Blackberry and Raspberry Seasonal Checklist from NCSU

The following information comes from Dr. Gina Fernandez at NCSU and the Small Fruit Consortium.  Follow the links for more information.  I receive this in my email from the Team Rubus blog out of NCSU.  You can sign up for it and have new posts sent directly to your email too!


Winter 2012-13
Gina Fernandez, Small Fruit Specialist
North Carolina State University

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:

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
√ 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.

√ To learn more about the spotted wing drosoplila and how it may impact your fruit in 2013, check out Hannah Burrack blog, she has lots of links in addition to her blog posts
√ 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 or treat with glyphosphate in the autumn
√ Apply liquid lime sulphur or Bordeaux for disease control before new buds are 1/8”

√ Take soil tests to determine fertility needs for spring plantings.
√ There are some new raspberry and blackberry cultivars available in 2013. 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 2014 plantings and order now. Smaller quantities of plants can be order in early 2013 for spring 2013 planting
√ A commercial small fruit nursery list 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:
o The 2013 North American Raspberry & Blackberry Conference Meeting
√ January 27-30, 2013 in Portland OR.
o 2013 SE Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference
√ Jan 10-13, Savannah GA
o The North Carolina Commercial Blackberry and Raspberry Growers Association
√ Feb 19, 2013.  Shelby NC. For more information contact or Josh Beam <>