Great all-around blackberry — firm but not tart. It is the most productive plant of its kind that you can grow in the upper Midwest. Fruit won’t soften, leak, or lose color in the South either. Tolerates hot, dry weather. Productive canes yield berries perfect for fresh-eating, preserves, and baking. Summer-bearing floricane. Late season. Ripens in July. Self-pollinating.

125% Survival Guarantee!

Since 1816, Stark Bro’s has promised to provide customers with the very best fruit trees and plants. It’s just that simple. If your trees or plants do not survive, please let us know within one year of delivery. We will issue a one-time merchandise credit to your account equaling 125% of the original product purchase price. Read more about our warranty policy.


Bloom Color Pink
Fruit Color Black
Fruit Size Large
Pollination Self-Pollinating
Ripens/Harvest July
Shade/Sun Full Sun
Soil Composition Loamy
Soil Moisture Well Drained
Soil pH Level 6.0 - 6.8
Taste Mild
Texture Firm
Years to Bear 1 - 2
Zone Range 5 - 8

Zone Compatibility

This Variety's Zone Range 5 - 8
My Hardiness Zone ?
The USDA hardiness zones offer a guide to varieties that will grow well in certain climates. Each zone corresponds to the minimum winter temperatures experienced in a given area. Make sure that your hardiness zone lies within the zone compatability range of this variety before ordering.

Size & Spacing

Mature Size

When your plant matures, it will be approximately 4 - 5' tall x 3 - 4' wide.

Recommended Spacing

We recommend spacing these plants 5 - 6' apart to ensure room for growth.


This variety is self pollinating.

In many cases, you may still want to plant pollinating partners to increase the size of your crops, but with self-pollinating varieties doing so is optional. You'll get fruit with only one plant!

Tools & Supplies

Having the proper tools and supplies when growing your own can make the difference between a good harvest and a great harvest! Here's a list that our experts recommend for this variety.

Planting & Care

Learn all about how to grow blackberry plants in The Growing Guide. An entire section of our website dedicated to your growing success.

Shipping Information

Arrives when it's time to plant

Your success is our priority. We work hard to make sure that your order arrives at the ideal time for planting in your location based on your local climate conditions.


We've 'tagged' this item with specific keywords that help you find other products that share features or characteristics with this one. Select a tag below to view all the items that have that particular trait.

