VOLUME 37 NUMBER
(Reprint of Farmers' Bulletin No. 643,
U. S. Dept. of Agriculture)
FLORIDA QUARTERLY BULLETIN OF THE
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Commissioner of Agriculture
Artcraft Printers, Tallahassee. Florida
The use of the blackberry for canning and in the
making of jam is increasing the demand for this
fruit. It is now being grown profitably in many
States, and in some sections its cultivation forms one
of the important activities of the farmers.
In this bulletin directions are given for the propa-
gation, planting, cultivation, pruning, and training of
blackberries. The leading characteristics of the
principal varieties are indicated.
While proper cultural methods are essential for
the successful growing of this fruit, very much de-
pends upon a suitable selection of varieties for
planting in different sections of the country. Thus,
in southern California the Crandall is the leading
variety, while in the central and northern parts of
that State the Lawton is an important variety for
commercial purposes, and for home use and local
markets the Mammoth and Himalaya are grown
throughout the State; in Oregon and Washington the
Snyder and Evergreen varieties are usually pre-
ferred; in the North-Central States the Eldorado,
Snyder, and Mersereau are among the best sorts; in
Kentucky and Tennessee the Early Harvest and
Eldorado; in southern Missouri and in Arkansas the
Early Harvest and McDonald; and in Texas the
Dallas, McDonald and Haupt varieties are desirable;
in New Jersey the Ward and Evergreen (Black Dia-
mond) are recommended; and in the other Eastern
States the Eldorado and Snyder are widely grown.
Contribution from the Bureau of Plant Industry
WM. A. TAYLOR, Chief
Issued January 29, 1915. Revised March, 1918.
Reprint, January, 1922.
Washington, D. C.
By GEORGE M. DARROW
Scientific Assistant, Office of Horticultural and Pomological
According to the reports of the 1910 census, there
were in the United States 49,004 acres devoted to the
cultivation of blackberries and dewberries.
Table I shows the distribution of this acreage by
states. As dewberries are not grown extensively ex-
cept in certain southern states and New Jersey, the
area devoted to blackberries in most of the states is
not materially different from the figures given here.
Table I.-Acreage Devoted to Blackberries and Dewberries in
the United States in 1909, by States
Geographic Division and State Acreage
New England States:
M aine .... .... .. .. .. .. 145
N ew H am pshire ..................... ....... ............ 67
V erm ont ......... .................................. ............ 4 7
M assachu setts .... ................................... .... ..... 287
Rhode Island .......... .......... ....... ...... ..... ...... ... 16
Connecticut ............. ............ ................ 128
Middle Atlantic States:
N ew Y ork ................. ........... ... .. ...... ........ 1,951
N ew Jersey .......... ............ .......... ........... 4,332
Pennsylvania .......... ... ... ......... ........ 1,235
East North-Central States:
O hio .... ....................... ........... .. ........ 2,425
Indiana ....... ............... .. .. ...... .. ............. 1,347
Illinois ............... ............ .. .. .... ....... 3,503
M ichigan ...................................... .. ........... 2,973
W isconsin .............. ........... ... ...... 407
Geographic Division and State
West North-Central States:
M innesota ...........
M issouri ..........
North Dakota ....................
South Dakota ................
N ebraska ..............
K ansas ......... ..............
South Atlantic States:
Delaware ... .......
Maryland .. ....
District of Columbia.
Virginia .. .. ....
West Virginia .......... ......
North Carolina ..............
South Carolina .................
G eorgia .......... ......... ......
F lorid a ............... ..... ....
East South-Central States:
Tennessee ..... .. ..
M ississippi ......... .
West South-Central States:
A rkansas .. .. ................
Oklahom a ....... ........
T ex as ... ......... ...................
. .. ..
. . . .
.. . . I . .
.. ..... ..... . . .
. .. .... ....... ... .........
W ashington .......... .. ... ............................ 769
Oregon ...... ... .. ........ .. ...... ...... ... ... 431
California ................................. .................... 2,576
United States ... .. .. .... ..... ........ 49,004
Less than 1 acre.
.. .. .. .
. .... . .
. . . . .
.. .. .... ... .. .. .. .. .. ..
.. . . . . . .. .
I . I . . . . . I . .
............. ....... ...... . . .
.... . . .. . . ..
.. . . . . .... ..... ...
. . . . .. .. ..... .. I .
. .. .. .. .. I . .. .... . .. .. .. .. .
. I . 11. .. . . . .. . .
The cultivation of the blackberry has increased
much less rapidly than would otherwise have been
the case had not the wild forms of this fruit been
found in such abundance in nearly every section of
the country. With the gradual introduction of new
and better varieties especially adapted to the differ-
ent regions, the superior size and quality of the cul-
tivated berries are beginning to be recognized. Com-
mercial varieties produce firmer fruit, which can be
held in good condition longer after picking. More-
over, by a proper selection of varieties fresh culti-
vated blackberries can be obtained before the first
wild ones ripen, as well as long after the last wild
ones are gone. When these points of superiority be-
come more generally known, the use of the culti-
vated varieties will become more general.
LOCATION OF THE PLANTATION
The principal factors to be considered in the selec-
tion of a location for a blackberry plantation are the
facilities for marketing the fruit and the moisture
conditions of the soil. The blackberry is a tender
fruit, the keeping qualities of which are seriously
affected by jarring over rough roads. It should
therefore be grown adjacent to good roads, and the
berries should be placed on the market as quickly
as possible after they are picked.
