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:


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