Prime-Ark Freedom blackberry variety

Rating [ 4.5 ]

The first commercial thornless primocane-fruiting early-ripening blackberry with large berries and good flavor

Botanical designation

Rubus subgenus Rubus Watson 'Prime-Ark Freedom'

Originated from a cross of

Originated from a cross of A-2301T x APF-49T

Variety denomination

Variety denomination - 'APF-153T'

Plants are

Plants are thornless

Bushes have

Bushes have erect canes

Fruit weight is

Fruit weight is 10 g


Berries have a oblong shape

Fruiting habit

Fruiting habit - primocane-fruiting (everbearing)

Flowering on floricanes starts in the

Flowering on floricanes starts in the fourth week of April

Ripening date (regular) -

Ripening date (regular) - second week of June

Blooming on primocanes starts in the

Blooming on primocanes starts in the third week of June

Ripening date (remontant) -

Ripening date (remontant) - first week of August

Productivity is

Productivity is 2 kg per plant

Soluble solids

Soluble solids - 10.2%


Acidity - 0.74%

Cold hardiness is

Cold hardiness is good

Heat tolerance is

Heat tolerance is moderate

Country of origin

Country of origin - United States


Patent US PP26,990 P3 dated July 30, 2016

Current status

Current status - modern or widely used

Prime-Ark Freedom (also known as APF-153T) is the world’s first commercially released thornless primocane-fruiting blackberry. This is the fourth in the University of Arkansas Prime-Ark Brand Primocane Fruiting Blackberry cultivar line following the release of Prime-Jan and Prime-Jim in 2004 and Prime-Ark 45 in 2009. All of the prior-released primocane-fruiting cultivars are thorny.
This type of blackberry fruits on current-season canes (primocanes) and on second-season canes (floricanes), potentially providing for two cropping seasons, both traditional summer fruits in addition to late summer to fall production. In addition to having thornless canes, this variety produces very large berries with good flavor and is very early ripening on floricanes.
Fruit of Prime-Ark Freedom does not exhibit exceptional postharvest storage potential but it is not recommended for the shipping market due the berries have low firmness.
The average primocanes length is about 2-2.5 m. Primocanes are low vigorous, without thorns, very erect. Prime-Ark Freedom berries are large-sized, average weight of berry is about 9-12 g. Color is glossy black.
Each plant produces groups of berries, like bunch of grapes. The first yield starts forming at primocanes in the beginning of June and continues three to four weeks. During this first harvest season, Prime-Ark Freedom intensively produces floricanes, which soon begin to bloom. Floricanes are thornless. This is the second harvest season, which continues up to the middle of October.
After the end of the second harvest season Prime-Ark Freedom requires winter shelter from winter cold wind and other unfavourable conditions, because the declared cold hardiness of this blackberry variety is moderate, about minus 13..17 C, but the many growers note that real hardiness is about minus 18..20 when using covering.
Plants like sun placement, but it is observed that at high air temperature (over 31..33 C) pollination cardinally reduces.
Table 1. Comparison table of floricane and primocane yield of two primocane-fruiting and three floricane-fruiting blackberry - Natchez, Osage, Ouachita, Prime-Ark 45 and Prime-Ark Freedom
Cultivar Yield, kg/ha
2011 2012 2013
Floricane harvests
Prime-Ark Freedom 6258 10740 17529
Natchez 19773 19448 -
Osage 13681 14461 -
Ouachita 12076 15716 -
Prime-Ark 45 7866 13238 23501
Primocane harvests
Prime-Ark Freedom - 911 2893
Prime-Ark 45 - 214 3663
Table 2. Comparison table of floricane and primocane averaged fruit weight of two primocane-fruiting and three floricane-fruiting blackberry - Natchez, Osage, Ouachita, Prime-Ark 45 and Prime-Ark Freedom
Cultivar Berry weight, g/pcs
2011 2012 2013
Floricane harvests
Prime-Ark Freedom 9.2 8.7 12.6
Natchez 7.6 7.3 -
Osage 5.0 5.1 -
Ouachita 5.5 5.8 -
Prime-Ark 45 5.5 5.4 6.2
Primocane harvests
Prime-Ark Freedom - 7.5 8.8
Prime-Ark 45 - 4.8 5.8
Table 3. Сomparison table of Prime-Ark Freedom (APF-153T), Natchez, Osage, Ouachita and Prime-Ark 45 (APF-45) blackberries by floricanes parameters
Main features Cultivar
APF-153T Natchez Osage Ouachita APF-45
Flowering date on floricane
10% bloom April 13 April 2 April 19 April 27 April 20
50% bloom April 16 April 20 April 25 May 4 April 26
Floricane harvest date
First May 28 June 6 June 9 June 13 June 6
Peak June 6 June 13 June 20 June 28 June 18
Last June 20 July 7 July 25 July 25 July 18
Flowering date on floricane
10% bloom March 26 April 2 April 2 April 5 March 27
50% bloom April 1 April 4 April 5 April 11 April 2
Floricane harvest date
First May 6 May 17 May 21 May 24 May 17
Peak May 21 May 29 May 29 June 5 May 29
Last June 8 June 25 June 25 June 28 June 28
Fruit (rating scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is the best)
Firmness 7.6 7.8 8.2 8.6 8.2
Flavor 7.6 7.0 8.2 8.6 7.6
Soluble solids, % 9.7 11.3 11.8 11.6 10.8

