Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hot days ahead

Temperatures are predicted to soar into the 100's in NC in the next few days. Raspberries and even their more heat tolerant cousins blackberries will be stressed.  The most important thing you can do at this time is to make sure your plants are well watered. This will help reduce the stress to the plant and enable your berries to continue to ripen and get plump.

Raspberry roots are usually in the top 10" of soil, while blackberries roots can be much deeper. However, the majority of the water is taken up by the roots in the top 6" of soil. Water stress before or during harvest can seriously reduce productivity. Water is the most critical factor for optimal fruit growth and primocane development, a berry is afterall more than 90% water! A shortage of water will limit fruit size and also the number and diameter of primocanes for next years crop.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Checklist is online

Here is a link to the summer checklist for caneberry growers.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Natchez overcropping?

Rows of Natchez (left) and Ouachita (right) blackberries, June 2012.
    As blackberries are ripening across the SEUS, some questions about  Natchez are 'cropping' up. In the picture above, the two rows look dramatically different, in particular, here are a few things to note:
    - Has lots of red fruit, very few leaves on the floricanes and essentially no primocanes. 
    - Abundant fruit (harder to see),  abundant leaves on floricanes and primocanes are emerging above the canopy. 

    Here are some of my thoughts and things you need to think about.
    - Leaves are the primary source of food (sugars/carbohydrates) for plants   
    - If there are not enough leaves, the fruit will not have the sugars/carbs it needs to fully ripen. (Viticulturalists long ago determined a certain number of leaves are needed to ripen a cluster of grapes)
    - Natchez produces very large fruit and plants can produce large yields.
    - However, sometimes it makes TOO much fruit. 
    - This could be alleviated with special pruning in the dormant season? 
    - Although no one has done any studies that I know of, one suggestion for next year is to make sure that when you prune laterals in the winter, you do not leave them too long. We recommend 12-18, so for Natchez, so, I would suggest you try to prune to the shorter part of that recommendation. That will reduce your crop load.
    What will happen to the fruit in the picture above? Only time will tell, but likely the fruit will not be able to ripen fully, what does get ripe will be not very sweet (tart?). AND the crop next year may be reduced because there are no primocanes emerging.
    Ouachita looks great and should produce a nice crop. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Got to be NC Dairy Products and Team Rubus?

Have you seen this truck on the roads of NC this summer? This is a tasty combination of NC farm products!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Blackberry anthracnose – What's happening in the field? - Missouri State University

Blackberry anthracnose – What's happening in the field? - Missouri State University

We have seen similar symptoms in NC.

Blackberry or black raspberry

This link found its way to me yesterday. People are often mistaking black raspberry and blackberry in the wild, gardens and local markets. Although there are many traits that help a Rubus expert distinguish the two apart, follow the pictures to the end of the link for an easy way to tell them apart. The fruit are very different. One is hollow (black raspberry) and the other is not (blackberry).

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Blackberry tipping

Now is the time to tip your primocanes. The arrow shows the point were the cane was tipped. Tipping means that you only need to use your fingers to remove the top of the cane. This results in a smaller wound and will be less likely result in diseases entering this area (see earlier posts on Cane Blight). If you need to use pruners, you will need to apply a fungicide afterwards.

Two ovals show where the axillary buds below the tip are starting to elongate. Instead of having just one cane to produce fruit, you now will have 2 branches.

For floricane-fruiting blackberries, you should be tipping them about 6" below the top wire. This will enable you to redirect the growth in a "horizontal direction" and increase your fruiting area for next year. I use "" around horizontal because the canes are growing vertically in this picture and will do so in your field. Later in the year, they will start to bend over and will form the framework for next years fruiting laterals, and be more or less horizontal with some strategic training.

For primocane-fruiting types, we have found that tipping them at about 3-4 ft., will result in higher yields. We have yield data and a published paper that shows all this data, however, validation in the field is always great. Last week I was visiting a grower that had some Prime-Ark 45. He tipped some plants (on my recommendation) and did not tip some, just to see what happened. He told me last week, yields were much better when the plants were tipped. The picture above is from his field, where all plants were recently tipped.

Also see last years post on this subject:

Spotted Wing Drosophila

As was the case last year, Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) is present throughout NC this year. We have been finding them in our research plots in blackberry and raspberry plantings. This year we also see them in black raspberry trials. This pest is a big deal, I urge you to check out Dr. Hannah Burracks blog to find out the latest information, including factsheets and spray schedules.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Twilight Tour Henderson Co.

There will be a Twilight Tour TOMORROW evening in Henderson County.

Location: 284 Jacobs Apple Lane Hvl. Take Ext 49A, Hwy 64E off I-26 toward Edneyville, Right on Pace Rd (stop light at intersection), go -1/4 mil. take left on Lark Rd. (church on left) go 200 yds., take right on Jacobs Apple Lane. This is the new Reiter Farm. They are affiliated with the Driscoll Company.
We will start at 6:00PM. 

Hannah Burrack will be discussing insects pests including spotted wing drosophila
Gina Fernandez will be discussing managing plantings in a reduced crop year, diseases that have been diagnosed this spring, white drupelets, and ?

Sorry for the late notice, I just got the directions late yesterday.