The moisture supply in the soil at the ripening
season and during the winter or dormant months is
the most important factor to be considered in the
selection of a site. The blackberry suffers more than
almost any other crop from an insufficient water
supply while the berries are growing and ripening.
On the other hand, the plants are often killed if
water stands on the plantation during the winter or
In sections where there are frequent drying winds
during the ripening period or during the winter it is
important to choose a sheltered location. Low
places where there is danger from late frosts, which
may kill the new growth and destroy all prospects
of a crop, should be avoided, and a site on high land
with good air drainage should be selected.
The blackberry will flourish on nearly any type of
soil provided suitable moisture conditions prevail.
The finest wild berries are found in those localities
where the humus and soil conditions are such that
the plants can get a proper supply of water. The
best blackberry land, therefore, is a deep, fine, sandy
loam with a large supply of humus. Such a soil is
to be preferred to a coarse sandy or a clay soil, since
it can be controlled to a greater extent. The largest
yields are produced on soil with a friable subsoil
which allows the roots of the plants to penetrate to a
good depth and get food and moisture from the
greatest possible area.
PREPARATION OF THE SOIL
The land on which blackberries are to be grown
should be planted with a cultivated crop the season
previous to the setting of the berry plants. This will
insure the thorough rotting of the sod and will help
to destroy the cutworms and other insects which are
often injurious to the young plants. The soil should
be plowed to a depth of about 9 inches in the spring,
and a thorough harrowing should be given the whole
field before the plants are set. In order to provide
a suitable subsoil it will frequently pay to loosen it
with a subsoil plow during the previous fall.
The roots of blackberries live for many years, but
the canes only last two years. These canes grow
from the crown in the spring and live until after the
fruiting season of the following year. When they
die, other canes are ready to take their places, hav-
ing grown from the crown during the spring, to die
at the end of the fruiting season of the succeeding
year. Berries are borne only on canes which are in
their second season's growth. These statements do
not apply to the Evergreen and Himalaya varieties,
the canes of which are perennial in some sections.
In addition to the canes which grow from the
crown, it is the habit of the plant to throw up suckers
from the roots at various distances from the parent
plant, especially where the roots are cut. New
plants are usually secured by digging up these suck-
ers, and when the suckers are vigorous this method
of starting new fields is very satisfactory.
Another method used by nurserymen during the
fall or early spring in order to secure new plants is
to dig roots of the desired variety one-fourth of an
inch or more in diameter. These are cut into pieces
about 3 inches long and planted horizontally about 3
inches deep in trenches. By the following fall these
should furnish strong plants, generally with a better
root system than "sucker" plants, which depend
upon the single large root from the parent plant for
most of their food and water.
Certain varieties are blackberry-dewberry hybrids
and have canes which root at the tips, like the dew-
berry. The Evergreen and Himalaya varieties,
although not dewberry hybrids, also have tips that
root. New plants of these varieties are secured
either by covering the tips with soil in late summer
or by making root cuttings, as with other black-
Practically all of the blackberry varieties which
have no strain of dewberry parentage are entirely
self-fertile and may be planted by themselves with-
out provision for cross-pollination. The Rathbun,
Mammoth, McDonald, Wilson, and other less well-
known varieties are reported to be imperfect pollen-
izers under certain conditions and should not be
planted in large blocks alone.
Blackberry plants are usually set as early in the
spring as the land can be properly prepared, since
the soil generally contains more moisture at that
time and the young plants can secure a vigorous
start. The earlier they are set, the larger the pro-
portion that live and the better their growth. When
early spring setting is impossible, the plants may be
set in the late fall if there is no danger from drying
winds during the following winter. The roots of
newly set plants can not supply as much moisture as
those of plants which have grown in the soil for a
season. They should be set as deep as they formerly
stood in the nursery, or slightly deeper, for the canes
break easily if the crowns project above the surface
of the ground. The tops should be cut back to six
inches or less in length.
In the Eastern States blackberries are usually
planted 3 feet by 8 feet. In localities where the
canes grow very large, as they frequently do on the
Pacific coast, they should be set at least 4 feet apart
in rows 8 feet apart. Planting distances for the
Evergreen and Mammoth varieties are given with
their descriptions on later pages. This planting
system allows cultivation in but one direction. When
cultivation in both directions is desired, the plants
are usually set 5 feet by 5 feet; this distance may be
increased to 7 or 8 feet apart both ways if the growth
is very vigorous. Very little hand labor is needed
when the plants are set according to this plan, as the
cultivation keeps down both weeds and suckers.
During the first summer after the plants are set
some intercrop may be grown between the rows.
This crop should be one requiring constant cultiva-
tion throughout the growing season of the black-
berry, and its.growth should not be large enough to
shade the plants. The selection of a suitable inter-
crop should greatly reduce the cost of the berry field
during the first summer, without injuring the plants.
Truck crops, such as cabbage and potatoes, are to be
preferred for this purpose, while corn and the small
grains should be avoided. Only a single row of most
truck crops should be grown between the blackber-
ries. By the second summer the plants should be
large enough to occupy all of the space.
