Berries Production Guide

Raspberries
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Raspberry Management Schedule

This section was updated - 23 April 2012

The following is a general guide to raspberry management based upon plant and pest development. The suggested timing will vary according to raspberry variety, weather and location. The actions are for established plantings except where otherwise noted.

Timing Type of Action Action
JANUARY
Plants dormant
Plant Care
  • Continue pruning.
  • Tie canes to wires.
Other
  • Finalize marketing plans with processor(s) and/or for fresh sales.
  • Order fresh market containers, if required. Order bees, if not done last fall.
  • Ensure sprayers are tuned-up and calibrated.
  • New plantings. Confirm order for planting stock with plant supplier.
  • Arrange for import permits.
Food Safety
  • Ensure a food safety plan is in place including a record keeping system.
FEBRUARY
Plant tops dormant but roots starting to become active
Plant Care
  • If canes are not being looped, start topping canes in late February.
  • After the pruning has been completed chop up the prunings by flail mowing.
  • New plantings. Apply and thoroughly incorporate manure and lime prior to planting, if required.
  • Start to set out new plantings as soon as the weather permits.
Soil Care
  • Plan fertilizer program for the season. Have soil tested for nutrients if not done earlier. Order fertilizer. If manure is to be used, begin application after mid-February as soil and weather conditions permit
Disease Control
  • Note low spots where water collects. This can cause root rot. Plan for fall drainage improvements.
Weed Control
  • In late February or early March apply residual herbicide in a band to the row area for seasonal seedling weed control.
MARCH
Buds starting to swell and open
Plant Care
  • Finish all pruning, tying, topping or looping canes before the buds begin to break.
  • Order fertilizers, according to soil test, if not already done. Chop prunings with a flail mower if not already done.
  • New plantings. Continue to plant new fields.
Disease Control
  • Examine canes for spur blight and cane blight.
  • Where field has a history of spur blight, apply a pre-bloom fungicide.
  • Apply a delayed dormant (green-tip bud stage) spray for cane diseases and yellow rust control, if required. Apply when canes are dry.
  • For bacterial blight control, apply a spray at the bud bursting stage if needed.
Insect Control
  • In early March, drench the crowns with an insecticide for crown borers, if 5% of the pruned-out canes were hollow at the soil level. After warm nights, start checking the buds and new laterals for clay coloured weevil feeding injury (weevil injury is often mistaken for winter injury). Apply controls only if required and only treat the lower portion of the canes.
Weed Control
  • In early March, before weed seeds start to germinate, apply residual herbicide for seasonal seedling weed control, if not done earlier.
Soil Care
  • If manure is to be used, finish applying before the buds begin to leaf-out. Prevent manure from contacting canes. Cultivate to work in annual cover crop.
APRIL
New canes and fruiting laterals growing quickly
Plant Care
  • In strong plantings remove the first flush of new canes by "shoot burning". Do not apply later than May 1.
  • Apply appropriate herbicide for weather conditions. In weaker fields remove (by hoeing or selective spraying) only the extra new shoots that develop outside the hill area. Apply the first application of commercial fertilizer in early April.
  • New planting. Fertilize, especially if manure was not applied prior to planting.
Disease Control
  • If the weather is cool and wet, watch for bacterial blight and apply copper sprays if required. Examine oldest leaves on the fruiting laterals for yellow rust, especially if the weather is rainy. Apply a fungicide, if needed.
  • Examine plant roots where plant growth is poor for signs of root rot. Confirm root rot with diagnostic laboratory. Apply Aliette as recommended. Plan to make raised beds after harvest.
Insect Control
  • Watch for first generation leafrollers in new foliage, especially if the weather is warm. If needed, spray prior to bloom to avoid killing the bees. Watch for adult clay coloured weevil feeding damage to the fruiting laterals and leaves. Weevils are most active on warm nights.
  • If the new canes (30 to 60 cm high) suddenly fall over, examine the bottom of the canes for crown borer feeding injury.
Weed Control
  • Begin shallow cultivation to control weeds between the rows. If quackgrass is a problem, treat the grassy areas with herbicide when the grass has 3 to 5 leaves. Sprays used for "shoot burning" should burn the tops of any weeds growing in the rows. Control any weeds in weaker fields by hoeing or by treating using a shielded nozzle.
Soil Care
  • Cultivate cover crop into the soil, if not done earlier.
Food Safety
  • Test irrigation and spray water for E. coli and fecal coliforms. Order toilets, hand washing units and other sanitary supplies.
MAY
Plants fill out and flowering begins
Plant Care
  • If not shoot burning, continue to hoe out extra shoots between hills. As a general rule, do not spray to remove new canes in the crowns of the plants after May 1. If not using slow-release products, apply the second fertilizer application by mid-May. Apply foliar feed sprays, as required. Apply in slow drying conditions for best uptake. Irrigate as required.
  • Put honeybee colonies in field at start of flowering and after all insecticide spraying.
Disease Control
  • If spur blight lesions are present on floricanes, apply fungicides when new canes are 20 - 25 cm tall. Watch for the orange coloured spots of yellow rust on the leaves, especially if the weather has been cool and rainy. Apply fungicides if the rainy weather continues, as required.
  • Begin fruit rot control sprays once flowers start to open (10% bloom). Repeat weekly or as necessary during periods of wet weather. If the weather is cool and wet, continue to watch for bacterial blight (to mid-May). Apply copper sprays if required.
  • After a period of hot weather, plants suffering from root rot may start to show stress. If severe, they may collapse and die. Fruiting canes usually show signs first. No controls possible at this time. Watch primocane leaves for spur blight (wedge-shaped lesions).
  • If a new field is to be planted next spring, now is a good time to check the nematode levels in the soil to determine if soil fumigation is required. If fumigation is required, make every effort to control all weeds and have the soil deeply cultivated and ready for treatment in late August or September.
Insect & Mite Control
  • Spray to control fruitworm (raspberry beetle) when flower bud clusters separate but before bloom, to avoid killing the bees. Continue to watch for leafrollers, caterpillars, adult weevils, etc. that feed on the leaves, fruiting laterals and new cane growth. If necessary, apply controls before the flowers open to avoid harming the bees. Start monitoring for two-spotted mites and predatory mites on the lower leaves, in early May.
Other
  • New plantings. Install posts and wires before the new canes become too tall and get in the way.
JUNE
Bloom to harvest
Plant Care
  • Put honeybee colonies in fields at start of flowering, if not done earlier. Continue with foliar feeding, as required. Tuck in the new shoots behind the nurse wires in preparation for harvest. Control surplus new shoots outside the hills so they do not interfere with harvest. Irrigate as necessary. Start first harvest.
Disease Control
  • Apply control sprays for fruit rot, as required. In prolonged rainy periods, watch for Botrytis cane wilt and yellow rust. Apply controls as necessary. Watch for root rot (see May, above)
  • Nematodes, (see May, above). For new fields planned for next spring, contact a custom applicator and make an appointment for fall fumigation.
Insect & Mite Control
  • Monitor for spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) and apply protective sprays after fruit ripens. Carefully inspect the plantings for leafrollers, caterpillars and weevil feeding injury. If necessary, apply a pre-harvest control spray. Watch for high populations of aphids at the tips of new canes and on lower side of newer leaves. Continue monitoring through June for two-spotted mites and predatory mites. Apply control sprays before harvest, and at the best stage of mite development (e.g. eggs and young larvae for Apollo) if needed. When applying sprays, observe the minimum number of days required between spraying and harvesting.
Food Safety
  • Place portable toilet and hand washing units. Ensure workers are trained in good hygiene and harvesting practices.
LATE JUNE TO EARLY AUGUST
Harvest
Plant Care
  • Harvest and market fruit.
  • Irrigate as necessary.
  • Collect leaf samples for nutrient analysis from mid to late harvest.
Disease Control
  • Apply fruit rot sprays, as necessary. If rain occurs during harvest, apply a fungicide immediately after a harvest to prevent the development of "spot mould" on the fruit.
  • Note: Fruit rot control sprays also help prevent spur blight. In rainy seasons, watch for Botrytis cane wilt on the new canes. It is usually only a problem where the cane growth is very dense and the air circulation is poor. It is not usually a problem on Meeker. Note areas with symptoms of root rot- they are most evident when the plants are under stress from hot, dry weather (see May, above). Inspect primocanes for spur blight.
Insect & Mite Control
  • Continue to apply protective sprays for spotted wing Drosophila as required. Apply sprays to control leafrollers and cutworms if they become contaminants in machine harvested fields. Observe the minimum number of days to harvest. Continue to check fields for mites and predators levels, especially if the weather is hot.
AUGUST
After harvest
Plant Care