Questions & Answers

Start typing your question and we'll check if it was already asked and answered. Learn More
Browse 26 questions Browse 26 questions and 94 answers
Why did you choose this?
Stark Bro's Store
fills out other berries Imhave
Carl P on Apr 11, 2021
Something new.
Al on Nov 14, 2020
fills out other berries Imhave
Carl P on Apr 11, 2021
Have one growing plant currently. They are a great berry plant, good tasting and prolific berry producers!
MIKE G on Feb 5, 2021
Something new.
Al on Nov 14, 2020
First attempt a growing. I am hoping to cover a section of fence. Also trying Natchez Thornless Blackberrys.
Jim D on Nov 12, 2020
I love blackberries on my cereal.
Farnklin Y on Nov 4, 2020
Good ratings
Cynthia D on Jul 21, 2020
Thornless, and firm.
Nancy T on Jun 30, 2020
looks delicious
Angel S on May 21, 2020
I have a berry patch and want to add in another area
James F on Apr 29, 2020
I planted these about twenty years ago and love the lack of stickers. Also, they produced huge, sweet berries, and many quarts of them for several years
Dolores P on Apr 27, 2020
Will survive the
NAP on Apr 24, 2020
I have grown these in western Pennsylvania for over 30 years.
Having tried several different varieties of blackberries these hold up and produce
the most berries per plant. Very tasty when fully ripe.
FRANK M on Apr 15, 2020
No idea. First time order
Peter M on Apr 12, 2020
I have had them in the past. They are very tasty. They also grow well and produce well.
MARY B on Apr 4, 2020
Have grown these in the past. At their peak maturity (5-10 years old) 5 plants were producing 10-15 gallons of berries per year. Large and tasty berries! Time to replenish after ~ 20 years
Max H on Apr 2, 2020
They look so perfect ..
Jerry N on Apr 2, 2020
Could not find the one I really wanted---Black Satin. Much more juice from Black Satin berries.
Nell B on Feb 26, 2020
I'm adding to my blackberry collection
Kathleen B on Feb 24, 2020
Thornless, late season fruit
John R on Feb 12, 2020
We need to expand our blackberry bed and decided to purchase thornless blackberries this time. Much of the crop is eaten or given to family as soon as they are picked, but I also do make up blackberry jam which is great on a cold winter's morning on top of homemade toast! Also, our young grandchildren enjoy being in our
raised bed gardens and picking the fruit and with thornless blackberries they will no longer need to wear gloves when they pick them.
MARSHA G on Dec 6, 2019
Heat tolerant
Craig M on Dec 2, 2019
Starting my first garden and I eat a LOT of blackberries!
Martha S on Nov 21, 2019
Recommended by a local farm for the area as a high yield easy to maintain blackberry.
Kimberly R on Apr 12, 2019
I have seen them growing in my zone and they produce amazing clusters of berries.
TINA R on Sep 8, 2018
I have been growing this variety for the past 5 years and wanted to add to the planting bed. Chester blackberries are a good size and very tasty.
SUSAN J on Aug 4, 2018
Amazing thornless berries for eating right off the canes! Big, sweet, and juicy fruit.
Charles P on Jul 9, 2018
Recommended by a blackberry and berry fruit expert at Cornell adapted to our weather
Peter H on Jun 4, 2018
The Chester was recommended by Up the Creek Winery, (Burkesville Ky). Berry does well for them in zone 6. Very sweet berry. Outstanding wine.
MICHAEL S on Nov 3, 2017
We wanted a blackberry that was easy for the kids to help harvest, so thornless was the obvious choice. This has fruited really well in a short amount of time, and the kids (ages 4 and 6) love to pick the berries.
Adam H on Jun 2, 2017
I use them for my wine I make. Very sweet.
Dallas C on Jan 5, 2017
Word of mouth in New Mexico is this is a great variety for dry local conditions
Thomas H on Aug 9, 2016
purchased three a few years ago and the bush is easy to trim and control and is a beautiful plant.
Ross B on May 27, 2016
We love blackberry jelly and cobblers.
Eric and Olivia B on May 4, 2016
past success with this product in Connecticut
William S on Mar 20, 2016
We bought these blackberries plants in 2003 and had remarkable success with them. We had friends and family members wanting to know where they came from. We are starting a new harbor of plants. Thank You Penny Neeson
Penny on Mar 14, 2016
Have one growing plant currently. They are a great berry plant, good tasting and prolific berry producers!
MIKE G on Feb 5, 2021
First attempt a growing. I am hoping to cover a section of fence. Also trying Natchez Thornless Blackberrys.
Jim D on Nov 12, 2020
can they be planted in shade?
Sharon K on Mar 25, 2016
BEST ANSWER: THey will do betterif planted in an area with at least 5 or 6 hours of sun daily.
Are they seedless?
Judy H on Mar 6, 2016
BEST ANSWER: No. There are, as far as I can tell, no truly seedless blackberries. The Arapahoe blackberry comes the closest, but it has seeds, although they are fairly small.
Will this variety root and produce more canes if I lay one down on the soil?
Chris H on Oct 18, 2016
BEST ANSWER: We would not recommend that because what you'd be doing is creating a root system from the top down, rather the bottom up. It will be weak and more susceptible to disease. With proper sun, water and nutrients, your blackberry bush will shoot up plenty of strong new canes from underground.
Is the Chester blackberry considered a trailing, erect or semi-erect plant?
April D on Jul 25, 2018
BEST ANSWER: I planted 3 and think they are semi erect the canes are pretty thick. I use two stakes and a single wire for support. I think if you top the primocanes at around 4 feet they would be mostly self supporting. I don't top them though I just bend them back down over the single wire.
Hi! Will these fruit this year or next?
Craig H on Apr 18, 2020
BEST ANSWER: We appreciate you reaching out to us. You can find the years-to-bear information in the Characteristics section, near the top of the page, underneath the description. This tree takes 1-2 years to bear.

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to reach back out to us. Have a great day!
Is there a good fertilizer to use?
Dano M on Oct 22, 2019
BEST ANSWER: There are several sites that handle blzckberry specific fertilizers, i use Sparks version.
If $$, suggest you compare component formula and purchase best match locally.
How do chester blackberries do in winter? Is there any extra care?
Janine on Sep 4, 2018
I grow my Chesters' on a two sided trellis, oriented north to south. Each plant gets abundant sunshine, from 7 am on the east side of the trellis, to about 6 pm on the west side of the trellis.

You have to secure, all of this years growth, to one side of the trellis, in order to make room on the other side of the trellis, for next years' growth.

Check your soil pH is between 6.0 - 6.8. Keep top dressing your plants with compost, and crushed egg shells mixed in. Cover the crown of the plant, 10" wider than the plant, with solid but fluffy large wood chips, shredded leaves, or coarse bark mulch. The concept is, to prevent rapid temperature change, in order to prevent root ball heaving. Prune appropriately, any cane that touches the ground, will root right there, and form a whole new plant. That is why, they are called brambles.

