Blackberry Chester - frost-resistant bearingless grade

Not so long ago, blackberries could only be found in forests. Recently, this berry is rapidly gaining popularity among gardeners. About 300 cultivated varieties were bred, among which the unchallenged Chester variety, annually pleasing with a generous harvest, stands out especially. A powerful, stately shrub also beautifully decorates the garden: in mid-April it is covered with delightful large white buds, and at the end of August it is decorated with shiny black berries that shimmer in the sun.

Blackberry Chester Story

In nature, there are about 200 wild forms of blackberries, whose homeland is America. It was there that in the XIX century for the first time engaged in the cultivation of this berry shrub. In 1998, scientists in Illinois, Ohio, and Maryland created the Chester variety with improved characteristics as part of an intensive garden blackberry intensive breeding program. This blackberry is named after Dr. Chester Zich of the University of Southern Illinois, who studied fruit culture.

Blackberry Chester - the result of the work of American breeders and belongs to the elite varieties

Description and characteristics of the variety

Among non-studded varieties, this genotype is the most resistant to low temperatures; therefore, it can be grown not only in regions with a warm climate, but also in central Russia, which is characterized by cold winters. Chester is not afraid of spring return frosts due to late flowering.

Gardeners are attracted by the yield of the variety and the sweet taste of the fruits with the aroma of forest blackberries. The culture is rarely affected by diseases, resistant to pathogens of gray rot. And the absence of thorns makes it easier to care for the bush.

One of the advantages of Chester blackberry is the absence of spikes on the shoots


Self-pollinating bush of a semi-spreading form. Woody vines up to 3 m long grow mainly in an upright position with the tops slightly lowered. The leaves are large, glossy, dark green. Blooms with snow-white large flowers up to 4 cm in diameter.

Fruiting medium late, occurs in late August. Before the frost manages to give the whole crop. Fruits are formed on two-year-old shoots, more abundantly on the lower branches. From the bush you can get up to 20 kg of the crop. The berries are round, intense black in color, weighing 5-7 g, with a pleasant sweet taste.

Thanks to the dense skin, the fruits retain their shape well during transportation, as well as after thawing, which allows the use of blackberries as topping in frozen foods. Berries are perfect for fresh consumption, for making jams and desserts.

Chester - one of the most fruitful blackberry varieties, giving up to 30 centners per hectare

Landing Features

The future harvest of blackberries depends not only on the climatic features of the area, but also on the right site for growing bushes and the quality of planting material.

When to plant a blackberry

Potted plants are planted the entire season by transshipment.

Blackberry container seedling can be planted all season

The best time for planting blackberries with open roots in the Central region is early spring, until the buds open, with positive air temperatures. Seedlings in time to root well. With autumn planting, there is a high risk of plant death, since autumn nights can be very cold, early frosts are not uncommon. In the south, where warm weather persists until the end of November, it is better to plant the crop in the fall, no later than 2 weeks before the cold snap.

Best place for bramble

Blackberry is a light-loving plant, so it should take away the brightest areas, most of the day illuminated by the sun. Culture is also being put up with light partial shade.

With a lack of light, the branches become thinner and longer, the berries grow smaller and lose their taste.

Blackberries are undemanding to soil, but more productive when grown on loams with a slightly acidic or neutral reaction. At high acidity, lime (500 g / m2) is added. In sandy areas, blackberries can grow, but require more organic fertilizer and moisture. Shrubs should not be planted in moist lowlands where water stagnates for a long time after melting snow and rains. Although this is a moisture-loving culture, overmoistening leads to its weakening: susceptibility to weather and diseases increases.

Blackberry grows well and bears fruit in a well-lit area

The bramble should be protected from strong winds, especially in winter, when low temperatures are combined with low air humidity. Therefore, it is better to take quiet corners for planting near the fence or sheds.

Seedlings selection

It is very important to get healthy seedlings. Nurseries usually offer plants in pots, because they are characterized by better survival: when planted, they are transferred from the package along with an earthen lump, the roots are not injured. It is better to choose one or two year old plants with a developed root system. One-year-olds should have two stems 5 mm thick and a formed bud on the roots. Two-year-olds should have at least 3 main roots 15 cm long and the aerial part 40 cm high. The bark should be smooth, the flesh beneath it should be green.

