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:



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