Friday, January 21, 2022

Blackberry Pruning Videos



It is that time of year, at least it will be once the cold weather leaves us in the SEUS. It is time to start pruning your blackberries. 

Here are links to some blackberry pruning videos.

NCSU Pruning blackberries video

University of Arkansas blackberry pruning video

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Winter caneberry checklist/chores


This checklist was originally developed for blackberry growers in North Carolina. 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: Link to SRSFC Caneberry IPM and Production Guides.


This list is intended as a general guide. However, it can be used to guide you to think about what types of activities occur at various times of the year. Check the items off as they get done. 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 floral differentiation is occurring in the flower buds (i.e. they are forming flowers)
  • Low chilling cultivars can break bud in January after adequate winter chilling.  See previous blog post for more information.

Developmental stages at this time of year as mentioned in the 2021 Southeast Regional Caneberries Integrated Management 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.
  • Pruning and training videos can be found at:
  • Make trellis repairs after plants have defoliated but before pruning and training.
  • If you have a Rotating Arm Trellis, lay the canes to the ground. If you are in a colder region, have row covers available for protection from cold temperatures.
  • Erect types
    • Prune out the spent floricanes
    • Cut lateral branches back to 12-18”
    • Tie or weave canes to lower and upper wires
    • Thin canes to 4-8 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 2022 Southeast Regional Caneberries 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 2022 Southeast Regional Caneberries 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 

Winter injury from cold

·      Injury from cold temperatures can occur to the canes and buds throughout the winter. Most often the damage occurs in the spring after the winter chilling hours have accumulated.

·      Review types of injury that can occur to the canes and buds. One site for cold injury information is the Team Rubus Blog.



  • Take soil tests to determine fertility needs for spring plantings. 
  • There are new raspberry and blackberry cultivars available each year. If you have not tried them or it is not known 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 2023 plantings and order now. Smaller quantities of plants can be ordered in early 2022 for spring planting.
  • Nursery lists can be found at:


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 hybrid this year. For more information check here their link. Here is a brief summary of the meeting.

This virtual conference February 21-24, 2022.

A special seven-session virtual short course, “Getting Started in Raspberries & Blackberries,” will be offered. It starts Jan 31. See link above.

North Carolina Commercial Blackberry and Raspberry Association will be holding a meeting on Feb 4, 2022.

Contact or


Please check with your local Extension service to learn of meetings in your state.


Monday, January 3, 2022

New Chilling Model Website

The NC State Climate Office has updated their chilling model page. Here is the link and I have shown an example for Hendersonville NC for Jan 3, 2022 below.

First you select a model (I prefer the Warmund and Krumme) Model, it takes into account when the temperatures get warm.

The Yazetti and Clark model is also popular.

Select Model(s):

There is also a handy tutorial if you want more informationn

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Blackberry Field Day 2021


Save the date for the 2021 North Carolina Blackberry and Raspberry Association (NCCBRA) annual meeting. 

UPDATE: This event is free to NCCBRA members, but will be $20 for Non-Association Members. Event fees will be collected the morning of the event. 

2021 NCCBRA  annual membership dues are $50 per farm. If you have not already renewed your membership, dues will be collected on the day of the event for any unpaid members. These monies are vital to the continued success of the association and its members. Click the following link to download the NCCBRA membership form

Due to the fee change, if you would like to be removed from the registration, please send an email to to indicate your preference to be removed. 

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Heat wave in PNW

The berry crop industry is experiencing some record heat in the Pacific Northwest. Here is a link to the industry supported newsletter with some updates.

 Small Fruit Update, week 27, June 30, 2021kv273ZajYIly-8p/view

 This is a free newsletter, you can subscribe here: 


Friday, April 23, 2021

Cold damage to blackberries 2021


There are reports of cold damage that occured over Easter weekend and now again this week (April 22-23).

Over the weekend I visited a farm in western NC and saw that only the king (earliest to open/largest) flowers were injured, and mostly flowers on the upper portion of the canopy. The damage occurred over the Easter weekend. However, the plants were much more advanced this week, so there has been additional damage. I will be headed out that way next week to assess the situation.

Here are some older blog posts to help you understand what to look for in the flowers and on the canes. damagesearch?q=cold+damage

Friday, March 26, 2021

Pest Management Strategic Plan for Blackberries

Von blackberry

In January 2020, thirty-one University Extension Specialists, IR-4 field research director and growers from the southern US met in Savannah, GA to develop a Pest Management Strategic Plan (PMSP) for blackberries. This PMSP is targeted for the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. These states are all members of the Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium (SRSFC). The development of this PMSP fits well into the mission of the SRSFC, which  is to develop collaborative efforts at various sites across the region between small fruit growers and grower organizations, industries and service organizations allied with and/or serving small fruit growers, agricultural extension programs and research stations working together to enhance the development of the small fruit industries in the region. The SRSFC university partners include Auburn University, University of Arkansas, University of Georgia, Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University, North Carolina State University, Clemson, University of Tennessee and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

The goal of this workshop was to develop a comprehensive list of pests (insect/mite, pathogen/nematode, weeds, and vertebrate/wildlife) and the known biological, chemical and cultural current control mechanisms for the pests. The attendees of the meeting developed lists of regulatory and research priorities in the following categories, cultural, insects/mites, weeds and diseases. The priorities are: 1) Regulatory: Expansion to include registration of the herbicide Halosulfuron-methyl (Sandia) label, 2) Research: fungicide resistance management for multiple diseases, 3) Research/Regulatory, Spotted Wing Drosophila management (additional modes of action, insecticide with shorter PHI, resistance management), 4) Research: cultural practiced to reduce labor and increase efficiency and 5) Research: bridge the gap of floricane and primocane fruiting seasons with new varieties or cultural practices. Grower input was essential in developing this PMSP and with their help and guidance, we feel this report represents the current challenges and needs of the southern blackberry industry.

The timelines developed for this PMSP took into consideration blackberry production in all of the states listed above. Collectively these states encompass a wide geographic range from the gulf coast to the mid Atlantic. Therefore production practices, crop phenology, pest occurrence and pest control will vary depending on a specific site and occur over an extended period of time.

 Crop Profile for NC:

PMSP for all states in the SRSFC: