A lot of berry crops need cooler climates, but if you live in warmer areas, such as Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida, you too can enjoy garden-fresh berries, picked from the Navaho Thornless Blackberry. This doesn’t mean this variety is not suitable for cooler regions too – it is hardy all the way through zone 6, and because it fruits later than other varieties it is the perfect way to extend your blackberry picking all the way into August. Wherever you garden, you will love these delicious, super-sweet berries, that melt in your mouth with juiciness and goodness.
The Navaho Thornless Blackberry was produced through a specialized breeding program at the University of Arkansas. It was bred by Professor James N. Moore in the mid-1980s, from several parent plants. The complex hybrid plant has no thorns, and is very vigorous, with thick, self-supporting canes. It was approved for patent in 1989 – an acknowledgment of its unique and desirable properties.
Blackberries are packed with vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants for a healthy lifestyle, and they taste delicious eaten straight from the bush, in fruit salads, or baked into muffins or pies, alone or with other fruits – such as apples, which they team with perfectly. Make delicious jams, jellies and preserves from your Navaho berries. Enjoy their almost 12% sugar content – so sweet children will adore them. With no thorns, everyone in your family can pick their own, without pricks and scratches.
Growing Navaho Thornless Blackberry Bushes
In the garden, the Navaho Thornless Blackberry is an upright and compact variety, so it needs none of the traditional wire frameworks necessary for old-fashioned varieties. You can grow them in a row, or you can plant them right alongside the flowering shrubs in your garden. Resistant to diseases and easy to grow, they need just a simple pruning once the harvest is over, and they will be re-invigorated for the next year. For many years you will enjoy picking 8 to 10 quarts of 1-inch berries from this terrific variety.
The Navaho Thornless Blackberry grows by producing sturdy stems that come from the base of the plant in early summer. During the first year these only produce leaves, and they will grow to 4 or 5 feet tall in a single season. The following spring, they will sprout out with clusters of pretty, white flowers, which quickly develop into first green and then black berries. These are shiny and a deep, blue-black color, about 1 inch across. In most areas the first berries will ripen at the end of June, several weeks later than other earlier varieties such as the Arapaho Thornless Blackberry, or the even earlier Apache Thornless variety. If you plant these varieties as well, you can have fresh blackberries from early June right into August, when you will be picking the last of your Navaho berries. A whole three months of fresh, ripe berries every summer.
Once you have picked the last fruit, it is time for the annual pruning. With no thorns, this is an easy job, not a painful one. Simply cut out all the canes that have produced berries, right at the ground, or where new, young shoots are emerging. As well, cut off the tips of taller new shoots, back to 3 ½ feet above the ground. More new shoots will come from the bottom of them, making a denser, higher-yielding bush. Next year those shoots will bloom and fruit, and you are on your way to years of fresh berries.
Planting and Initial Care
The Navaho Thornless Blackberry grows best in a well-drained loam soil, but this is a tough plant, and it will grow well in almost any kind of soil, from sand to clay. Watering during dry periods is best, but even if you neglect this plant a little, it will still thrive and give you berries. Add organic material like compost or rotted manure when preparing the planting area, and plant in a wide, shallow hole, as the roots spread wide, rather than deep. Because this variety is relatively small, it can also be grown in large planters. Shallow wooden boxes are ideal, as they allow the wide root system to develop fully. Place the planters in a sunny place, and water whenever the top few inches are dry. Use liquid fertilizer regularly for a bumper crop.
Growing on a Fence or Wall
In a small garden you can save space by spreading the branches against a sunny fence or wall, and then tying them back. You can also grow them on wires in the traditional way, which does save a lot of space. Drive wooden stakes into the ground 10 feet apart, and stretch a wire 2 feet above the ground, and a second one 4 feet above the ground. Tie the canes to the wires as they grow, bending over the tips and tying them down. Just remove the top inch or two from the stems in early fall, when you grow on wires. Bending over the stems will encourage extra shoots, the way cutting back does for plants grown without support.
Buying Navaho Thornless Blackberry Bushes
Each of our Navaho Thornless Blackberry Bushes are produced from stem pieces derived from the original, unique plant. This preserves all the genetic features of the variety, and these plants no resemblance at all to wild, seed-grown, cheaper varieties. They are part of our range of modern Thornless blackberry bushes. These unique plants are highly sought-after by knowledgeable gardeners, who enjoy their top-quality, sweet fruit with none of the pain of old-fashioned thorny varieties. Our limited stock will quickly be sold out, so order right away while we can still satisfy your order. You won’t be disappointed.