  • Continue irrigation after harvest to maintain growth in new canes. Raise the side nurse wires to keep the new canes growing straight and reduce the severity of spur blight and other cane diseases.
  • Apply foliar boron sprays, if plants are deficient. Take post-harvest nitrate tests after crop harvest, from August 15 to September 15. Sampling for other nutrients can be done in the fall or spring.
Disease Control
  • If Botrytis cane wilt was a problem during harvest, remove old fruiting canes to improve air circulation and stop the spread of the disease. If root rot was a problem, the following cultural steps will help reduce the problem for next winter: subsoil to break up layers of compacted soil caused by picking and spraying operations, cultivate up a raised bed in the row area (do this after the hot summer weather), and plant a cover crop.
  • Keep the new canes tucked in the wire for good air circulation to minimize spur blight and other cane diseases. Apply Vydate spray to the base of the plants for nematode control, if tests show it necessary. Irrigate prior to treatment.
  • New plantings. Control all weeds and work soil deeply in fields to be planted next spring. Irrigate if the soil is too dry for fumigation.
Insect & Mite Control
  • Continue to watch for outbreaks of mites. Check for predators and apply controls only if needed.
Soil Care
  • Cultivate between the rows for weed control. Subsoil to loosen the soil that was compacted during harvest. If a cover crop is to be planted, rotovate to prepare a seed bed. Plant cover crop as early as possible for best results. If soil is dry, irrigate to stimulate cover crop germination and early growth.
Other
  • Clean up trash left in the fields by the pickers. Return any empty flats to the processor. Repair any broken posts. If stockpiling manure, ensure the piles are securely covered with a waterproof cover for winter. Never apply manure after harvest.
SEPTEMBER
After harvest
Plant Care
  • Continue to irrigate if the weather is hot and dry.
  • Collect soil samples for nutrient analysis.
  Disease Control
  • Continue cultural controls for root rot (see August, above), if necessary.
  • Nematodes. Apply Vydate in established field, if not done earlier and tests show it necessary. If dry, irrigate prior to treatment.
  • Root Rot. Apply Aliette if required while leaves are still green and plants are actively growing.
  • New plantings. Fumigate land for spring planting.
  Insect & Mite Control
  • Continue to monitor for mites and predators. Apply controls only if needed and before resistant, overwintering stage appears in mid-September.
  Weed Control
  • If no cover crop has been planted, cultivate as needed for weed control.
  Soil Care
  • Plant fall cereal cover crops (to mid-Sept.), if not done earlier. If not done earlier, take post-harvest nitrate tests before September 15. Subsoil to loosen compacted soil and to improve winter drainage. Subsoil when soil is dry and before the heavy fall rains begin.
  • New plantings. Install drainage if required.
  Other
  • Mow any high grass and weeds around the raspberry planting to discourage mice. If stockpiling manure, ensure that piles are securely covered for winter. Never apply manure after harvest.
  • New plantings. Order plants for spring planting, if not already done.
OCTOBER
Pre-dormancy
Plant Care
  • Start pruning out old fruiting canes (floricanes). Wait to remove weak or excess 1-year-old canes until most of leaves have dropped. Collect soil samples for nutrient analysis (except nitrogen), if not done earlier.
Disease Control
  • Apply Ridomil for root rot control before soil freezes (late Oct to Nov. 30), if required. Spray just prior to a rain as water is needed to move the chemical to the root zone. Do not apply in bright sunshine as this breaks down the chemical. Where control of bacterial blight is needed, apply copper sprays or Bordeaux Mixture.
Insect Control
  • Spray for crown borer (mid-Oct. to early spring), if required.
Weed Control
  • Apply fall and early winter residual herbicides, if required. If blackberries and other shrubby plants are a problem around the raspberry field, treat with a glyphosate material (e.g. Roundup) before they lose their leaves. Do not allow drift onto raspberries or other valuable plants. Continue to control high weeds and grass around the fields to discourage mice.
Soil Care
  • Continue to subsoil fields, if not done earlier. Subsoiling will not hurt cover crops.
Other
  • Cover manure piles for winter, if not done earlier. Clean, service and winterize equipment.
NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER
Plants becoming dormant
Plant Care
  • Continue pruning out the old canes (do not top yet). Start to prune out all weak or unwanted new canes when they have lost most of their leaves (Dec). Loosen wires for winter so that they can contract with the winter cold without loosening the posts.
Weed Control
  • Apply early winter residual herbicides, if not applied earlier.
Other
  • Order bees for next season.

 

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