.
For a better yield, it is recommended to mulch the soil under the Thornfree brambles. The following works great for this:
- vegetable raw materials - straw, freshly cut grass, chopped bark, etc.
- cardboard, fiberboard scraps, etc.
Video: Thornfree Studless Blackberry
Watering is very useful during the ripening period, especially if the summer is hot. At the same time, excessive moistening of the earth should be avoided, which can cause root rot. It is usually sufficient to water Thornfree's blackberries once a week with up to 20 liters of water under the bush. The need for watering is determined by the state of the mulch layer, if it is wet - it is too early to water, it has begun to dry out - it's time.
The opinions of experts about pruning blackberries and shaping a bush vary. Some believe that in order to obtain the greatest yield, strict regulation of the length of the shoots is necessary.
To increase the yield, experts advise to form a bush by cutting off the branches that have been flattened this year.
Others, on the other hand, believe that yields are better increased by increasing the volume of the bush. However, as practice shows, in this matter it is necessary to take into account the factors of a specific landing:
- the area of the plot set aside for blackberries;
- the number of bushes;
- personal preferences.
In order to form a fan bush, the fruiting branches of the blackberry are weaved, stacking one on top of the other. At the same time, new shoots are left to grow freely, only orienting them in the right direction.
If you choose the method of growing Thornfrey blackberries with short pruning, then when the shoot of the desired length is reached, it is cut with a pruner. This stimulates the growth of lateral stems, which are later also pruned.
In any case, experienced gardeners recommend cutting out the shoots that have borne fruit this year. This significantly increases the yield.
Video: pruning a blackberry bush
Other tips for growing Thornfree blackberries
The declared frost resistance of the Thornfrey variety does not exceed 15–20 degrees Celsius. This means that practically throughout the entire territory of our country it is necessary to cover the plant for the winter.
Various materials can be chosen for the blackberry winter shelter.
It is not recommended to use a film to cover the blackberry, it is better to use:
- spruce branches;
- insulation mats.
When choosing material for a shelter, consider the presence of rodents who like to feast on fresh roots and natural insulation. If such pests are present, give preference to artificial materials.
Reviews of Blackberry Thornfree
Despite the fact that the Thornfrey blackberry variety was bred more than half a century ago, it is still quite competitive and very popular today. Most farmers leave positive reviews about it.
Growing blackberries of the Thornfrey variety, you can get a rich harvest every year without much work and effort. It is enough to plant the bushes in a lighted place, cut off old branches in time, apply fertilizers and, if necessary, water.
Rate the article:
(8 votes, average: 4.9 out of 5)
Share with your friends!
Blackberry santiam variety description
In terms of its taste, useful properties of berries and undemanding care, blackberries are not inferior, and in many respects even surpasses their relative, raspberries. In addition, breeders have bred many thornless varieties, which is an undoubted advantage of the culture. One of these varieties, Navajo, was developed by agricultural scientists at the University of Arkansas. Now it is popular not only among American amateur gardeners, but Russian summer residents also prefer to grow it.
Blackberry Navajo: description and characteristics of the variety
Blackberries are a very productive crop. It is happily grown both on an industrial scale and in private plots around the world. The only significant drawback of the plant is the huge number of thorns. One of the tasks of the breeders at the University of Arkansas was the development of new hybrids that do not have thorns. These include the Navajo variety obtained in the late 80s of the last century.
Blackberries of the Navajo variety are not too large, their weight ranges from 4 to 7 g
Compared to other varieties and hybrids of blackberries, Navajo berries are not too large, their weight ranges from 4 to 7 g. However, the not too large fruit size is compensated by the huge number of berries that ripen on one bush. On average, their number reaches about 500 pieces.
Navajo is the name of an Indian tribe. All hybrids of the blackberry series, which appeared as a result of the selection work of specialists from the state of Arkansas, received their names in honor of the Indian tribes. Among them are the varieties Arapaho, Cherokee, Apache and so on.
Navajo blackberry shoots grow upright. They exceed 1.5 m in height. Glossy berries have a moderately sweet taste. The ripening period is extended for a month, the fruits ripen in August - early September. The bushes are thornless, so manual picking is easy and painless. The berries are ideal for fresh consumption, for freezing or for making jams, pies, drinks and more.
In season, the bush of blackberries of the Navajo variety is strewn with berries
Table: characteristics of blackberry fruits of the Navajo variety
Table: Advantages and Disadvantages of Navajo Blackberries
Video: review of blackberry varieties Navajo, Black Satin, Karaka Black, Ruben
Blackberries of the Navajo variety are undemanding to care, but still they must be planted according to all the rules. If you choose the most suitable place and fertilize when planting, then the plant will present its owners with fragrant berries annually.
