Best grown in moist, organically rich, slightly acidic, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Intolerant of wet soils. Raised beds should be considered in areas with heavy clay soils. Plants are perennial but canes are biennial. For established shrubs, tip-prune new vegetative (non-fruiting) canes in summer. Immediately after fruit harvest, remove all canes that fruited to the ground. In late winter to early spring, remove any canes damaged by winter and thin the remaining canes to 4 or 5 strong, well-spaced canes plus trim the laterals thereof. Plants generally perform best when staked.
‘Chester’ is a semi-erect, thornless blackberry cultivar. This is a self-fruitful, free-standing, thornless shrub that produces one crop of fruit per year. Clusters of pinkish-white, 5-petaled, rose-like flowers in spring give way to firm blackberries of excellent eating quality that mature in summer (mid- to late July in St. Louis). ‘Chester’ fruit is very similar to that of R. ‘Illini Hardy’.
Anthracnose, botrytis and verticillium wilt can be serious disease problems. Cane borers and crown borers are potentially serious insect pests.
Although the flowers are attractive, this blackberry is grown primarily as a food crop and it not considered appropriate for ornamental use.