Thursday, April 7, 2016

Damage to blackberry flowers at 27°F

There are reports coming of damage to blackberry flower bud from the freeze on Feb 5/6.
Make sure you check your fields to assess damage.  Left  image above shows shoot damage, leaves and buds were killed. Right image above shows flower bud damage. The center part also called the receptacle is the part of the flower that eventually develops into the fruit.

What to look for:

  • The buds will look green but if you cut them open, the center will be brown/black.
  •  The leaves may look fine or if it was really cold the leaves will also show damage as in the figure above. 

Fumi Takeda, USDA-ARS in West Virginia gradually exposed blackberry buds to cold temperatures, and unlike other berry crops, found that the killing temperature was 27.5 °F for all stages of flowers. Here his data:

What he found:

  • Critical temperature is between 27-28° F.
  • Within a flower, organs that will comprise the fruit were more susceptible to freezing temperatures.
  • Within an inflorescence, all open and unopen flower buds produced exotherm (were damaged) at the same time.  
  • In spring, blackberry (flower) has little or no freeze tolerance.

What can be done for the upcoming weekend freeze to minimize more damage:
  • Make sure any cover crop is mowed as close to the ground as possible to move the cold layer closer to ground
More information will be posted as we assess the situation.

For more information see links from previous years:

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Help needed for SWD project!

Measuring spotted wing drosophila impacts – Your help needed!

Our recently funded USDA NIFA Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) project Sustainable Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) Management for United States Fruit Crops is surveying fruit growers with two goals:
1. To measure the impact of SWD throughout the United States, and
2. To guide our project activities over the next four years.
This five-year project, coordinated through the Burrack Laboratory at NC State University, is developing national research and extension projects to minimize the impacts of SWD. They include new management tactics and programs, improved insecticide efficacy for SWD, and information and training on SWD for growers, extension agents, and others. In order to achieve this and ensure that the research and extension efforts match the needs of growers, the project is collecting information on the impacts of SWD on small fruit growers, current management practices and preferences, and your requirements for better management of SWD. Participation is voluntary, and the survey does not collect personally identifying information, and the data will only be analyzed and reported in aggregate form.
We would like to get feedback from as many growers as possible! Please complete the survey here:
Contact Hannah Burrack for additional information.
Funding for this project is provided by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crops Research Initiative under Agreement No. 2015-51181-24252

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

#SCIFIE Video of women plant and animal breeders for International Women's Day

In honor of International Women's Day, I thought I would post a video by Alison Van Eenennaam, Cooperative Extension Specialist, Animal Genomics and Biotechnology, UC Davis. She made this video of Animal and Plant breeders for the PAG meetings in 2016. If you watch it long enough, you will likely see a few people you know. 

Here is the info from the You Tube channel: 
This 4 minute piece is a parody written to the song "but first let me take a selfie" by the Chainsmokers. The video shows scifies of female plant and animal breeders from around the world emphasizing the important role women play in this field - both historically and at the current time - and also emphasizing the passion these women have for science, their careers and their family lives.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Scientific study review reveals health promoting potential of red raspberries

Scientific study review reveals health promoting potential of red raspberries: Components in red raspberries may have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative and metabolic stabilizing activity, according to a comprehensive review of the available scientific literature published in the January issue of Advances in Nutrition. These properties shed light on the potential role of red raspberries in helping to reduce the risk of metabolically-based chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, obesity, and Alzheimer's disease: all of which share critical metabolic, oxidative, inflammatory links.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

2016 Southeast Regional Caneberry Production Guide is Now Available!

In collaboration with David Lockwood at the University of Tennessee, Elena Garcia at the University of Arkansas and Gina Fernandez, NC State University/NC Cooperative Extension Service (NCCES),  and the Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium, we are pleased to announce that the

2016 Southeast Regional Caneberry Production Guide is now available. 

We have it available in 3 formats:

1. An online version that includes links to videos This is the first NCCES numbered publication to include videos!

There is also a PDF version in 2 formats. Both are 44 pages long and includes all the text, color images and figures that the online version has but no videos.  

