For gardeners or farmers that want to try something new, a different type of blackberry called primocane may be a good choice. Although, this plant is good in a small-scale plot, it may be worth the fruit.
Information on Primocanes
There are some relatively newer types of blackberry plants called primocane fruiting blackberries. The root system of a blackberry is perennial, but the canes are biennial.
The primocanes are first year canes. These primocanes grow and set flower buds, but usually do not bloom the first year. In the second year, the primocane name changes to floricane—which do bloom and set fruit. After fruiting, the floricanes will soon begin to wilt and die. While the floricanes are flowering and fruiting, the new primocanes will begin to grow.
The primocane fruiting blackberry plants are just as the name implies. The primocane does set flower buds, bloom, and make fruit the first year. Do not treat the floricane fruiting blackberry like an annual and cut it down after one year’s growth. The second year floricanes will bloom and make a crop the following year.
These primocane fruiting blackberry plants may be something to try on a small scale. Keep in mind that the primocane fruit ripens when the temperatures are much warmer and the fruit quality may not be as desirable as the floricane-produced fruit. Again, temperatures in the 90s reduce fruit quality as well as production, and primocane fruiting blackberries should be planted on a trial basis in Alabama.
The University of Arkansas introduced the first primocane fruiting blackberry cultivars in 2004. These cultivars were named ‘Prime-Jim’ and ‘Prime-Jan.’ Since then, several other primocane fruiting blackberries have been released including ‘Prime-Ark 45,’ ‘Prime-Ark Freedom,’ and ‘Prime-Ark Traveler.’ All of these are erect types. The ‘Prime-Ark Freedom’ and ‘Prime-Ark Traveler’ are thornless.