Whether an intercrop is grown or not, cultivation
should be begun as soon as the plants are set in the
spring and should be continued at intervals of from
one to two weeks throughout the season. It should
usually be discontinued at least a month before
freezing weather sets in. The purpose of this clean
cultivation is to provide a dust mulch for the reten-
tion of moisture and to keep down suckers and
weeds. Since the roots of the blackberry ordinarily
lie close to the surface of the ground, cultivation
must be shallow. The breaking of the roots not only
weakens the root systems of the plants but increases
the number of suckers. The deeper the soil and the
more thorough its preparation before the plants are
set, the deeper will be the position of the roots. Fre-
quent cultivation is of greater importance during the
growing and ripening season of the berries than at
any other time, since more moisture is required then.
The fruit, foliage and canes of the blackberry re-
move a large quantity of plant food from the ground
each year. Most soils, however, have sufficient
nitrogen, potash and phosphoric acid to grow full
crops of fruit for many years. Some are better sup-
plied with one element than with others, and each
grower must know his own soil before he can make
profitable use of commercial fertilizers. Nitrogen
should be used with caution after the berry field is
in bearing, as it may cause a rapid cane and leaf
growth at the expense of fruit bearing.
Stable manure is the best fertilizer to use, for in
addition to supplying the elements of plant food it
adds much humus to the soil. An annual application
of 20 tons of stable manure to the acre will usually
be sufficient, although there is little danger of using
too much, especially after the field is in bearing. In
order to supply humus, leguminous and other cover
crops should either be plowed under before the
plants are set, or grown between the rows of black-
berries each year. When such crops are grown, less
stable manure will be required.
SYSTEMS OF TRAINING
If all of the suckers which appear were allowed
to grow, by the end of .the second year the field
would be a dense thicket of blackberry canes, from
which the berries could only be picked with great
difficulty. The suckers would compete with the
parent plants for food, moisture and light, and the
whole plantation would be inferior. The plants must
therefore be kept in rows or hills, and all suckers
appearing between the rows must be destroyed by
the frequent use of cultivator and hoe. Suckers do
not reappear as rapidly if they are pulled, but this
requires much hand labor. If all are destroyed, the
plants will have much stronger roots and canes and
the berries will be larger and better.
As soon as the last berries have been picked, the
old canes which have just borne fruit should be cut
out and burned. This allows the young canes more
room in which to develop and destroys any insects
or diseases on the old canes. It will rarely be neces-
sary to leave them to support the new canes during
the winter snows. Wire trellises are usually to
be preferred where support is needed. Not more
than three or four new canes to each plant should
be allowed to grow in one season, and all in excess
of this number should be cut out not later than the
time of the removal of the old bearing canes. The
remaining canes will be larger and stronger because
of the thinning.
The systems of training vary in accordance with
conditions in different sections of the country. In
some sections where the plants do not grow large
and where the soil does not wash, the new canes
may be "topped"-that is, the tips pinched off with
the fingers-when they reach a height of not more
than 21/2 feet. When the bushes are very vigorous
the height may be increased to 3 feet. As the canes
do not all reach the height of 21/ feet at the same
time, the plantation must be gone over several times
at frequent intervals. The pinching causes the canes
to branch and to be better able to stand erect with a
heavy crop of berries.
Even when this method of training is used, the
canes may be bent over and broken either by tillage
implements or by the pickers, the number of canes
and the quantity of fruit being thus materially re-
duced. Under such conditions sufficient fruit will
be saved by the use of a wire trellis to make the latter
a profitable investment. Such a trellis consists of
posts set in each row at intervals of from 15 to 30
feet; the canes are tied to a wire stretched along this
line about 212 feet above the ground. This keeps
the canes upright and makes cultivation and picking
A variation of this trellis is made as follows:
Crosspieces about 18 inches long are nailed to the top
of each post and two wires instead of one are
stretched along the line of posts from the ends of
the crosspieces. The blackberry canes are simply
kept inside these wires, which form a support for
them on either side.
These systems of training are adapted to certain
varieties and to those sections of the country where
the bushes do not grow very high. When the canes
grow very long or are inclined to run somewhat like
a grapevine, a much higher trellis is used, with two
wires, one about 5 feet and the other about 3 feet
from the ground, the height depending, of course,
upon the vigor of the plants. The canes of the erect
varieties are simply fastened to the wires, while
those of the trailing varieties are tied either hori-
zontally along the wires or in a fan-shaped position.
A variation of this trellis is used in some sections
where the trailing varieties are grown. Two cross-
pieces 18 or 20 inches long are nailed to each post,
one near the top and the second about 2 feet below.
Wires are strung along the ends of the crosspieces on
the posts. Sometimes both bearing and nonbearing
canes are trained to the same wires, frequently the
nonbearing canes on the lower wires and the bearing
canes on the upper wires and sometimes vice versa.
The systems of training described above are the
ones usually found, but they are often varied to suit
particular conditions or the convenience of the
grower. When the plants are set in hills 5 or more
feet apart each way, the canes may be pinched back
at a height of about 3 feet in order to make a stocky
growth. Frequently, when the plants are set in hills,
a post is set by each plant and the canes tied to it.
The trailing varieties, with the exception of the
Mammoth, are rarely trained to the hill system.
