Blackberry & Raspberry Seasonal Checklist (Summer 2012)

Plant growth and development

  • Fruit development
  • Rapid primocane growth
  • Floricanes senesce after fruiting

Pruning and trellising

Floricane-fruiting raspberries

  • May need to adjust primocane numbers if canes are too thick (i.e. remove less vigorous primocanes at their base).
  • Train primocanes to the trellis centers.
  • Pinch black raspberry primocanes at 2 to 3 ft. to promote lateral growth.

Primocane-fruiting raspberries

  • Train primocanes within a trellis to hold canes erect.

Erect blackberry types

  • In warm climates with a long growing season, tip the new primocanes when they are about 6 to 12 inches below the top wire of the trellis to encourage lateral branching. Continue tipping at monthly intervals to maintain desired branching and height of canopy (laterals should reach top wire).
  • In colder climates, tip primocanes once when they are about 2 to 3 ft. tall to encourage lateral branching.
  • Prune out spent floricanes after they have produced fruit, do not thin out primocanes until mid-to late winter.
  • Train primocanes to trellis to minimize interference with harvest. Shift trellises or V trellises make this relatively easy.

Trailing blackberry types

  • Train new primocanes to middle of trellis, or on the ground in a weed-free area or temporarily to trellis outside of fruiting area (depends on trellis type).
  • Cut back side shoots to 18 inches (after dormancy in cold climates).
  • Remove spent floricanes after harvest.

Primocane-fruiting blackberries

  • Canes should be tipped at 3 to 4 ft. to increase branching and fruiting potential.

Weed management

  • Mow along side of row to maintain the width of the bed to 3 to 4 ft.
  • Weed growth can be very vigorous at the same time as the bramble crop peaks.
  • Weed control is best done earlier in the season before harvest commences.
  • Mow middles regularly to allow pickers to move easily through rows.


Insect and disease scouting

Insects

  • Spotted wing dropsophila (See Dr. Hannah Burrack’s blog – http://ncsmallfruitsipm.blogspot.com/ – for up-to-date information.)
  • Raspberry crown borer (canes girdled and wilt)
  • Psyllid
  • Two-spotted spider mite
  • June beetle
  • Japanese beetles
  • Stink bugs
  • Fire ants

Diseases

  • Botrytis
  • Rusts
  • Orange felt (orange cane blotch) (blackberry)
  • Sooty blotch (blackberry)
  • Orange rust
  • Powdery mildew
  • Double blossom (blackberry)
  • Cane blight (blackberry)
  • Anthracnose

Check the Southeast Regional Brambles Integrated Management Guide for recommendations.

Water management

  • Bramble plants need about 1 to 2 inches of water each week; this amount is especially critical during harvest.
  • For blackberries (not raspberries) in warmer climates only, consider installing an overhead system for evaporative cooling to reduce sunscald. Turn on once or twice a day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for short periods of time (approx. 15 minutes).
  • Give plants a deep irrigation after harvest.

Nutrient management

  • Take leaf samples after harvest and send to a clinic for nutrient analysis, apply nutrients if recommended.

Marketing and Miscellaneous

  • The busiest time of the year for a blackberry or raspberry grower is the harvest season. Each plant needs to be harvested every 2 to 3 days. For larger plantings, that means fruit is picked from some part of the field every day of the week.
  • Pick blackberries when shiny black for shipping. Those that are dull black are fully ripe and suitable for PYO only.
  • Red raspberries can be picked pink and will turn red after harvest. They will have a longer shelf life (see http://teamrubus.blogspot.com/2011/09/can-raspberries-be-picked-pink.htm).
  • Pick directly into clamshells with absorbent pads, or for PYO use clean cardboard flats, take-home baskets or sanitized reusable containers.
  • Keep harvested fruit in shade and move into coolers as soon as possible to lengthen the shelf life of the fruit.
  • Use forced-air precoolers for best removal of field heat.
  • Store at 32 to 34 F and 95 percent relative humidity.
  • Freeze excess fruit for jam, juice or wine.
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Written By

Dr. Gina FernandezExtension Specialist (Small Fruits) (919) 513-7416 Horticultural Science - NC State University

Posted on Jun 25, 2012

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