Protect the Crown during the winter, but begin to uncover it, after your last expected snow date is, to allow new growth to begin to emerge. Frost covers work great for new shoots, during the early spring, but unnecessary toward the last expected frost date.

I hope this was helpful
Is this a trailing or bush type of plant?
Kathleen E on Jun 5, 2020
BEST ANSWER: We appreciate you reaching out to us. The Chester variety are semi-erect, and grow best when staked or trellised.

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to reach back out to us. Have a great day!
can these be grown with other blackberries of a different type ?
Jim o on May 20, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Absolutely. I bought a variety pack for my zone that has different varieties. They are all planted together and doing quite well.
I planted 25 Chester blackberry plants during the spring of 2014. The plants have produced maybe 30 berries in total. The ph level is right. The plants look healthy. The climate is growth zone 5. Any idea why they are not producing fruits?
Michael V on Oct 24, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Hi Michael. I had the same thing happen to me last year. This year I decided to water them a lot more. I would soak the plants at least every other day, daily if I could. I was rewarded with about 10 quarts of berries and I only have 6 plants. I can't say that is the answer for you but it worked for me. My plants have never looked healthier.
Does the Chester thorn-less blackberry spread or multiply itself?
Laura on Jul 14, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Yes to both. It's hardy and needs space. I have mine on a wire trellis system
and new growth for next year's berries comes from the root.
Can this plant be trimmed to form a fan like bush or does it need a fence type structure for support?
Wilson L on Jun 23, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Not really. Maybe if you work at it. It goes up about 3-4 feet and then without support droops down to the ground, creates roots at that point if you let it and then starts another piece going up. Maybe you can keep it within a circle without support and just keep trimming it. We're only on our 2nd year with these.
How many leaves does Chester thornless blackberry have?
Alyson L on Jul 2, 2020
BEST ANSWER: I'm not sure what you mean? It has lots of leaves? Mine planted two years ago is nowtaking over everything with leaves and blackberries. Thank goodness it doesn't have thorns!
What is the best thornless blackberry I can grow in zone 9A?
James B on Mar 29, 2020
BEST ANSWER: Natchez and Chester are great Chester grows as thick as my thumb. Be sure and wait until berries loose the high glossy look and look flat or dull that when they are the sweetest.
When do you plant them?
Wayno on Sep 27, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Now until end of October
We have two very husky totally straight vines with no blossoms, why would this be? We have 10 plants that are normal.
Melba B on Jun 24, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Sounds like the normal cycle. First year canes, primocanes, are strictly vegatative and wintrr over. The next year fruit bearing canes, floricanes, flower, fruit and die. Mature root systems sends up new primocanes every year. Tip these at 42 inches (elbow height) mid summer to force laterals. Tip laterals when dormant to 6 in. Dont mulch, remove dead canes, thin to 10 inch spacing for air circulation. Brambles are a perfect for home cultivation. Fairly care free, great tasting, and the store berries are expensive and often unripe or moldy.
What is the best time to plant in Massachusetts?
Ted B on Sep 28, 2020
BEST ANSWER: We appreciate you reaching out to us. Because weather and soil conditions vary so much from year to year and even within your zone, it's best to think of your planting time as a range of favorable conditions instead of an exact time.

You can plant new plants and trees:
1) when the ground is not frozen.
2) when daytime temperatures are above freezing (32??F) and below 90??F.
3) when extreme weather (blizzard, hail, torrential rain, etc.) is not in the forecast. Be sure to keep plants watered if you're transplanting in warm and/or dry weather.

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to reach back out to us. Have a great day!
what is the difference in a gallon pot and a cell pack?
ransom b on Apr 7, 2020
BEST ANSWER: A Jumbo Cell Pack is a bigger version of the divided 6-packs in which you might have bought annuals or vegetable plants in at a garden center. These one-year-old plants are new starts - about 4-6" tall - and will grow rapidly during the next growing season.

The 1-gallon plant is in a #1 trade gallon pot (about 2/3 of a standard gallon) and is two years old, and has an an advanced root system. These plants are two years old and about a foot tall at shipping.
Shipping date says Late November- we live in Ohio. Should I leave them in their pots or can I plant them in the ground if we are able to dig through the frozen ground?
Deb W on Nov 24, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Thank you for your question. Because weather and soil conditions vary so much from year to year and even within your zone, it's best to think of your planting time as a range of favorable conditions instead of an exact time.

