Saturday, March 3, 2012

Pruning Demonstration in Gibsonville

Yesterday, Kathryn Holmes, an Extension Agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, in Rockingham County, held a caneberry pruning demonstration for approximately 26 people at the High Rock Farm in Gibsonville, NC. Richard Teagues, the owner of the farm, grows blackberries, raspberries and other fruits and nuts and sells them at markets in nearby cities like Chapel Hill.

We started the demonstration with a quick lesson on how to get your pruning equipment ready for a new season. Pruners and loppers should be cleaned and lubricated at least once a year, some tools may need to be sharpened as well. There are several websites that can show you how to do this online. We also talked about when and how to clean pruners while pruning to reduce the spread of diseases. There is a great article on the pros and cons of when to do this, written by Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott Washington State University Puyallup Research and Extension Center. She works with ornmental crops, but the practice would be similar for caneberries.

There are several rows of thornless blackberries and one row of Dormanred raspberry planted in single wire rows. The plants had not been pruned after harvest, so it was a great way to show how to prune the spent floricanes out (canes that had produced fruit last year) and how to thin and prune primocanes that will produce fruit in the upcoming year. The plants had been in the ground since 2009. We discussed how to prune in the summer, how and when tipping is done to minimize cane blight, and increase lateral development. They will be putting in new rows with a t-trellis, which will enable them to produce more fruit per row. Here is a copy of the pruning cheat sheet I provided to them.

Thank-you Kathryn, Mr. Teagues and his son, Howard Johnson, and Christine Bradish for helping me with this rainy day activity.

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