Saturday, January 20, 2018

New raspberry and blackberries to trial?

The USDA caneberry breeding program in Corvallis Oregon has recently released one raspberry , 'Kokanee' a red raspberry primocane fruiting type that has done well in Mexico. And 3 floricane fruiting blackberry cultivars ' Galaxy', 'Eclipse' and ORUS4370-1 (name to be determined soon).  There is also one primocane fruiting blackberry that is under trial that is looking good. They that are worth trailing in south and southeastern US. 'Eclipse' has done well in small plots at the Piedmont Research Station in Salisbury NC. Here is the information on each cultivar in a series of slides.

Winter Caneberry Checklist 2017-18

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:

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: cronos/blackberry/chill_model
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 lists at 
    • NARBA’s nursery list at for-growers/
    • For a comprehensive small fruit nursery list, see https://

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
North American Raspberry and Blackberry Association is in Ventura, CA. Feb 21-24

North Carolina Commercial Blackberry and Raspberry Association. Feb 13, 2018. 
Meeting will be held at the Cleveland County Extension Auditorium, 130 S. Post Rd; Shelby, NC 28152. Please arrive in time to set up prior to the start of the meeting. Contact Daniel Shires for more information. (704) 482-4365

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Cold Injury in Caneberries

Temperatures on Jan 2, 2018 at 3 am in NC, SC and part of GA.  Source: 

Last week many areas of the southern US experienced some very cold temperatures and in some locations closer to the coast there was some significant snow accumulation.

We are monitoring our berry crops, strawberry crowns at Central Crops Research Station looked good late last week. The crowns were creamy white when we sliced them open.

I will be in Savannah at the SE Regional Fruit and VegetableConference if you want to bring in some caneberry samples, we can look at them together. I don't expect to see bud damage at this point, but there may be some damage to the canes.

I have posted information on caneberry winter injury several times in the past. Here is a link to all the posts, there are numerous pictures to help you identify potential cold injury.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Blackberry harvest prediction WE NEED YOUR HELP

Every year blackberry growers struggle with predicting when their fruit will be ready to harvest. Marketers want to know when and how much fruit you will have during the harvest season.

Harvest prediction models for other crops have used heat units/growing degree days in combination with phenology (flowering and fruiting dates) with reasonable success. In cooperation with the NC State Climate Office (SCO), we are gathering data to help growers predict harvest dates based on accumulated heat units.

We need your help. Can you dig up first harvest and peak harvest of Ouachita for multiple years?  The model will be better if we can get dates from a number of locations, over a number of years and compare that to the heat units that have been recorded that year.

Please complete the short survey for your farm. You can fill it out more than one time for multiple years and multiple cultivars, even multiple fields if you know there is a difference in ripening times. We would like data for Ouachita primarily, but will take other cultivars if you are sorting through your records and have those dates as well.

Questions? Contact