Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Cane damage, what to do?

Protecting blackberries from winter cold with straw mulch. Photo credit: unknown at this time, will update when I figure out its origin.

This year we have seen damage to canes and buds....here are some suggestions on how to manage the crop for this upcoming growing season.

If you have CANE Damage:
First, determine extent of the injury to your canes.

If canes are completely killed to ground, remove them as they will be sites for disease infection. Once they are removed, you will need to manage the emerging primocanes. There will likely be lots of them and they will grow quickly.  Tipping may be needed more frequently.

If canes are damaged on the upper portions, remove the damaged portions, as they will be sites for disease infection. This is of course dependent on if you have labor and how much time it will take to remove the damaged portions of the cane.

If canes are damaged in spots, the plant will have reduced capacity to provide nutrients to the developing laterals, because of damage to vascular tisse (see figure 3 in the previous blog post). I talked to Dr. Bernadine Strik. OSU Berry Crop Extension Specialist,  and this was her suggestion:
" If canes or the bud base are damaged and there is lateral growth, these laterals may “collapse” – grow well and then wilt. While it’s hard to deal with bud base damage, if there is partial cane damage, foliar fertilization to support lateral growth with the cambium of the cane has time to repair can work. We have resisted putting specific recommendations of foliar feeding during delayed dormant and fruiting lateral development stages, because it would be possible to do “too much” and burn the young leaves. This would  be a concern. Also, foliar feeding will not “solve” problems with poor bud break or “fix” canes that are damaged. It’s not a miracle cure. With that said, if there is partial cane damage and the cane is thus limited on translocation of mobile nutrients, foliar feeding would help get  the laterals through the early development period. I would recommend a low foliar rate of N (e.g. 5% urea) as well as Ca. It’s hard to mix Ca with K, but K might be needed also (caution on not applying too high a rate as this will burn leaves). I would apply a foliar every 2 weeks until first bloom."

For management of diseases, make sure you stick to the recommended spray program and watch out for grey mold (botrytis).

Bud Damage:
We have had this occur in the past, both in 2007 and 2012. If only the primary buds are killed, there may be fruit produced from secondary buds. Here are some links to previous posts regarding bud damage:



Friday, April 18, 2014

Cane damage to blackberries in some locations

Each year we learn more about growing blackberries in the southern US. In the past,  we have had late spring frosts/freezes that have resulted in bud damage. This year, we are experiencing a new type of winter injury, cane damage (Figures 1- 3). 

It has been cold here, with temperatures dropping to the single digits on several occasions  (Table 1). The cane damage ranges from death of entire canes, death of upper portions of canes (not shown), cane splitting and damage to just portions of a cane, as is shown in Figures 1-3. The range of damage varied considerably, with some sites experiencing almost no damage to some with more than 90% damage.  The severity of damage also varied by cultivar, with Navaho showing most damage. 
Figure 1. Blackberry canes with 90% or more damage to floricanes.  
Figure 2. Cane splitting.
Figure 3. Two pictures of a blackberry canes with cold damage. Arrows indicate region of damage to the same cane.  Left image: arrow points to browned area showing damage to the vascular tissue (xylem and phloem) on the inside of the cane. Right image: damage on the outside of the cane, epidermis is sunken and dark brown. The large crack in the center of the pith occurred when we cut the cane, and is not a result of cold damage. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

2014 NABG Research Foundation Grants

A belated congratulations to all the recipients of funds from the North American Bramble Growers Research Foundation.

The North American Bramble Growers Research Foundation has approved six projects for funding in 2014 for a total of $17,219. Eleven proposals requesting a total of $43,914 were received. Projects funded are:

    Evaluation of algicides for management of orange felt and fungicides for control of cane blight diseases of blackberry – Phil Brannen, University of Georgia, $2,632

    Identification of effective toxicants for inclusion in attracticidal spheres for management of Drosophila suzukii – Tracy Leskey, USDA-ARS Appalachian Fruit Research Station (WV), $5,000

    Developing the genomic infrastructure for breeding improved black raspberries – Chad Finn, Nahla Bassil, Jungmin Lee, Jill Bushakra, USDA-ARS (OR), $1,500

    Effects of non-crop habitat and patterns of movement by Drosophila suzukii on fruit infestation in commercial blackberry fields – Hannah Burrack, NC State University, $3,273

    Innovative packaging technologies to enhance the safety and the quality of fresh raspberry – Thomas Gianfagna and Kit Yam, Rutgers University, $3,814

    Electronic data collection/labeling for the USDA rubus genebank – Kim Hummer and Joseph Postman, USDA-ARS Germplasm Repository (OR), $1,000.

For more information:


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Where are the berries coming from this week? The National Berry Report

A quick way to check on origin of berries in your markets!

The California Strawberry Commission has developed a tool that pulls volume data for berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries) from the USDA AMS for the past week. The data represents volumes coming into the US from various countries, including the US.

For example, In the past week, according to data compiled from USDA-AMS, raspberries were coming from Southern and Central California and Mexico. While blackberries are mostly being shipped from Mexico with a smaller amount coming in from Guatemala.

Here is the link, it will automatically generate data on a daily basis.


From the California Strawberry Commission site: "The National Berry Report is generated from data compiled by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service which is available publicly on the USDA Fruit and Vegetable Market News website www.marketnews.usda.gov/portal/fv. The California Strawberry Commission does not validate the accuracy of the data and is not responsible for any misuse of the data found therein. If you have any questions regarding the USDA Fruit and Vegetable Market News website and its content you may contact Fred Teensma at fred.teensma@usda.gov or 510-637-1815."

Friday, April 4, 2014

Budbreak in NC

It's been a busy spring here in NC. Lots of cold weather has left small fruit growers with some sleepless nights. However, spring has arrived and buds are breaking.

Here is a picture of Navaho bud break at the Vollmer Farm in Bunn NC on Monday. I took my HS 422 class there to see strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. We sliced open several blackberry buds, like the one in the picture below and did not see any damage.  The crop appears to be later than usual,  we usually see leaves that are larger and in some years, flowers have been open by the 1st of April (no fooling').
Navaho bud break March 31, 2014, Bunn NC.

The week before, I participated in the Foothills Farm School, and as part of that training for beginning and transitioning farmers, we visited Maple Spring Farms in Dallas NC. They are one of the few farms that has matted row strawberries and Kiowa blackberries. Their Kiowa blackberries were at about the same stage of bud break as the farm in eastern NC. We did see some buds with damage. We also saw secondary buds, so they should still have plenty of berries. 
Kiowa budbreak, March 27, 2014, Dallas, NC.