Wednesday, November 11, 2015

SWD beware

So, in case you have not heard, our own Dr. Hannah Burrack is heading a large research project on SWD. Here's a link with details.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Lots and lots of rain! Caneberries beware!

Todays, National Weather Service forecast for NC and adjacent states. 
The last 5 or so days have been very rainy in most of the state of NC.  The forecast for the upcoming days includes more rain. Although we need the rain, the prolonged wet periods can be problematic for caneberry (and lots of other) plants. Growers should be aware that wet soils and plant surfaces can be a problem, mostly diseases, for caneberries. Here is a repost from 2012 detailing some of the potential issues and what can be done.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Rotating Cross Arm Trellis in the news

Apache flowering in vertical position on RCA trellis at the Piedmont Research Station in Salisbury, NC.

Blackberry plants on a RCA trellis is covered to protect canes from winter injury at the Peidmont Research Station in Salisbury, NC. 
In a recent article, the Agricultural Research Service horticulturist Fumiomi Takeda of the Appalachian Fruit Research Station shows how a rotating cross-arm (RCA) trellis and cane-training system to help growers overcome environmental challenges, produce more fruit, and reduce labor.

To read how the trellis can help growers in the midwest minimize cold damage and those in the south, decrease fruit discoloration, click on this link:

Monday, September 14, 2015

Caneberry Checklist Fall 2015

Plant growth and development
ü  Primocanes continue to grow but growth rate is slower
ü  Flower buds start to form in leaf axils on summer-fruiting types
ü  Carbohydrates and nutrients in canes begin to move into the roots
ü  Primocane fruiting types begin to flower in late summer/early fall and fruit matures until frost in fall
ü  Primocane leaves senesce late fall
ü  Primocane-fruiting raspberry harvest
ü  Primocane-fruiting blackberry harvest
Pruning, trellising and tunnels
ü  Spent floricanes should be removed as soon as possible
ü  Optimal time to prune is after the coldest part of the season is over. However pruning can start in late fall if plantings are large (late winter for smaller plantings).
ü  Start trellis repairs after plants have defoliated
ü  Remove covers on three-season tunnels
Weed management
ü  Many summer weed problems can be best managed in the fall and winter using preemergent herbicides. Determine what weeds have been or could be a problem in your area. Check with your states agricultural chemical manual and local extension agent for the best-labeled chemicals to control these weeds.
Insect and disease scouting
ü  Continue scouting for insects and diseases.
ü  Remove damaged canes as soon as possible to lessen the impact of the pest.
ü  Check the Southern Regional Bramble integrated Management Guide for recommendations.
ü  Growers in warmer areas (e.g. extreme southeastern NC) can plant into early December.  Preparations for winter planting should have already been made. If you have questions about winter planting please contact your local county extension agent
ü  In cooler areas, prepare list of ­cultivars for next spring’s new plantings. Find a commercial small fruit nursery list at
ü  Take soil tests to determine fertility needs for spring plantings.
ü  Non-nitrogenous fertilizers are best applied in the fall to established plantings.
ü  If soil is bare, plant an overwintering cover crop (e.g. rye) to build organic matter and slow soil erosion.
Marketing and miscellaneous
ü  Order containers for next season
ü  Make contacts for selling fruit next season

Make plans to attend Grower meetings! Blackberries and raspberries are part or all of these programs.
  • 2016 North American Raspberry & Blackberry Conference:  March 2-4, 2016 at Colonial Williamsburg, in Williamsburg, Virginia.
  • Southeast Regional Conference and Tradeshow, with sessions on blackberry
JANUARY 7-10, 2016, at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center

Key Resources:
Southern Region Integrated Bramble Management Guide and the Southeast Regional Bramble Production Guide:

Blackberry and Raspberry Grower Information Portal:

Social Media links:
Twitter: @NCTeamRubus  
Facebook : Team Rubus   


Thursday, August 20, 2015

XIth International Rubus and RIbes Symposium puts the Carolinas on the map!

The XIth International Rubus and Ribes Symposium was held in Asheville, North Carolina, June 21-24, 2015. There was also a pre-sympsium tour of research sites and grower locations in NC and SC. We had 190 people registered by the end of the meeting and 80 people on the Pre-symposium tour, from 26 countries.

This meeting is held every 4 years in regions where these crops are grown. Since hand harvested blackberries are a newer crop, the Carolinas turned out to be a good location for the meeting. We were able to bring in researchers from the region that had not attended the meeting before, as well as veterans of Rubus Ribes. We had 50 oral presentation and 93 posters. NARBA sent Debby Wechsler and she will be writing up some articles about the meeting in future issues of the Bramble and other trade magazines. We are still preparing the official technical report (Acta Hort Proceedings), it will be published late in 2015. Some of the comments from the participants were:
"Best Rubus Ribes meeting ever"
"I learned something from every presentation" 
"This puts North Carolina on the Map"

If you want to learn more about the sites we visited and the talks presented, you can check our our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. They can be viewed at, and under  ‘RUBUSRIBES2015’ on Instagram.

Participants of the XI International Rubus and Ribes Symposium, June 21024, 2015, Asheville, NC.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Topics for NARBA Grower meetings in 2016

From the Executive Secretary of NARBA...Debby is looking for topics for the National and Regional meetings of NARBA to be held in Williamsburg in March 2016 and Savannah in January 2016.

This is a reminder that the planning committee for our March 2016 conference in Colonial Williamsburg, VA invites you to submit your suggestions for speakers and for topics for sessions and presentations at the conference.  Their first program-planning meeting is coming soon, on August 12, so I thought I'd re-send this and encourage you to respond.

What do YOU think the leading topics, important new research, and important concerns are in the caneberry industry? What's new, what would be useful?
What topic, presentation, or discussion  would bring YOU there?
You are also invited to put yourself forward as a potential speaker, panelist, or discussion leader -- whether you are in caneberry research/extension, a supplier or marketer, or a grower. 

Please email back your suggestions and proposals now, or if easier, give me a call at 919-542-4037.  If something occurs to you later, over the next few months, that is fine, too-- developing the program is a lengthy process.
We can't guarantee that anyone's ideas will be selected, and there will undoubtedly be budget considerations, but look forward to getting lots of new ideas and great presenters whose expertise we might not otherwise know or think about. 

Thank you!

Debby Wechsler
NARBA Exec Secretary

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

More on the heat and fruit harvest

As the temperatures look to be staying quite warm this week and next just as harvest are some thoughts.
-keep the plants irrigated, they are transpiring a lot with the heat. all that water is pulled up through the plants, and berries. 
-berries are 90% water, so as they increase in size this week, a lot of that size is due to water uptake
-harvest as early in the day as possible, to minimize soft and hot fruit.
-consider going to a night harvest? Its been done in grapes and apples. 

Heres how they do it in apples an article from good fruit grower. It might not work for you now, but something to consider.