Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Caneberry Chores Winter 2014-15

Blackberry and Raspberry Seasonal Checklist
Winter 2014-15
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: http://www.smallfruits.org/SmallFruitsRegGuide/index.htm.

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: http://www.nc-climate.ncsu.edu/cronos/blackberry/index.php
  • Developmental stages at this time of year as mentioned in the PM guide are : 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. www.smallfruits.org
  • 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. www.smallfruits.org
  • 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 http://www.fruit.cornell.edu/berry/nurseries/ 

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 2015 North American Raspberry & Blackberry Conference will be held in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on February 24-27, 2015. For more information and an sneak peek at the program: http://www.raspberryblackberry.com/local.cfm?doc=webdocs/2015Conference Overview.htm
o   Southeast Regional Conference and Tradeshow, with sessions on blackberry
o   January 8-9, 2015, at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center http://www.seregionalconference.com/educational-sessions/
o   The North Carolina Commercial Blackberry and Raspberry Growers Association
Date not set at printing. For more information contact Daniel_Shires@ncsu.edu

For more information on growing caneberries see:


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dr. Moo Jung Kim

Gina Fernandez, Moo Jung Kim and Penelope Perkins-Veazie after the graduation ceremonies at NC State University December 18, 2014.
Congratulations to Dr. Moo Jung Kim. She is the most recent graduate from Team Rubus. Dr. Kim has joined the ranks of some wonderful scientists from our program, PHHI and NCSU Department of Horticultural Science. Moo Jung is currently working as a Visiting Scientist at West Virginia University.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Request for Proposals for 2015 Funding

A reminder....

The North American Bramble Growers Research Foundation (NABGRF) Inc. seeks proposals for bramble research for the year 2015. All bramble proposals will be considered. However special consideration will be given to proposals related to the specific priorities established for this round of funding.  
Pest Management Strategies
  • Management and biology of Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD)
  • Management and biology of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB)
  • Management (?) of Agrobacterium tumefaciens (crown gall)
  • Evaluate new insecticides (pesticides) for blackberry and raspberry production.  
Production Efficiency and Profitability
  • Management of blackberries and raspberries in tunnels (pruning, training and trellis systems)
  • Post-harvest handling for small farmers
Cultivar Development and Testing
  • Germplasm development
Special Needs
  • Marketing
Since 1999, NABGRF has funded a total of 76 proposals totaling $184,572. Funding for individual projects is expected to range from $2000-$5000. In order to expedite the process, we ask that your request stay within this range. Please note that the NABGRF does not  pay overhead or "indirect" costs. The major source of funds for NABGRF's research grants is contributions by nurseries to NABGRF's Nursery Contribution Program, initiated in 2007. The Foundation very much appreciates their support
Proposals will be reviewed by the Research Committee of the NABGRF by the next North American Raspberry & Blackberry Association annual meeting, February 24-27, 2015 in Fayetteville, AR. The Research Committee will forward their recommendations to the NABGRF Board of Trustees. Final funding decisions are made by the Board of Trustees. Notice of awards will be sent out in March 2015. For more information, email either of the NABGRF  Research Co-Coordinators, Gina Fernandez and Jeff Chandler.
The deadline for proposals is December 20, 2014.
Sending Proposals: Email your proposal as a PDF file to gina_fernandez@ncsu.edu by the deadline above. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Nursery List from NARBA

The North American Raspberry and Blackberry Association has compiled a list of nurseries that are members of their organization.  Here is a link to their list

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fall Caneberry Checklist/Chores 2014

Plant growth and development
·      Primocanes continue to grow but growth rate is slower
·      Flower buds start to form in leaf axils on summer-fruiting types
·      Carbohydrates and nutrients in canes begin to move into the roots
·      Primocane fruiting types begin to flower in late summer/early fall and fruit matures until frost in fall
·      Primocane leaves senesce late fall
·      Primocane-fruiting raspberry harvest ends  when there is a hard freeze
·      Primocane-fruiting blackberry harvest late summer/early fall
Pruning, trellising and tunnels
·      Spent floricanes should be removed as soon as possible
·      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).
·      Start trellis repairs after plants have defoliated
·      Remove covers on three-season tunnels
Weed management
·      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
·      Continue scouting for insects and diseases.
·      Remove damaged canes as soon as possible to lessen the impact of the pest.
·      Check the Southern Regional Bramble integrated Management Guide for recommendations.  http://www.smallfruits.org
·      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
·      In cooler areas, prepare list of ­cultivars for next spring’s new plantings. Find a commercial small fruit nursery list at http://www.fruit.cornell.edu/berry/nurseries/
·      Take soil tests to determine fertility needs for spring plantings.
·      Non-nitrogenous fertilizers are best applied in the fall to established plantings.
·      If soil is bare, plant an overwintering cover crop (e.g. rye) to build organic matter and slow soil erosion.
Marketing and miscellaneous
·      Order containers for next season
·      Make contacts for selling fruit next season

