Thursday, January 29, 2015

Want to learn more about blackberries and raspberries?

Attend the North American Raspberry and Blackberry Association annual Meeting!  Tuesday, 2/24 through Friday, 2/27/15 2015 in Fayetteville Arkansas.

It’s a great opportunity to attend a meeting focused entirely on blackberries and raspberries, not all mixed up with other crops, meet growers from all over the country, and see Dr. Clark’s breeding research … touch the original Ouachita plants, see how extensive and involved the effort is, see what’s coming, etc…

Links to conference registration forms and online registration are at

Hotel reservations at the Chancellor Hotel,  by calling 479-442-5555 (mention NARBA). The rates are guaranteed only through Feb 1, so people should call right away. The “Blackberry & Raspberry Production 101” workshop is also filling up.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Blackberry Chilling Update Jan 22 2014

Its 22 January and blackberry buds are tight.

According to the Blackberry chilling model CRONOS, at the Piedmont Research Station in Salisbury, we have accumulated 794 hours. Thornless blackberries need 700-1100 hours, and raspberries need 800-1700 hours. So for blackberries, we have experienced enough cold for some of them to break bud. BUT I don't think we are anywhere close to that based on field visits last week.

Pruning Navaho thornless blackberries at Mitchem Farm in Vale, NC. 

FYI I discussed chilling in a series of previous posts:

Here is an excerpt from one of those posts

High chilling/low chilling. Most of the blackberries and raspberries we grow in NC need to accumulate a high number of chilling hours in order to break bud and grow 'normally' next summer. Contrary to what you may initially think, we don't want low chilling plants. We want high chilling plants that can stay dormant when we get January thaws. 

If you live in the SEUS, you can find probably find out the chilling hours in your area.  The NC State Climate office has a great tool you can use if you want to calculate the chilling hours in your area. Here is a link.

Blackberry (Thorny)
Blackberry (Thornless)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Winter Injury Talk Savannah GA January 2015 part 2

Today in Savannah GA at the Vegetable and Fruit Conference, Wayne Mitchem, Ervin Lineberger and David Lockwood held a session on Winter Injury in blackberries. Here are Waynes Slides. He is a grower in the Lincolnton, NC area. Wayne Mitchem outlines the scenario on his farm during the 2013 growing season and the winter of 2014 below. 

In short, the conditions that were present on his farm during the 2013 season, lots of rain and late harvest season of Navaho kept the plants from hardening off. The result was cane injury to his Navaho plants most likely occurred in November. 

He lists some great management suggestions in the last slide and made during the session:
-prune out dead canes, this will minimize diseases that may be harbored in the dead canes, and increase air circulation in the canopy
-foliar fertilization may help in spring and summer to help deliver nutrients to the developing crop. (see comments on previous blog post
-there will be a need to increase pruning in 2015, as more canes were produced in 2014
-damage in November made plants more susceptible to cold later in January

See other posts on winter injury here:

Winter Injury Talk Savannah GA January 2015 part 1

Yesterday in Savannah GA at the  SE Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference, there was a session on winter injury in blackberries. Here are slides from Dr. David Lockwood, University of Tennesse. He reviews how plants prepare themselves for winter, types of injury that can occur and practices for reducing freeze damage.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Getting ready for the XIth International Rubus and Ribes Symposium

Only 16 days left to submit your abstract to the XIth International Rubus and Ribes Symposium. Use the link below to submit abstracts and register.