Mulching is very expensive, and is therefore bet-
ter adapted for use in home gardens than in com-
mercial blackberry fields. In localities where straw,
hay, leaves, or other mulching materials are very
cheap and where there is no serious danger from
fire, they may be profitably used on a commercial
scale. If the mulch is deep enough, it will assist in
keeping down suckers, and as it removes the neces-
sity for cultivation, no roots are broken from which
suckers may spring. A mulch will greatly retard
the evaporation of moisture from the ground, and in
this respect will be more effective than the best cul-
tivation. It should not be applied, however, in local-
ities where there is danger of water standing on the
soil at any time.
Each variety must be harvested according to its
particular season of maturity. Some varieties may
be picked soon after the berries turn black, while
others turn black before they are ripe. They should
be picked while still firm enough to market properly,
but not before they become sweet.
The keeping quality of any variety is largely de-
pendent upon the care exercised in picking and
handling. If the berries are bruised or injured,
molds and decay fungi enter and quickly destroy the
fruit. On the other hand, blackberries carefully
picked and stored in a cool place will keep fresh for
The yields of blackberries depend upon the va-
rieties which are selected and upon the conditions
under which they are grown. In certain sections of
the country, where the soil is very deep and rich,
yields of 5,000 or more quarts per acre may be se-
cured. Under average conditions of good manage-
ment, about 2,300 quarts per acre can be harvested.
In some seasons this yield will be greatly exceeded.
while in other years a smaller yield will be obtained.
The Mammoth, Evergreen and Himalaya varieties
regularly yield much more than 2,300 quarts in
those sections of the Pacific slope to which they are
adapted. With good care 7,000 or more quarts per
acre of the Evergreen and Himalaya berries can be
The hardy varieties of blackberries will withstand
temperatures of -30 F., provided water does not
stand in the soil about the roots and there is no dan-
ger from severe drying winds. Many varieties are
hardy enough to survive -400 F. without injury.
In localities where there is real danger from cold,
drying winds, as in the Central Western States, or
from too severe winter temperatures, the canes are
bent over in the fall and a layer of earth, hay, straw
or coarse manure is thrown over them. This should
be done before the ground is frozen, yet after all
danger of warm weather is past. Few canes will
break if they are bent over while the sap still circu-
lates. Sometimes the soil is drawn away from one
side by means of a hoe or plow and the plants in-
clined to that side before being covered. The canes
will lie in a more nearly horizontal position with less
danger of being broken when this is done, although
the roots may be somewhat injured when the earth
is removed. The plants are uncovered in the spring
after all danger of severe weather is past.
DURATION OF PLANTATION
The roots of blackberry plants live for many years,
but the length of time that a plantation is profitable
varies with conditions in different parts of the coun-
try. In sections where the humus burns out of the
soil quickly and where the soil washes easily the
plantation should be abandoned after five or six
crops have been harvested. In other sections, where
the humus supply is maintained and where the
crowns do not become diseased, the plantation may
be kept longer.
INSECTS AND DISEASES
It is essential for success in growing blackberries
that only plants free from insects and diseases be
planted. Crown-gall and rust are serious and incur-
able, and all plants infested with these diseases must
be dug out and burned. The insect pests of the
blackberry are not often serious. For information in
regard to the control of any insect or disease, write
to the nearest State agricultural experiment station
or to the United States Department of Agriculture,
Washington, D. C., and furnish specimens of the
affected parts. Specific information to suit local or
individual needs will gladly be sent.
REGIONAL ADAPTABILITY OF VARIETIES
The blackberry is cultivated throughout the
United States, with the exception of the colder parts
of Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Da-
kota, Wyoming, Colorado and Montana, and those
sections of the arid Western States where hot, dry
winds destroy the ripening fruit. In the Northern
States just mentioned the canes and frequently the
roots are killed by cold, dry winds. By protecting
the plants in winter, however, blackberries can be
grown in some parts of this region.
It is necessary to classify the varieties according
to their resistance to severe weather conditions. In
the varietal characterizations, pages 15 to 18, they
are termed hardy, half-hardy and tender. A hardy
variety should be able to withstand a winter tem-
perature of -30 F. in a protected place, as well as
the changing temperature of the Middle Western
States, where comparatively high winter tempera-
tures sometimes occur. A half-hardy variety winter-
kills in places where the temperature goes as low as
-300 F. It may pass through some winters safely,
but at other times it may freeze to the ground. This
half-hardy class is also severely injured by the fre-
quent temperature changes which occur in winter in
certain sections of the Middle Western States. The
tender varieties are adapted to the Southern States,
where mild winters prevail. They will not stand
low temperatures and should only be planted where
the thermometer seldom reaches zero.
Varieties have been originated in the Southwest
which are peculiarly adapted to the semi-arid con-
ditions there, prevailing. These varieties, which in-
clude the Dallas, McDonald and Haupt, are some-
what drought resistant and mature their fruit before
the season becomes too warm for normal ripening.
The Pacific coast region grows many of the va-
rieties common in the East as well as another class
of blackberries not adapted to cultivation in other
sections of the United States. The varieties usually
grown on the west coast are the Kittatinny, Lawton,
Snyder, Crandall, Himalaya, Evergreen and Mam-
moth, the last four of which are rarely grown suc-
cessfully elsewhere. Even on the Pacific coast there
is such wide variation in temperature, winds and
moisture supply that some of these varieties can be
grown only in certain sections.
