Blackberry and Raspberry Seasonal Checklist Fall 2013

— Written By and last updated by

Blackberry and Raspberry Seasonal Checklist Fall 2013
Gina Fernandez, Small Fruit Specialist, North Carolina State University

The cool and wet summer in NC and other parts of the southern US during the summer may impact how you manage your crop this fall. In particular, see notes below in fertility management.

Plant growth and development
• Primocanes continue to grow but slow down.
• Flower buds start to form in leaf axils on summer-fruiting types.
• Carbohydrates and nutrients in canes begin to move into the roots.
• Primocane leaves senesce late fall.
• Primocane fruiting types begin to flower in late summer/early fall and fruit matures until frost in fall
• Primocane harvest continues until frost
• If harvesting, maintain SWD spray schedule
Pruning and trellising
• Spent floricanes should be removed as soon as possible
• 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).
• Start trellis repairs after plants have defoliated
Weed management
• 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
• Continue scouting for insects and diseases.
• Remove damaged canes as soon as possible to lessen the impact of the pest.
• Check the Southern Regional Bramble integrated Management Guide for recommendations.
• Also check out Hannah Burrack’s blog. She posts timely information on insects of interest.
• Growers in warmer areas (e.g. extreme southeastern NC) can plant in December. Preparations for winter planting should have already been made. If you have questions about winter planting please contact your local county extension agent
• In cooler areas, prepare list of ­cultivars for next spring’s new plantings. Find a commercial small fruit nursery list at­nurseries
Make sure you send in leaf tissue samples to determine if there are any nutrient deficiencies. According to Dr. Carl Crozier, NCSU soil scientist “nitrogen management could be even more unpredictable than usual. Depending on timing of N, the nature of the soil profile, and the crop management (including mulching) system; excess water may have enhanced deeper N movement and/or N runoff or denitrification losses, and an elevated water table may have restricted crop rooting.”
• Take soil tests to determine fertility needs for spring plantings.
• Non-nitrogenous fertilizers are best applied in the fall to established plantings.
• If soil is bare, plant an overwintering cover crop (e.g. rye) to build organic matter and slow soil erosion.
Marketing and miscellaneous
• Order containers for next season
• Make contacts for selling fruit next season

Make plans to attend Grower meetings! Blackberries and raspberries are part or all of these programs.
-NARBA late January, 2014 in Hershey, PA, with the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Conference.
-Southeast Regional Conference and Tradeshow, with sessions on blackberry
January 2014, at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center

Key Resources:
Southern Region Integrated Bramble Management Guide and the Southeast Regional Bramble Production Guide:

Blackberry and Raspberry Grower Information Portal:

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

Written By

Photo of Dr. Gina FernandezDr. Gina FernandezExtension Specialist (Small Fruits) (919) 513-7416 gina_fernandez@ncsu.eduHorticultural Science - NC State University
Updated on Feb 25, 2014
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