Choosing a place
When choosing the location of blackberries on the site, gardeners should be guided by some of the characteristics of the culture. Blackberry is a light-loving plant, so it is recommended to choose a sunny place for it. It also grows well in partial shade, but with a lack of sunlight, the berries will shrink and the shoots will stretch out.
It is recommended to plant a blackberry in a row in a sunny place.
It should also be taken into account that the culture does not tolerate excessively moist soil. In the place where blackberries are planted, the depth of groundwater should be at least 1 m, otherwise the plant may simply die. Blackberries are considered a non-resistant crop. The site for planting seedlings should be well protected from sudden gusts of wind from all directions.
Unlike other crops that are recommended to be planted on the site in autumn, blackberry seedlings are best planted in early spring, so that the aboveground part of young plants does not freeze in winter. Experienced gardeners advise planting blackberries in a row along the border of the site, stepping back from the fence 1.5 m.It is necessary to leave a distance of 1 m between the plants in the line, since the Navajo variety has a great ability to shoot.
Pits for planting blackberries are prepared 2 weeks before the expected date
Pits for seedlings are prepared 2 weeks before the expected date of planting. They dig holes about 40 cm deep and wide. A nutritious substrate is laid on the bottom (the top fertile layer of earth, mixed with humus or compost and mineral fertilizers). Soil is poured onto it without fertilizers so that the roots of the seedlings do not "burn out".
Step-by-step instructions for planting blackberries
- Moisten the soil in the planting pit prepared in advance.
- Place the seedling in the middle and spread the roots.
- Sprinkle soil on the root system so that the growth bud located at the base of the main shoot is not more than 2–3 cm deep. If you deepen it, the beginning of fruiting may be delayed by a year.
The growth bud should be 2–3 cm deep
Blackberry shoots are tall, so they need support
Agrotechnics of Navajo blackberries are simple. If you plant the plant according to the recommendations, then the first berries will appear the next year, and in the fifth year the Navajo bushes will give the largest harvest. The main tasks of a gardener when growing a crop will be the formation of bushes, abundant watering and preparation for winter.
Blackberries are drought tolerant, but they need moisture during flowering and fruit setting. Under each bush, you need to pour 10 liters of water if there is no precipitation during this period. Please note that blackberries cannot tolerate too much moisture.
Blackberries form shoots very actively, which thickens the planting and prevents the formation of berries. Because of this feature of the culture, the bushes must be cut off from the second year after planting. There are several ways to form blackberry bushes - the choice of which one to use depends on the location of the plantings and on the preferences of the gardener.
Blackberries give a lot of growth, so the bush must be cut off annually.
Pruning is done in the fall. Cut out all shoots in front and behind the bush. On the sides, 3 fruiting shoots are left, and in the middle they cut out all the old ones, leaving 3-4 new stems.
Formation of landings with ropes
With this method, fruiting shoots are placed along the wire, and all stems that grow outside the row are cut out completely. 3-4 new shoots are left in the center of the bush.
Shoots with berries are directed in waves along the extreme row, and young ones make up the second. After the end of fruiting, the first row is cut out completely, and the new growth becomes fruiting branches for the next year.
Placing growing and fruiting shoots separately makes plant maintenance and harvesting much easier.
Preparation for wintering
The Navajo Blackberry is a cover crop. Shoots after the end of leaf fall must be tied and bent to the ground. It is recommended to insulate them from above with spruce branches or special non-woven material.
Keep in mind that blackberry shoots are quite fragile and can crack easily when bent to the ground.
Some gardeners advise placing blackberries on the ground along with a trellis. To do this, the posts are taken out of the ground and placed together with the shoots. This method allows you to protect brittle stems from damage.
Video: features of caring for blackberries
About pests and diseases
American varieties, including Navajo, are declared resistant to common blackberry pests and diseases. Even aphids and gall midges rarely damage them. But still, it will not be superfluous to recall the ailments and insect pests that annoy the culture.
Table: common blackberry diseases and pests that attack the crop
To prevent the spread of pests and diseases, at the end of the growing season, sprouted shoots, as well as branches significantly damaged by pests and diseases, must be cut and burned.
Photo gallery: pests and diseases of blackberries
Reviews of the blackberry varieties Navajo
The blackberries of the Navajo variety are not as large as the fruits of other modern crop hybrids, but this figure is compensated for by the yield and excellent taste of the berries. In addition, thornless shoots have an erect shape, so caring for a Navajo is very simple and even a novice gardener will be able to grow an American variety.
- Author: Oleg Sitnikov