The best survival rates are distinguished by annual blackberry seedlings grown in containers

Saplings purchased just before the cold, it’s too late to plant, they are dug up. In the garden they dig a trench with one sloping side, put plants on it and sprinkle it with earth, cover it with a spruce top to protect them from freezing during the winter cold and damage by rodents.

Proper fit

The berry plot is prepared in advance: for spring planting - in the fall, for autumn - 2 weeks before the work.

  1. The fertile layer of the earth is mixed with 2 kg of humus, 100 g of superphosphate, 40 g of potassium salt (or 100 g of ash) are added.
  2. Acidic soil is alkalized with lime (500 g / m2).
  3. A bramble is formed from separate bushes or they are planted in a row in furrows at a distance of 2 m from each other.
  4. With the bush method, pits of 45x45 cm are dug, with a linear landing - trenches of 45x50 cm with a distance of 2 m between the rows.
  5. For better survival, the roots of the seedling are dusted with Kornevin or immersed for several hours in a solution with this stimulant.

Before landing, it is also necessary to install a support structure.

Video: how to plant a blackberry in 2 minutes

Step-by-step landing process:

  1. A part of the prepared earth is poured into the pit in the form of a cone in the center.
  2. Lower the plant, spreading the roots in different directions. The seedling from the container is passed into the pit along with an earthen lump.

    The seedling is placed in a pre-prepared hole.

  3. Sprinkle the seedling with earth, gently shaking it so that there are no voids. Tamp the soil so that the growth bud is in the ground at a depth of 2 cm.
  4. Water the plant with 4 liters of water.
  5. Lay a layer of mulch from hay, straw.

To protect seedlings from spring frosts, the first days they are sprayed with Epin or covered with agrofiber.

If planting is carried out in the spring, the plant is shortened by 20 cm to stimulate the growth of lateral shoots.

Agricultural technology

The Chester variety is unpretentious, if you follow the simple rules of agricultural technology, you can enjoy a delicious berry every year.

Watering and loosening

Blackberry is a drought-resistant culture, a strong root system allows you to protect yourself from drought . But for good growth and productivity, it must receive the necessary amount of moisture. With a lack of water in early spring, shoots grow slowly, during the flowering period drought leads to poor pollination. And if not enough water was accumulated in the autumn period, the cold resistance of the shrub is greatly reduced.

Blackberries are well moistened after planting, then they are watered once a week

The bramble is watered once a week, introducing 6 liters of water under the bush. In rainy periods, additional watering is not carried out: excess moisture contributes to the root rot. Before the onset of frost, if the autumn is dry, it is necessary to carry out water-charging irrigation (8 l / plant).

Water under the shrub is introduced into the irrigation grooves, by sprinkling or by the drip irrigation system. During sprinkling, water under pressure is sprayed over the crown and soil, while air humidity increases. For less evaporation of moisture, such irrigation is carried out in the morning or evening hours.

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During flowering, sprinkling is not carried out: a strong stream of water can wash off pollen, as a result, yield will decrease.

More often summer residents use watering on grooves made at a distance of 40 cm from the bush. In watering grooves with a depth of 15 cm, water is introduced from a watering can or hose. After absorbing moisture, the grooves are closed.

When sprinkling, the soil is well wetted and the foliage is moistened

With a linear planting of a blackberry, it is more convenient to use a drip irrigation system. Pipes or tapes with droppers are laid along the rows of bushes and under pressure they supply water, which through the dispensers evenly flows to the roots of the plants. At the same time, water consumption is significantly saved and the soil is not eroded.

The soil around the bushes should be loose and cleared of weeds. Weed plants, especially wheat grass, draw nutrients from the soil and inhibit the growth of blackberries. After watering or rain, the earth is loosened to a shallow depth (8 cm), being careful not to damage the suction roots located in the surface layer. Between the rows of bushes, loosening is carried out to a depth of 12 cm. Then straw, humus is laid - the mulch layer not only keeps the soil moist, but also activates its beneficial microflora, inhibits the development of pathogenic organisms, protects the root system from overheating in summer heat, and in winter - from freezing .

