Thursday, October 13, 2016

Fall Caneberry Chores 2016

Blackberry and Raspberry Seasonal Checklist Fall 2016
Gina Fernandez, Small Fruit Specialist, North Carolina State University

Many of us are recovering from the wrath of Hurricane Matthew. I posted some information on the Team Rubus Blog prior to the storm.  In parts of eastern NC, soils are saturated and there is still a threat of additional flooding as the rivers continue to fill with water from the tributaries. There is some information in the blog post on how to dealing with flooded berry fields.

The NC State University Extension has a new look to their portals. Check out the Blackberry and Raspberry Portal here.

The Northwest Berry Foundation has a great newsletter that focuses on production issues in the Pacific Northwest. However, they pull information from a range of sources, and many of the articles are relevant for all berry growers. It comes out on a weekly basis during the production season and less often during the off-season. Here is a link to the most current newsletter. therea are a couple of articles on labor situations on the west coast.

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

Make plans to attend Grower meetings! Blackberries and raspberries are part or all of these programs.
  • North American Berry Conference, Grand Rapids MI
    • December 4-6, 2016.  Because the Great Lakes Expo is held in December, we actually have TWO conferences in one calendar year — this December meeting will replace our Winter 2017 conference, which would typically be held in January or February.
    • This year NARBA is meeting jointly with the North American Strawberry Association (NADSGA), in association with the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, and Farm Market Expo in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
    • This is a highly regarded regional meeting that attracts more than 4000 participants and 450 exhibitors. It is one of the largest trade shows for fruit and vegetable growers, greenhouse growers and farm marketers in North America!
  • Southeast Regional Conference and Tradeshow, Savannah, GA
    • Sessions on blackberry and strawberery, blueberry, muscadines and more!
    • January 5-8, 2017, at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
    • Registration and program information can be found at
    • Video of past conference

Key Resources:
Southern Region Integrated Bramble Management Guide:

Southeast Regional Bramble Production Guide:

Blackberry and Raspberry Grower Information Portal:

Social Media links:
Twitter: @NCTeamRubus  
Facebook : Team Rubus   

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