2. The PDF version that is a smaller file size (3.2 MB) is available here: (lower quality but really not bad).   

3. A high quality PDF version (12 MB) is available on request.

Friday, January 29, 2016

2016 NC Commercial Blackberry and Raspberry Association Annual Meeting Information

Subject:           Ninth Annual NC Commercial Blackberry and
Raspberry Growers Association Meeting

To:                   Blackberry Growers and Industry

From:              Daniel Shires, Area Agriculture Extension Agent
Description: daniel sig3

You are invited to attend the ninth annual NCCBRGA meeting. As always we have an interesting and educational program scheduled. The meeting will be held in the Cleveland County Extension Auditorium at 130 S. Post Rd. Shelby, NC 28152.  In order to plan for the meal, you will need to RSVP by Monday February 15 by calling 704-482-4365. If you have any questions, need directions or if you would like to sponsor the meeting, feel free to call. There will be a $15 registration fee for the meeting. We will also be collecting, 2015 NCCBRGA annual membership dues. Make sure to thank and visit our numerous sponsors, which will be set in the back of the auditorium!
Below is a copy of the agenda.

Ninth Annual NC Commercial Blackberry and Raspberry Growers Association Meeting
Friday February 19, 2016
Cleveland County Extension Office Auditorium
Shelby, NC 28152

8:45-9:00            Registration
9:00-9:05            Opening Remarks and Welcome. Steve Dalton NCCBRGA President
9:05-9:15            Connect NC Bond Referendum, Daniel Shires NCCE
9:15-10:00          A Guide to Season Long Disease Management, Dr. Phil Brannen UGA
10:00-10:15        Break
10:15-10:45        Whole Farm Revenue Protection Program, Edward Gregory USDA
10:45-11:15       NAP Insurance, Bryan McMurry FSA
11:15-11:30       Labor Update, Norman Sykes NC Dept. of Commerce
11:30-12:00       Blackberry Trellising Options, Daniel Shires NCCE
12:00-1:00          Lunch and Vendor Visits
1:00-1:45            A Guide to Season Long Insect Control, Hannah Burrack NCSU
1:45-2:15            Rubus Ribes Symposium Recap, Gina Fernandez NCSU


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Blackberry and Raspberry Seasonal Checklist Winter 2015-16

This checklist was originally developed for blackberry growers in North Carolina. Many of the items apply to raspberry production as well. You may have to adjust your work activities either earlier or later depending on your location. For more detailed information, check the Southern Region Integrated Caneberry Management Guide and the Southeast Regional Caneberry Production Guide at:

Check the items off as they get done. This list is very general, but should help get you to think about what types of activities occur at various times of the year. If you would like other items to be added to this list, send them to me and I will add them next time.

Plant growth and development
Plant is not visibly growing during the winter months although many blackberries will retain their leaves through the winter
Some differentiation is occurring in the flower buds
Low chilling cultivars can break bud in January after adequate winter chilling. You can monitor chilling hours accumulated in eight states in the eastern US by accessing this site:
Developmental stages for IPM guide:
1. Dormant
2. Delayed dormant (swollen bud) to green tip

Pruning and trellising
Pruning should occur in late winter.  The unseasonably warm temperatures we are experiencing in mid December 2015, are not a good reason to get the pruning done early.  Pruning can stimulate growth. We have several more months to go before we want to see any type of growth!
Make trellis repairs after plants have defoliated but before pruning and training.
Erect types
Prune out the spent floricanes
Tie canes to wires in a fan shape
Cut lateral branches back to 8-12”
Thin canes to 6-8 canes/ hill (4 ft spacing)
Trailing types
Prune out spent floricanes
Tie or weave canes to wire so that they do not overlap
Prune side laterals to 12-18”
Thin canes to 6-8 hill (6-8ft spacing)
Primocane fruiting raspberries and blackberries
Prune (mow) primocane fruiting types to ground level

Weed control
Check the Southern Regional Bramble integrated Management Guide for recommendations.
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 local extension agent for cultural or chemical means to control these weeds.

Insect and disease scouting
Check the Southern Regional Bramble integrated Management Guide for recommendations.
Scout fields for insect and disease damage and remove those canes
Remove wild blackberries and raspberries by the roots if they are within 600 ft of your planting during the winter

Take soil tests to determine fertility needs for spring plantings.
There are some new raspberry and blackberry cultivars available each year. If you have not tried them or it is not know how they will do in your region, it is best to order a small quantity to see how well they will perform in your area
For larger growers, prepare list of cultivars for 2017 plantings and order now.
A commercial small fruit nursery list at

Water management
Make repairs to irrigation system (check pumps, lines, etc)
Plants generally do not need supplemental water in winter

Marketing and miscellaneous
Order containers for next season
Make contacts for selling fruit next season
Attend grower meetings:
o The 2016 North American Raspberry & Blackberry Conference will be held in Williamsburg, VA.
o Southeast Regional Conference and Tradeshow, with sessions on blackberry
o January 7-10, 2016, at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
o The 2016 NCCBRGA meeting will be Friday February 19 in Shelby. For more information contact

For more information on growing caneberries see: