Despite the fact that blackberries are widespread in the American and Eurasian continents, they are still the most popular in the United States, where they are grown on an industrial scale. Chester blackberries or Chester Thornless are thornless and are very popular in America, especially in the state of Oregon, where 82% of the industrial area devoted to blackberries is occupied by this variety.
In recent years, China has taken the leading place in the cultivation of this variety, here also up to 90% of the area is allocated for the chester variety. It is noteworthy that the climate in Australia allows the cultivation of chester in the off-season, and the supply of berries for export to other countries. Despite the fact that the variety belongs to the best commercial varieties, it is also of interest to amateur gardeners. We will try to understand what outstanding properties this blackberry variety has, its suitability for growing it on personal plots.
- Blackberry Chester Thornless, variety description
- Planting and caring for chester blackberries in the garden
- The use of chester blackberries in traditional medicine
Blackberry Chester Thornless, variety description
For amateur cultivation, the Chester variety is attractive for the following:
- lack of thorns
- high, up to - 30 degrees, frost resistance
- taste and size of berries
Frost resistance can be explained by late flowering and, accordingly, flower buds are not damaged by spring frosts, as in other varieties. The variety is obtained in the USA by crossing an upright blackberry of Darrow variety and a semi-growing variety Thornfrey.
The bushes of the variety are powerful, from 2 to 3 m long, branchy shoots. The variety has strong branching, it starts already from the lowest buds. This significantly increases the yield. The leaves are trifoliate, dark green. The flowers are white or white - pink. The formation of berries begins in early August. The variety belongs to medium late and very productive among thornless blackberry varieties.
Fully ripe berries become a rich black color with a shiny skin, this happens in the second - third decade of August. The shape of the berries is an elongated cone. Their size is large, up to 3 cm in length, weighing up to 8 g. The type of berry is a juicy drupe. The berries are collected in numerous clusters. The taste is pleasant, sweet with a slight sourness.
About 30 tons of chester blackberries can be harvested from one hectare. The berries have high transportability and presentation. As a drawback, extended fruiting can be noted, which requires harvesting ripening berries every 5 to 6 days. We will try to understand the peculiarities of agricultural technology and find out what difficulties are waiting for gardeners when growing blackberries of the Chester variety.
Planting and caring for chester blackberries in the garden
Soil and lighting
When choosing a site on which blackberries of the Chester variety will be planted, it is better to give preference to places with loamy and sandy loam soils, with good water and air permeability. The soil should be neutral or slightly acidic. It is best to avoid areas where potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, or other nightshade crops were previously grown.
Blackberries prefer well-lit places, you should not plant them in dense shade, but places with continuous lighting for many hours are also not suitable. It is best if the sun illuminates the plantings well up to 6 - 7 hours a day.
Planting material, reproduction
It is more convenient and reliable to purchase and use seedlings with a closed root system. If the seedlings are with open roots, then the damaged and dried roots are removed, then the roots are dipped in a mash made of clay and water. If the variety is already growing on the site, then it can be propagated by bending the shoot with its tip to the ground and securing it. When rooting occurs, the daughter plants are separated and transplanted. You can also cut the cuttings and root them. Seeds of this variety are not planted in amateur gardening.
Video about growing Chester blackberries:
Planting and caring for chester blackberries
The best time to plant is in spring. The size of the planting hole depends on the size of the seedling and its roots. On average, the depth and width of the pit should be about 30 cm. Part of the removed fertile soil is mixed with humus, it needs about 5 kg and a spoonful of any complex mineral fertilizers. The bottom of the pit and the roots of the seedling are poured with this mixture. In this case, the root bud should be approximately 3-4 cm under the ground.
The ground part of the planted shoot is cut off, leaving no more than 20 - 25 cm. The plant is watered and the planting site is mulched with bark or needles. They grow blackberries by fixing them on a trellis. The first pruning is carried out two years after planting, then annually.
Blackberries tolerate dry periods well and do not require additional watering. Fertilizers are applied every 3-4 years, but loosening of the soil and removal of weeds must be carried out several times per season. In autumn, shoots are removed from the trellises, laid on the ground and covered with spruce branches or other material. Sometimes they practice the complete removal of the shoot after the end of fruiting. Chester blackberries are popular not only because of their unpretentiousness, but also because they have medicinal and dietary properties.
The use of chester blackberries in traditional medicine
Fresh berries are recommended for use in case of metabolic disorders. From fresh berries, collected together with stalks and green leaves, you can prepare a decoction, which is good for high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. For these purposes, blackberries can be prepared for future use by drying their leaves and berries. An infusion of dried blackberry and its leaves will help with diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, colds and inflammatory processes.
In cooking, blackberries are used for fillings and desserts. You can also cook and cover compotes, preserves and jams from them. Taking into account the fact that the blackberry of the chester variety has many advantages, it can be recommended to grow it both for personal consumption and for sale.