To retain moisture, the soil around the bush is mulched with hay


Fertilizers saturate plants with essential microelements that increase their productivity and strengthen immunity. When planting bushes on fertilized soil in the first season, they do not need additional nutrition. Only next spring, the blackberries are fed with a nitrogen compound: urea (10 g) or nitrate (20 g / 5 l). During fruiting, the bushes are fertilized with nitrophos (70 g / 10 l), after harvesting with superphosphate (100 g) and potassium salt (30 g).

Agricola - a highly effective water-soluble complex fertilizer designed for root watering and spraying

With foliar top dressing, plants are more quickly saturated with nutrients. Spraying on a leaf during fruit setting and in the fall with Kemir Universal solution (15 g / 10 l) increases productivity and resistance to variable environmental factors.

Instead of the mineral composition, you can use organic matter (300 g / m2): chicken droppings (solution 1:20) or liquid manure (1:10) are introduced before flowering and after harvesting. During flowering, the berry is fed an infusion of ash (100 g / 10 l).

A deficiency of trace elements immediately affects the appearance of the blackberry: with a lack of magnesium, the leaves acquire a reddish tint

Bush formation

When forming a blackberry, one should take into account its two-year development cycle. In the first season, shoots grow and buds are laid, the next year the branches bear fruit and die. In autumn, the two-year-old shoots on which the berries were formed are cut. Dry and damaged branches are also removed, leaving 8-10 strong shoots. In spring, overwintered branches are shortened by 15 cm and tied.

When grown on a trellis, bushes are evenly warmed up by the sun and well ventilated

Growing blackberries on a support provides good ventilation and uniform illumination of the bushes. In addition, separate placement of fruiting and growing stems on the trellis makes it easier to care for the shrub. On the supports pull the wire in several rows and fix the whips on them. With the fan formation of a bush, they are placed on a support in this way: overwintered shoots are raised in the center, new shoots are planted on the sides. In the fall, the central branches are cut to the root, annual shoots for the winter are tightly pressed to the ground, and in the spring they are lifted vertically.

Video: pruning springless blackberries in summer and autumn

Winter preparations

The Chester grade is frost-resistant, withstanding cold up to -30 ºС. And thanks to late flowering, springtime frosts are not afraid of him. However, so that the annual shoots do not suffer in too harsh winters or with sudden changes in temperature, they are insulated. After pruning, pre-winter irrigation and mulching with humus, the branches are removed from the support, bent and laid on the ground, covered with agrofibre from above. In winter, they throw snow to the bushes. To protect plants from rodents, poison is placed under the scourge or spruce paws are thrown over the insulating material.

In regions with a cold climate for the winter, blackberries should be removed from the support and covered with non-woven material

Breeding methods

The blackberry is propagated vegetatively, because with the seed method varietal characters are lost.

Breeding with layering - an easy way to breed blackberries

It is easy to propagate the shrub with the help of layering: the top of the shoot is dug up near the bush, watered and fixed with brackets. After 3 weeks, a sprout 45 cm long with the formed roots is separated from the bush and planted separately.

Video: how to root a blackberry

When grafting, proceed as follows:

  1. Young shoots at the end of June are cut into pieces of 10 cm and planted in pots.
  2. Water and cover with a film.
  3. Within a month, moisten the soil, conduct airing.

    A month later, roots appear on the cuttings

  4. Rooted green cuttings are planted in the garden.

Disease prevention

The variety has good immunity, resistant to gray rot, destroying many berry crops. However, in bad weather the bushes can be affected by diseases. Prevention will help reduce the risk of infection.

Table: Blackberry Disease Prevention and Control

DiseaseHow does it manifestPreventionControl measures
Purple spottingThe leaves, covered with dark spots, fall off. Kidneys and young shoots dry out. The disease leads to sparse flowering and falling of the ovaries. The spread of the fungus especially progresses with increased humidity and thickened plantings.
  1. Do not thicken the berry.
  2. Loosen the soil.
  1. At the beginning of the growing season, treat with a 1% solution of DNOC.
  2. After flowering, sprinkle with a 2% solution of Bordeaux mixture.
AnthracnoseExcess moisture often leads to the spread of spores of the fungus. Foliage and shoots are covered with gray with a purple border spots, gray sores form on the berries.
  1. Regulate watering.
  2. Burn plant debris.
Spray with a 5% solution of copper sulfate, Fundazole (10 g / 10 l) before flowering, after bud dropping and after harvesting.
SeptoriaInfection occurs in warm, humid weather. Light spots with dark bordering develop on the leaves. The foliage dries, the shoots turn brown. The bushes at the stage of fruit ripening are most affected.
  1. Avoid planting blackberries in shaded areas.
  2. Observe the watering regime.
  1. Carry out eradicating spraying (before buds open) with Nitrafen solution (300 g / 10 l).
  2. After dropping buds and picking fruits, sprinkle with a 1% solution of Bordeaux mixture.