In order to determine the varieties which should
be grown in any particular section, first decide
whether the local conditions will permit the cultiva-
tion of the tender or half-hardy blackberries. It
will not be profitable to plant varieties which are
not sufficiently hardy. Inquiry among neighboring
growers will determine the varieties which have al-
ready proved successful, and the most promising of
these should be selected.
The following characterizations are intended to
aid the prospective grower in his selection of varie-
ties adapted to his section and to the purposes for
which he intends to grow blackberries. Only those
varieties which are successfully grown throughout
large areas of the United States have been included:
Blowers.-New York origin. Berries large, firm, acid till
ripe, quality good. Season medium, but the variety ripens
throughout a long period. Bush vigorous, hardy, productive.
Adapted to the Northeastern States; also grown successfully in
Kentucky and Michigan.
Briton (Ancient Briton).-Wisconsin origin. Berries large,
not very firm, very good quality. Season medium to late. Bush
moderately vigorous, thorny, very hardy, very productive.
Grown chiefly in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Grown somewhat
throughout the Northern States east of the Rocky Mountains.
Crandall (Macatawa, Santa Cruz Seedless, Navlet Seedless,
Everbearing).-Texas origin. Berries large, firm, sweet, qual-
ity very good. Season very early and the variety ripens through
a long period. Bush vigorous, productive, makes few suckers,
tender; limits of hardiness nbt known. The leading variety in
southern California; not adapted to the Northeastern states.
Dallas.-Texas origin. Berries large, firm, very good quality.
Season early. Bush vigorous but low growing; hardiness not
known; productive. Grown in Texas and Oklahoma.
Early Harvest.-Illinois origin. Berries medium size, firm,
quality good. Season very early and the variety ripens through
a long period. Bush moderately vigorous and does not sucker
as much as some. Very productive in the South. Very suscep-
tible to rust. Not hardy in the North. Would be a most de-
sirable variety in the South except for rust; it is the most widely
Eldorado.-Ohio origin. Berries medium to large, firm,
sweet, quality very good. Season early to medium and long.
Bush very vigorous, hardy and productive. The most resistant
to rust of any of the widely grown varieties. One of the best
varieties in most of the sections adapted to blackberries east of
the Rocky Mountains except the extreme South and northern
Erie.-Pennsylvania origin. Berries medium to large, very
firm, acid till ripe, quality very good. Season medium. Bush
very vigorous, hardy, productive. Susceptible to rust. Grown
to a limited extent in the Northeastern States and in Missouri.
Evergreen (Black Diamond, Star, Wonder, Ewing Wonder,
Everbearing, Atlantic Dewberry).-Origin unknown, but grown
in Europe since 1809. Berries large, firm, sweet, quality very
good, seeds large. Season late to very late and long. Bush
vigorous, tender, productive, deep rooted and drought resistant;
canes semi-trailing, perennial in some sections, but they should
always be trained as though they were biennial like other vari-
eties; root at tips. One of the best varieties in Oregon and
Washington, but not generally adapted to the States east of
the Rocky Mountains, because the fruit is small and worthless
except in New Jersey, where it is grown considerably with suc-
cess. Planting distances, 6 by 6 feet in New Jersey; 16 to 24
feet by 8 feet in Oregon and Washington, according to condi-
tions. This variety is found growing wild in Oregon and Wash-
Haupt.-Texas origin. Berries large, fairly firm, quality
good. Season very early. Bush very productive, probably
tender except in Texas and other Southern States; canes trail-
ing the first year, more upright the second year; root at tips.
Grown in central and eastern Texas, where it is a desirable
variety, iipening about two days after the McDonald. Not
liked in Missouri.
Himalaya.-California origin. This variety comes from a
central European form of blackberry and is the standard berry
for its season in California, both for the home garden and for
local markets. It is grown slightly in Oregon and Washington,
but is not generally liked there as well as the Evergreen. It is
not adapted to the northern part of the United States east of
the Rocky Mountains, but because it ripens later than other
blackberries it may prove of some value for home use and local
market in some parts of the South. In California the berries
are of medium size, rather soft, sweet, quality good to very
good. Season very late. Bush very vigorous, half hardy, very
productive in some sections; canes semi-trailing; root at tips;
perennial in California and in some other regions, but biennial
under some conditions. Planting distance 8 by 8 feet in south-
ern California to 8 by 20 to 30 feet in Washington, the distance
varying according to vigor.
Iceberg.-California origin. Berries large, amber-white,
soft, quality very good. Season medium. Bush half hardy.
Desirable for home use because of its color. Not adapted to
King (Early King).-Berries medium to large, very attrac-
tive in color, fairly firm, very sweet, quality very good. Sea-
son early and short. Bush vigorous but low, hardy, mode-
rately productive, thorny. Susceptible to rust. Adapted to
the milder parts of the East.
Kittatinny.-New Jersey origin. Berries large to very large,
fairly firm, sweet, quality very good. Season medium early.
Bush vigorous, half hardy, productive. Very susceptible to rust.
Adapted to sections where rust is not serious and where the
climate is not severe. Grown in many parts of the United
States from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Lawton (New Rochelle).-New York origin. Berries large,
soft when fully ripe, sweet, quality good. Season medium.
Bush vigorous, nearly hardy, productive, susceptible to rust.
Grown extensively on the Pacific coast and somewhat in all
parts of the United States eastward except in the South.
Especially liked for canning.
