Blackberry Merton Thornless

Discussion in 'Edible Gardening' started by ricky101, Jul 20, 2022.

  1. ricky101

    ricky101 Total Gardener

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    Hi,

    We have had his Blackberry for around 15 years and its always been a good cropper but the last couple of years its only produced 2 new canes vs the 3 - 5 it used to.

    This year, though a fair bit of fruit forming , the whole plant looks to be lacking in vigor.

    Not been able to find any reference as to how long these plants last , so not sure if it needs replacing or its just one of those seasons, and a good feed will revive it ? ( which we do anyway each spring)

    Noticed when posting this thread that in another, @JWK recommended Chester as for its very good fruit.
    Seems its a smaller plant at 6- 8 ft but wondered how many fruiting canes it typically produces, or if we would need 2 of them to produced the same amount of fruit from the Merton ?
     
  2. JWK

    JWK Gardener Staff Member

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    My Chester is 12 ft wide and 6ft high. I'm not sure how many new canes it produces each year, its maybe 4 or 5 all I can tell you it is very prolific and has more canes compared to my earlier variety Loch Tay. I got my first picking a week ago and it keeps producing till late October.

    Have you thought about taking cuttings of your Merton, it might be quicker to get to a good sized bush and certainly cheaper than buying.
     
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    • ricky101

      ricky101 Total Gardener

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      Hi John,

      Never thought about taking a cutting, but just seen some ytubes on doing that which seems easy enough, though no sign of any new shoots on ours yet, though its often quiet late.

      Assume as a cutting it would have more vigor than the old parent plant, though not heard of any viruses etc that could cross contaminate things ?

      Either way will have to keep the old plant going as it will take a cutting or new potted plant a couple of years to get fully established.

      Do you grow your Chester in a fan shape against a wall ?
       
    • JWK

      JWK Gardener Staff Member

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      Yes they will have more vigour and sorry I don't know about viruses. I imagine a cutting will have any that the mother has, so that's a good reason to buy in new fresh stock.

      Mine took 3 years to really get productive.


      Mine are down the allotment, with a couple of stakes and 3 wires going horizontally, trained as a fan. Here it is a year after planting:
      20170604-P6040040.JPG


      August last year:
      20210813_104901.jpg
       
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      • ricky101

        ricky101 Total Gardener

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        Thanks for the photos, it looks a compact plant for a Blackberry which would suit our small garden.

        Think we will have to look for a new plant as still no signs of any new shoots on the old Merton which looks even poorer after the heatwave.
        Will give it a foliar feed and see if that perks it up a bit.

        Also lost a lot of the ripe fruits on the Raspberries as again the heat seemed to almost cook them !
         
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