Prime-Ark Freedom  sweet?

Is blackberry Prime-Ark Freedom sweet?

Prime-Ark Freedom blackberries have a balanced sour-sweet flavor
How to cultivate blackberry

How to cultivate blackberry Prime-Ark Freedom?

1. Avoid wet area when planted;
2. Annual pre-emergence and postemergence herbicide applications;
3. Annual spring nitrogen fertilization (56 kg/ha) using ammonium nitrate;
4. Tipping primocanes at 1.1 m height two times each season usually in mid-June and late July or early August;
5. Dormant pruning of primocane-fruiting plants must include removing dead floricanes and removing primocane tissue to a point below the fruiting (flowering) area on the primocanes;
6. Dormant pruning of floricane-fruiting plants must include removing dead floricanes and pruning lateral branches to ~0.4 m in length;
7. Use drip irrigation;
8. A single application of iron sulfate in late fall and lime sulfur in early spring.
Diseases resistance

What diseases is blackberry Prime-Ark Freedom resistant to?

Prime-Ark Freedom has very good resistance to diseases such as AnthracnoseOrange RustRosette or Double-Blossom
Diseases susceptibility

What diseases is blackberry variety Prime-Ark Freedom vulnerable to?

Prime-Ark Freedom is quite prone to diseases such as Grey Mold
Relevant documents

Relevant documents for Prime-Ark Freedom blackberry variety:

Useful Growing Guides

Useful Growing Guides:

Prime-Ark 45
Previous variety
Prime-Ark Horizon
Next variety

Reviews of the variety Prime-Ark Freedom


Hey ya’ll, in this video we will be PLANTING my first ever BLACKBERRY bush in a CONTAINER.
This is the 3rd and final video of my GROW YOUR BERRIES in a CONTAINER series. We’ll also take a small tour of the different varieties of Berry Bushes/plants that I have already PLANTED in a CONTAINER.
BLACKBERRY featured in this video is a thornless, Prime Arkansas Freedom BLACKBERRY. Is the first thornless BLACKBERRY variety from the University of Arkansas. Berries are medium to large fruit with excellent flavor that ripens in July the first year and again in Fall. Attracts POLLINATORS, including birds and butterflies. (Information from plant addicts).

Review from [AZ BOTHANIC]

Blackberry Prime Ark freedom


Thornless Prime Ark Freedom Blackberry


My plants are starting their third year. While they started very small, they have definitely reached their max height and are still spreading. I have two plants. The one with 100% direct son is doing slightly better than the plan partially shaded by a privacy fence. The fruit is sweet and plentiful. I would buy these again!

Review from [TERRY]

If you live in a northern state, similar to NW PA, your second crop of berries will freeze before they ripen. My plants are super healthy and are still green with all their leaves in mid January. I expect a good crop this Summer. A better choice for northern gardeners might be the new Ponco variety

Discussions about variety Prime-Ark Freedom

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