McDonald.-Berries large, firm, quality very good. Season
very early, two weeks before Dallas and Early Harvest. Bush
very vigorous, range of hardiness not known, very productive,
drought resistant; canes trailing the first year, more upright
the second year, root at tips. A blackberry-dewberry hybrid.
Not a good pollenizer and should be planted with another
variety which blossoms at the same time. Grown in Texas,
Oklahoma and Missouri.
Mammoth.-California origin. Berries very large, soft,
sweet, quality very good. Season very early. Bush very vigor-
ous, tender, very productive; canes semitrailing, root at tips.
Adapted to the milder parts of the Pacific coast. Planting dis-
tances, 8 to 15 feet by 8 feet when planted in rows; in hills,
the same as for others. This variety is self-sterile and hence
should be planted with another variety that blossoms at the
Mersereau.-New York origin. Berries large, firm, sweet,
quality very good. Season medium and short. Bush vigorous,
hardy, productive, susceptible to rust, fairly drought resistant.
Grown throughout the northern part of the Central-Western
and Eastern States.
Rathbun.-New York origin. Berries large, firm, quality
good. Season early to medium. Bush a vigorous grower,
suckers sparingly, half hardy, moderately productive; root at
tips. Very productive in some sections. A blackberry-dew-
berry hybrid. Not always a good pollenizer. Susceptible to
rust. Grown in sections with mild winters east of the Rocky
Mountains. Well liked in some parts of Michigan and Oregon,
but not as popular elsewhere as other varieties.
Snyder.-Indiana origin. Berries of medium size, not very
attractive, firm, quality good. Season medium and short. Bush
vigorous, very hardy, productive, does not produce many
laterals. Does not rust as badly as most varieties. Suscep-
tible to dry weather. Not adapted to heavy clay land. Grown
in all parts of the United States from the Atlantic to the Pacific
except the South.
Taylor.-Indiana origin. Berries medium size, soft, quality
very good. Season late. Bush vigorous, very hardy, moder-
ately productive. Not very susceptible to rust. Grown for a
late berry from the Rocky Mountains eastward except in the
Ward.-New Jersey origin. Berries large, firm, sweet,
quality good. Season late. Bush vigorous, hardy, productive.
Grown in New Jersey and somewhat in the northern part of
the United States east of the Rocky Mountains.
HYBRIDS AND NOVELTIES
Several hybrids of the blackberry and dewberry
have been classed in this bulletin with the black-
berry. Hybrids of the blackberry and raspberry
have not been discussed. As yet none of the many
recent introductions of blackberry species from dif-
ferent countries have proved to be of commercial
value. There is, however, little doubt that varieties
especially adapted to local conditions in each section
of the country will be found. The varieties described
in this paper are those which are best known at the
Besides being eaten fresh, the blackberry is dried,
canned, made into jam, jellies, and other preserves,
and pressed to extract the juice. Dried blackberries
are not used as much as formerly, because more con-
venient methods of preserving have been developed.
The introduction of the lacquered-tin can, which
does not discolor the contents as does the ordinary
tin when it comes in contact with this acid fruit, has
assisted in the rapid expansion of the blackberry
canning industry. The berries may be preserved in
a sugar solution or, as is more customary, preserved
without sugar by heating. This latter process is very
inexpensive and is more satisfactory for the trade,
since berries put up in this way can be used for many
purposes for which berries preserved with sugar
would be unsuitable.
MARVEL BLACKBERRY IS A VOLUSIA COUNTY
By T. A. BROWN, County Agent
Many stories have been circulated regarding this
wonderful berry. Its origin has been credited to
many countries and many people have claimed its
introduction, and at one time it was credited with
being imported from Australia by the government of
the United States.
After hearing these claims and assertions from
many angles, the writer determined to trace the story
to the true origin, and the result is as follows:
Many years ago, there lived at New Smyrna an old
lady who was known to the neighborhood as
"Granny Mathews," and her home was at the old
Spanish ruins now called the Old Mission. At that
time there was not as much attention paid to old
ruins as there is today, and Granny lived as many
old timers did, by the income from a few cows and
what her boys could make by carrying the mail to
St. Augustine and fishing in the Indian River.
Around the old ruined buildings there grew a pro-
fusion of wild blackberries, some of the usual
variety, and some of a much larger type, which,
while not so sweet as the others, was much larger
and had a flavor more like the dewberry, in fact the
resemblance to both gives rise to the present idea
that this berry may be the result of a natural acci-
dental cross between the two wild varieties.
No one paid attention to the source from which
this berry came until it was noticed that the berries
that Granny Mathews occasionally sold in the village
of New Smyrna were much larger and had a differ-
ent flavor than anything else known in this country,
whereupon Wm. Ballough, of Daytona, visited the
farm and sought the original planting, when, much
to his disappointment, he found that during a clean-
up campaign around the old building all of the orig-
inal vines had been destroyed except one plant that
remained growing against the rock chimney of the
Mathews dwelling. Mr. Ballough not being willing
to risk the loss of the original plant by its removal,
carefully dug four of the roots which he took home
to his garden in Daytona and nursed them until he
was able to propagate from the resulting vines,
which he did by the method of division and root cut-
tings, which has proven to be very successful, and
which was very fortunate, as a few years later the
parent plant at New Smyrna died out and the variety
should have been forever lost had it not been for the
efforts of Mr. Ballough, who within a few years had
increased to several thousand plants that ran true to
type and showed up so well that Mr. Ballough of-
fered them on the open market as a standard variety,
and called it the "Ballough Berry."