Make plans to attend Grower meetings! Blackberries and raspberries are part or all of these programs.
January 8-9, 2015, at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center http://www.seregionalconference.com/educational-sessions/

Key Resources:
Southern Region Integrated Bramble Management Guide and the Southeast Regional Bramble Production Guide: http://www.smallfruits.org/SmallFruitsRegGuide/index.htm

Blackberry and Raspberry Grower Information Portal:

Social Media links:
Twitter: @NCTeamRubus  
Facebook : Team Rubus   
Blogs: http://teamrubus.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fingerprinting Raspberries and Blackberries

This past summer Team Rubus presented a poster, "Who’s your raspberry daddy?" at two Research Station field days in June. And in August, we presented another poster titled "Comparative diversity analysis of Southeastern Rubus germplasm through molecular and pedigree techniques" at the International Horticultural Congress. Although the titles of the presentations were different, the presentations were essentially the same. Both were discussing how our breeding program has incorporated fingerprinting technology into our program. Below is a brief synopsis of this work.

Why do we need fingerprints?
- Can sort mix ups in research and grower fields and nurseries
- Distinguish between closely related varieties
- Potential patent protection (not used yet for Rubus)
- Determine how diverse germplasm is in a breeding program

How do we produce fingerprints?
- Collect young leaf samples in spring or summer
- Extract DNA from leaves, and tag each plant using 6 DNA markers that are specific to red raspberry (Bassil et al.)

- Each genotype/variety/cultivar will have a unique profile  or "fingerprint" for the 6 DNA markers
- The "fingerprint" of each sample is matched to a reference profile in our database, to ensure it is true to type (actually the genotype/cultivar/variety which it is labelled as).

This is a slide from one of the presentations. The first picture shows some of the leaf tissue​, ​mortar​ and pestle​ (old fashion way to grind the tissue), the second picture is of extracted DNA in ​test tubes being prepared for analyses. ​T​he 3rd image is of a PCR printout, and the green bands and blue bands represent ​the DNA fragments, separated by size.  Green and blue are two different markers, which are analyzed simultaneously.​

Here is an example what the data looks like from our selection NC 654 which is a cross between Mandarin (mom) and Willamette (dad). For the DNA marker Meek19, Mandarin, peaks at 170/186, and Willamette, peaks at 170/174.  NC 654 (child) peaks at 170/174.  We can verify that Mandarin and Willamette are indeed the parents of NC 654 using Meek 19, whereby the 170 peaks comes from Mandarin and the 174 peak comes from Willamette. This combination of peaks is unique to NC 654. 

In addition, through some modifications of the established protocol for red raspberry, we were able to determine that we could use these same markers for black raspberry and blackberry.

Bassil NV, Nyberg A, Hummer KE, Graham J, Dosset M, Finn CE. A Universal Fingerprinting Set for Red Raspberry. Proc. Xth Intl. Rubus and Ribes Symp. Acta Hort. 946. ISHS: 2012.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Blackberry On-Farm Field Day

From: Daniel Shires, Area Ag. Extension Agent
When: Friday October 10, 2014
Time: 1:00 PM to 3:30PM
Killdeer Farms,
300 Goforth Road
Kings Mountain, NC 28086

On behalf of the NC Commercial Blackberry and Raspberry Growers Association and the NC Cooperative Extension Service you are invited to attend our upcoming Fall Blackberry Field Day. This will be a great opportunity to learn from Extension Specialists and see equipment demonstration on a real-life farm setting. The field day is free to anyone who wishes to attend. Since this is an outside event: dress appropriately and bring a lawn chair if you wish. Please RSVP to Annie Thompson (Extension Secretary) at
704-482-4365 by Wednesday October 8th if you plan on attending.

1:00 to 1:15…Registration
1:15 to 1:30…Welcome from Ervin Lineberger, Killdeer Farms
1:30 to 2:00…Spotted Wing Drosophila (Lauren Diepenbrock & Katie Swoboda, NCSU)              
2:00 to 2:30…Hand-washing stations and mobile cooling unit (Daniel Shires, NCCE)
2:30 to 3:00…New Herbicides (Wayne Mitchem, NCSU)

3:00 to 3:30…Disease vs Virus (Andy Rollins, Clemson Extension)