Photo Gallery: Chester Blackberry Diseases

Purple spotting affects thickened landings

Long rainy periods contribute to the occurrence of anthracnose.

Septoria is especially dangerous during the ripening period of blackberries.

Table: Blackberry Pests and Pest Control

PestsManifestationsPreventionHow to help
Blackberry tickThe mite hibernates in the buds of plants. With the onset of heat, settles on shoots and berries. The fruit affected by the pest partially or completely does not ripen. Loss of yield with the development of a blackberry tick can reach 50%.Thin out the bush.Before budding, spray with Envidor solutions (4 ml / 10 L), Bi-58 (10 ml / 10 L), repeat after 10 days.
AphidAphid colonies, covering leaves and branches, suck out juices from them, weaken the plant.
  1. Destroy fallen leaves on which aphids settle.
  2. Plant plants with a pungent odor near the bushes: mint, onion, garlic.
  1. Burn diseased shoots.
  2. Spray before swelling of the kidneys with a 0.05% Kinmix solution.
  3. Before flowering, treat with 3% Agrovertin solution.
KhrushchevLarvae gnaw plant roots, the beetle eats leaves. Massive flight of khrushchev falls during the flowering period, the affected buds and ovaries fall.
  1. Shake off bugs.
  2. Soak the blackberry roots before planting in the Actara solution (1 g / 10 l).
Treat at the beginning of the growing season with a solution of Anti-Crush (10 ml / 5 L), Confidor Maxi (1 g / 10 L).

Photo Gallery: The Most Common Blackberry Pests

Crop loss with the development of a blackberry tick can reach 50%

Aphids stick to leaves and shoots, sucking juices out of them

Khrushchev and its larvae infect berry bushes, which may cause violent fall of leaves, ovaries, flowers

Birds pose a serious threat to beetles and their larvae. One pair of starlings per season catches up to 8 thousand snacks and other insects. Having hung up feeders and houses in the garden, you can increase the number of birds. And you can attract ladybugs - the worst enemies of aphids - by planting a fragrant calendula in the garden.

Ladybug - Aphid's Natural Enemy

Gardeners reviews

I liked Chester's productivity, taste and hardiness. In winter, the temperature dropped to -35. Wintered under the snow.

. ** Oksana **

Chester gave a large and very tasty berry. Compared to Tonfrey acid minimum.


Chester this winter was again covered only with snow. But several shoots missed, they woven into the trellis cells and remained in free flight. Winter was not record frosty (about 20-23 with winds, icing), but wintering inspired - the kidneys are alive, the shoots are bright and shiny. Only the unripe ends were frozen (but this is also under the snow). In the summer I want to compare - will there be a difference in the yield of shoots under the snow and in free flight. :)


I have ripened a couple of Chester berries, as they say on our forum - Signalochki))) I liked the berry, both externally (in size as a large cherry) and in taste, sweet with a mulberry flavor.


I also forgot to note the feature of Chester. These are not bushes! This is wilds on a trellis !!! And without pinching, the substitution shoot grows and immediately gives sides in all directions. The shoots themselves are at least 3. And new ones are constantly growing. It is necessary to control all the time. And finding them in the wilds is not easy. While you do not get into the bush waist-deep, you will not see anything. Good, though not short-sighted. Also, the berries - heaps: just look, as if to break the pods. Therefore, it is necessary to plant less often. Now I have 2–2.5 m. And it was necessary to make a meter 3. In size. Chester at the BS level, Chester is just a little wider (and tastier :)).


BlackBerry enthusiasts who grow in their plots the unchecked variety Chester note its clear advantages over other species: excellent fruit taste, yield, drought tolerance, and most importantly, the ability not to freeze in harsh Russian winters. Thanks to such qualities, the variety is popular not only in its homeland, but also among Russian gardeners.


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