When the quality of the variety became known,
the promoters began to rush on, and eventually Mr.
Ballough is said to have made a contract with a man
at Tampa to furnish plants in lots of ten thousand.
This promoter, after getting the first lot of vines,
changed the name to "Australian Blackberry," and
we are told, paid for them with a bad check, altho
he later put up some cash in order to get another
shipment of vines, but the result of being tied up on
a contract that was almost a total loss so discouraged
Mr. Ballough that he lost interest and quit raising
the plants except for his own use.
Since that time various people have offered the
same variety under many names, and it always takes
well, since it runs true to type, is a very rapid grower,
bears a wonderful quantity of fruit, often as much
as six and eight quarts the second year, of well fla-
vored berries as large as a man's thumb, and is easy
to increase by the simple method of root cuttings, is
adapted to almost any soil from high pine to muck,
and is afflicted with few diseases or insects.
In the line of disease, we might mention a rather
unimportant rust that sometimes appears on the
leaves, but which can be controlled by the proper
use of any good fungicide, and a more serious disease
known as double blossoms, which causes the blossom
to turn from the natural white, single bloom, to a
pinkish twisted multiple affair which does not set
bloom. We are told by the Florida Experiment Sta-
tion authorities that this can easily be controlled by
cutting out all old canes in early winter and spraying
thoroughly with 4-4-50 Bordeaux mixture, applying
the Bordeaux again in the spring when new growth
The major insect trouble is the common flower
thrip, which is found in numbers in orange blossoms
and similar flowers, and which is easily controlled
by the standard nicotine soap spray directed into the
bloom every two or three days.
Summing up the Marvel blackberry as a crop, we
consider it as having never yet been given due credit.
It is the only variety that has proven beyond doubt
to be fully adapted to this part of the south, and
where properly trellised, pruned, fertilized and
otherwise cared for, we know of no crop that will
yield as much high quality fruit per acre, and the
markets have never yet had enough of them to sup-
ply a small part of the demand.-DeLand Sun, De-
cember 10, 1926.
Washington County News
It is a well-known fact that there are hundreds of
acres of fertile land in West Florida which are pro-
ducing nothing at all. It is likewise conceded that
these acres could be made to bring their owners a
nice profit each year if certain crops were grown on
them. Just what to plant to insure an income has
been a question of much debate, but the following
facts concerning the cultivation of blackberries,
which are presented by Mr. W. M. Jerkins, are most
interesting, and they should receive the careful con-
sideration and investigation of all who are interested
in putting idle acres to work:
Every one must admit that this is the natural
home of the blackberry. A total crop failure has
never been known. This is not true of sections two
hundred miles to the north or the south. Our nat-
ural wild blackberry ripens fully in two weeks be-
fore the cultivated berries of other sections and our
cultivated berries are two weeks in advance of the
wild berries, giving our berries four weeks' priority
on the market.
The California blackberries are now being mar-
keted. To give you a thought, I will here quote an
article, or part of one, from the Los Angeles Times
of August 22: "Costa Mesa, Cal.-Charlie Davis of
this place says he will make $1,000 from an acre of
blackberries this season, partly from the sale of the
boxed fruit, but mostly from the sale of the juice,
which he sells in jugs and for which he declares he
has a ready and growing market. He says the com-
pressor and jugging outfit are not expensive."
It will be necessary for berry growers here to re-
sort to Mr. Davis' method of marketing the crop, for
quite a time anyway. As a great area will have to
be planted and cultivated to supply the demand for
fresh berries, and since this is a natural berry sec-
tion, it stands to reason that they can be grown here
on a more economic basis than almost any other crop.
If the farmer of this section wants to get on the road
to success, he can certainly do nothing better than
cultivate the natural food products, and not too many
at one time, considering the market which will be
offered. Blackberries will pay enormous profits
with nothing like the trouble and expense of cotton,
with little competition and the world for a market.
Why not start the blackberry as a specialty for this
part of Florida?
Judge D. J. Jones, of Chipley, has had some ex-
perience in cultivating blackberries. Mr. H. F. Pierce
has had experience in other states. Mr. Robbins,
with Pierce and Stevenson, Chipley office in the
Bowen building, has had experience in marketing.
Talk with these men and get detailed data. They
realize that your success is theirs and will gladly give
you any information they possess on the subject.
When our farmers can market cultivated black-
berries from one thousand acres around Chipley,
those berry farmers will be realizing about one-half
million dollars more on their thousand acres than
they do now. Their lands can be sold for more than
five hundred per cent more per acre than now.
And one of the best features of the blackberry cul-
tivation idea is that these happy results can be ac-
complished within three years. Are you willing and
ready to step out of the old rut to the trial of one
acre, and make it a go? This is not an experiment.
That stage is past, with others, and was a success.
