Prime Ark Freedom Blackberry
2-gallon sized potted blackberry plant
Prime Ark Freedom is a new release from the University of Arkansas Blackberry breeding program. It is the first thornless, primocane producing blackberry. This now means that berry growers in the colder zones of the US where temps drop below minus 15 in winter will be able to get a yield of blackberries on thornless canes, with no overwintering protection needed. These berries are greatly improved in size and sweetness compared to their thorny primcoane fruiting cousins (Prime Jim and Prime Jan), which I never grew because the fruit was just tart, small sized, and had thorny canes.
In USDA zones 6 and warmer, the floricane crop can develop, and will be the earliest blackberry to ripen. Size of the berry is large, and they are sweet. Primocane cropping will begin in late August and continue until frost.
A Note On Tipping Primocane Fruiting Blackberries:
Tipping the primocane is recommended for Freedom, to increase the fall yield, but it also delays the fruiting. My suggestion would be to not tip in zones 3-5, but allow tipping in zones 6-9. Tipping is when you remove the very tip of the primocane, forcing it to begin branching from axillary buds. This can be done once (when the primocane is 12-18″ tall) or twice (when the primocane branches from the first tipping reach 25-32″ tall). The further south you are (i.e. longer fall growing season), the more recommended tipping is for Freedom.
Will Be Available in Early June 2019
USDA hardiness zone 6-9 for floricane production
zones 3-9 for primocane production but plan on using season extension or potted greenhouse growing for USDA zones 3-5