Monday, December 9, 2013

Blackberry and Raspberry Seasonal Checklist Winter 2013-4

Blackberry and Raspberry Seasonal Checklist
Winter 2013-14
Gina Fernandez, Small Fruit Specialist
North Carolina State University

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 Bramble Management Guide and the Southeast Regional Bramble 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.  However, in some areas winter ice storms can do tremendous damage to plants and trellis systems. If you produce blackberries in one of these areas, pruning can take place early winter to help avoid severe damage.
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 2015 plantings and order now. Smaller quantities of plants can be order in early 2014 for spring 2014 planting
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 2014 North American Raspberry & Blackberry Conference Meeting
January 27-29, 2014 in Hershey PA.
o 2014 SE Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference
Jan 9-12, 2014 Savannah GA
o The North Carolina Commercial Blackberry and Raspberry Growers Association
Feb 6, 2014.  Shelby NC. For more information contact or Josh Beam <>

For more information on growing caneberries see:

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