SOIL AROUND BARTOW IS BLACKBERRY KIND
Opportunity Awaits Growers, as Demand Is Much
Greater Than Supply
Tampa Tribune, December 5, 1926
Blackberries thrive in the country surrounding
Bartow, but thus far there has never been a supply
equal to the demand. The 1925 crop of berries
brought good prices in Bartow, but the home market
was never entirely satisfied and few berries were
shipped to distant markets. There is a splendid op-
portunity for the berry grower to locate in Bartow
and join the blackberry raising pioneers in proving
that Bartow can be made a leading shipping center
In Florida, Bartow is now actually the center of
the blackberry industry, one of the newest additions
to the agricultural wealth of the State. A number
of vines were planted in the vicinity of Bartow in
1923 by way of experiment, and came into bearing
in 1924 with fruit of excellent quality in quantities
that promised well for the future, when the vines
would come into full bearing.
Before extensive plantings were made, however,
several "ponies" of the berries were shipped to the
markets of the north and east as an experiment.
They arrived in splendid condition, according to re-
ports, and sold well at a time when the market was
not flooded with other fruit. The local demand was
excellent, and extensive plantings were made, which
are now coming into bearing, while the vines planted
in 1923 bear heavily.
THEY WORK TOGETHER
The blackberry season follows the strawberry
closely, but does not overlap, and the market is
ready for the fruit. The same labor used with the
strawberry crop can be used in the blackberry fields,
and the same sort of containers and packing boxes
are used with each fruit, making blackberries espe-
cially interesting to the strawberry grower.
Until very recent years the only blackberries
known in Florida were the wild blackberries of poor
quality, which came into bearing at a season when
rains are scarce, with the fruit dry and seedy except
in very rainy seasons or when the vines grew along
the banks of streams. A Mr. Balough, about 15
years ago found a wild blackberry which bore a de-
licious fruit in large quantities. He immediately
started his propagation on a commercial scale under
the name "Eureka," and the plant also became
known under names "Balough" and the "Australian
Blackberry," causing confusion and misunderstand-
ing, until a commission appointed to settle the claims
of the various owners of the plants decided that these
were in reality but one variety, and gave it the name
of the "Florida Marvel."
USEFUL AND ORNAMENTAL
The Florida Marvel constitutes most of the com-
mercial plantings of blackberries around Bartow,
though the Topsy, designated as Rubus Probatulus,
also does well in Polk county soil.
The Florida Marvel is a hybrid and belongs to a
group designated as Rubius Velox. It grows well on
low hammock soil, which is often unsuited for other
cultivation, and seems to do well anywhere it can
get plenty of moisture and plenty of humus in the
soil. It can be grown on land rather dry in character
if irrigation is supplied, particularly during the fruit-
ing months. The vine is not self-supporting, and
should be trained on a wire or trellis. It is an ever-
green and handsome enough to be used as an orna-
mental. The Topsy is similar but does not require
24,000 CANS BLACKBERRIES ARE SHIPPED
Marianna Canning Factory Now Using a Thousand
Bushels a Day
Tennessee people will shortly be gorging them-
selves on good Florida blackberries, a carload con-
taining 24,000 cans having just been shipped by the
Marianna canning factory. Tennessee people know
a good thing when they see it, especially when they
taste it, and in case the expected call for "more" is
heard, Manager Orcutt says that the plant is pre-
pared to supply the demand.
"We will be glad to buy 1,000 bushels of black-
berries a day," states Mr. Orcutt, "if we can get
them delivered to our trucks. We are running seven
trucks, covering the territory just like mail routes,
and we expect by the latter part of this week to be
getting 500 bushels per day."
The present output of the plant is about 1,000 cans
per day, and employment is being given to between
200 and 250 people, fifteen or twenty of these in the
plant and the balance picking berries. These latter,
with the plentiful yield of berries, are managing to
make very good daily wages.-Marianna Times-
Courier, July, 1926.
FARMER SEES FUTURE FOR BLACKBERRY
Everglades Section Offers Opportunity for Grower
Davie, Fla.-Possibilities for the growth of two
industries directly resultant from and connected with
farm development in the Everglades section are now
in the hands of Frank Stirling, local farmer, becom-
ing known as the "Burbank of Florida," who has
been experimenting with the Marvel blackberry and
other berries and with the tung oil tree. With only
a year's effort and experimentation behind him with
the Marvel berry, Mr. Stirling has proved to himself
and to other farmers and agriculturists in this section
that the Everglades section offers unlimited possi-
bilities and opportunity for those who would culti-
vate the berry on a large scale for marketing.
The growth of the Marvel blackberry is offering
Mr. Stirling an opportunity to build a new Florida
industry in this section in its production. He is now
planning to plant as many acres as he can produce
cuttings for, so sure is he of the paying possibilities
of their growth.
FUTURE PROSPECTS BRIGHT
Starting with 300 plants, covering practically one-
fifth of an acre, which were planted on April 14,
1925, Mr. Stirling's berry patch now covers several
acres, with plans already made to set out cuttings in
as many as 80 acres. An average of better than
3,000 quarts to the acre was realized last year from
his patch, although some strains ran as high as
16,000 quarts to the acre.
The market for the berries has not been touched
as yet even in local territory, the small production of
last year being eagerly purchased by local people at
an average of 50 cents per quart. As the northern
market has not as yet seen or tasted the new berry,
Mr. Stirling says that unlimited possibility for its sale
existed, in his mind. Since about 1,600 plants can be
set in an acre of ground, the chances for large pro-
duction for the size of the farm and for the amount
of revenue to the farmer are considerably greater
than any other one crop now being grown in the
Everglades section, he believes. -Tampa Times,