Sunday, February 3, 2019

WInter Caneberry Checklist

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.

This checklist is very general, but should help get you to think about what types of activities occur at various times of the year.
Check the items listed below off as they get done.

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 occurs in the flower buds (flowers continue to develop)
·                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 IPM 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 (6-8 ft 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.
·                Some growers are having success with biodegradable mulch to suppress the weeds the year of the planting

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 2020 plantings and order now. Smaller quantities of plants can be order in early 2019 for spring 2020 planting
·                A commercial small fruit nursery lists at 
    • for-growers/
    • 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

For more detailed information, check the Southern Region Integrated Bramble Management Guide and the Southeast Regional Bramble Production Guide online version:

Attend grower meetings
North Carolina Commercial Blackberry and Raspberry Association. Feb 15, 2019. 
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