You can plant new plants and trees: 1) when the ground is not frozen, 2) when daytime temperatures are above freezing (32??F) and below 90??F, and 3) when extreme weather (blizzard, hail, torrential rain, etc.) is not in the forecast. Be sure to keep plants watered if you're transplanting in warm and/or dry weather.
Can I grow these with raspberries?
sbake on Sep 22, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Yes, you can. The only thing you need to keep away from other berries are black raspberries.
This mentions not planting black raspberries away from other plants. Are blackberries black raspberries?
K W on Aug 12, 2018
BEST ANSWER: Black raspberries are not the same species as blackberries. Black raspberries should be planted far away from blackberries and red/yellow/purple raspberries as they can transmit diseases carried by aphids.
can you plant these near wild blackberries, or will they eventually develop nto thorned?
KD O on Jul 27, 2018
BEST ANSWER: The absence of thorns is a genetic variation from the original thorny types. Things that have been bred always have the possibility that they can revert back, however, the chance is slim. It's possible that the two varieties could interbreed and the resulting seed may form a throned bramble. Also, the aggressive nature of the native blackberry could over take the thornless. All that being said, I doubt the thornless would revert to thorny, but it may be hard to keep them separate.
Are they seedless?
RuAnn on Jul 1, 2018
BEST ANSWER: No blackberries are seedless; however, Stark Black Gem has very tiny seeds which are almost unnoticeable.
Do you get to have grapes in the 1st year that you plant the vine?
Phyllis B on Feb 22, 2018
BEST ANSWER: Neither grapes nor blackberries produce more than a few small berries the first year. They will begin producing the second year in a "fruitful" way.

Customer Reviews

4.0 / 5.0
19 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Star
Mediocre when compared to Triple Crown
I have the Chester and Triple Crown thornless. Chester produces twice as much as Triple Crown, but they have a mild flavor and are very tart unless you pick them when they are on their way past ripe to and almost over ripe. Best for picking when the fruit is very, very soft and plump and basically falls off the stem when you pull. Great for jam because you can use them when they are still tart.
August 20, 2016
Review of Chester Thornless Blackberries
These are absolutely amazing. I got 7 lbs of blackberries on brand new bushes last year and they were big and yummy. It looks like it will be a much bigger crop this year. They are very vigorous growers, but don't seem to mind pruning. I cannot say enough good things about them.
May 18, 2016
over 6 years ago
Great product!
All of them made it through the winter! 37 inches of snow at one point. ONe got munched on by deer...but it still survived. I then sprayed them all with Plot Saver and the deer have let them grow. Already they are a foot high...we have had the wettest spring in Maryland history and they are going strong. If they produce fruit with the same enthusiasm I will be thrilled!
May 14, 2016
over 5 years ago
Chester Thornless Blackberry
Plants are entering 3rd season. They grew well the 1st year with a few large and tasty berries. We were expecting a good 2nd season crop but an especially hard winter killed the canes above the snow line. Still the plants grew well and gave a reasonable late summer crop, enough for several pies. Large, sweet, and tasty berries. Looking forward to the crop from the undamaged canes this season.
May 8, 2016
over 6 years ago
Chester has exceeded my expectations
To my great delight these plants took off with a vengeance reaching 7 feet tall in their second year with huge half dollar size berries. Wish I had known about them years ago. The manure tea helped as did watering during dry spells. Pruning is a challenge & still learning which to cut. Berries must be fully ripe to be sweet. They do not ripen well if picked reddish black. If you like blackberries I would highly recommend these thornless Chesters.
September 7, 2017
over 5 years ago
Didn't work for me
Bought 6 Chester Thornless Blackberry canes.....3 actually grew the first summer. The second summer only one was still surviving, but it was fading and this spring it appears to be dead. I don't think they are suited for our growing season in mid-NH, though I did everything I was supposed to do to make them happy and healthy. I'll stick to wild blackberries I guess!
May 5, 2016
over 6 years ago
Chester Thornless Blackberry
I ordered the one plant in a container. Plant arrived on time and was moist on arrival. Planted last fall and it survived a harsh Northwest winter. The plant started growing this spring and has 4 or 5 canes that top my 5' trellis. I am now enjoying a few delicious Blackberries and can hardly wait for the Blackberry crop next year.
Stark Brothers did an excellent job with delivery, descriptions and caring for the plant. I give them my highest recommendation! I am very pleased!!
August 29, 2017
over 4 years ago
Fast Growing, Great Flavor
Great production from 20 ft first year canes. Second year canes robust. I let the canes touch the ground for more canes next year.
August 6, 2016
over 6 years ago
Planted last year
Hard to tell whether plants are doing good, i bought three of these last spring, and as transplants they went nowhere. One lost all its leaves, but i left it anyway.This year two of them (with a little more sunlight than the third) are growing like crazy, The third one recovered some leaves and is growing, but will probably always be smaller.Cant wait.
RL Eastern Long Island
May 21, 2016
over 6 years ago
Chester Thornless Blackberry
I had quite a few large blackberries off my first year plants and they tasted great!
May 8, 2016
over 6 years ago