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Xela's Garden

Blackberry thornless [V]

Genus: Rubus.

Species: Rubus fruticosus.

Cultivar: 'Loch Ness' (?)

Skill Level: Experienced

Exposure: Full sun, Partial shade

Hardiness: Hardy

Soil type: Well-drained/light, Dry, Sandy

Height: 180cm
Spread: 90cm

Blackberries are ideal fruit crops for growing on walls and fences in gardens, where they often produce larger fruits than in the wild, and may also be planted as windbreaks or impenetrable boundary hedges: older vigorous varieties, with their long thorny canes, are best for this purpose.
Modern compact kinds such as 'Loch Ness' are more restrained and may be trained more like raspberries. The growth is semi-upright and thornless, making training and picking very easy. 'Loch Ness' has some of the largest fruits, with good colour and flavour. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

When to prune:
Pruning is carried out after harvesting in summer or autumn. As the new canes start growing the following spring and summer, they need to be tied into their supports.

How to prune and train:
Fruit is produced on two-year-old canes so, to make things easy, keep this year’s fruiting canes separate from young new canes as the season progresses.
Try tying the new canes in a vertical bunch in the centre (you can keep them tidy by tying them out along the top wire in bunches). Train the fruiting canes along the lower three wires, tying them in with twine.
In autumn, the fruited canes can easily be pruned out from the base after harvesting, and you should then take the bundled-up current year’s canes and train them along the lower wires to make space for next year’s new canes to be bundled in the centre. Alternatively, tie fruiting canes in one direction and the current year’s canes in the other.
Sometimes the fruiting canes are twisted around the wires in patterns to conserve space with very vigorous cultivars such as ‘Himalayan Giant’. Plants with strong, rigid canes that cannot easily be twisted around the wires (e.g. ‘King’s Acre Berry’) can be trained as a fan, with the new growth bunched in the centre, as above. Blackberries and hybrid berries are vigorous. Allow for 20–25 fruiting canes per plant.
Some additional pruning in spring may be needed to remove frost-damaged growth after winter.

Providing plant support:
When growing blackberries or hybrid berries you need something to train them on. If you don’t have somewhere to train these berries, they will quickly grow out of control and be harder to prune and less productive.
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Photos of this plant

  • Thornlessblackberryvistabilefruitgarden13.06.08
  • Thornlessblackberrycanesvistabilefruitpatch01.07.08
  • Thornlessblackberrycanesvistabilefruitpatch01.07.08