Fruit and Nut Crops
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Blackberry and Raspberry
Blackberry is a deciduous crop that grows best in temperate climates. Common cultivated blackberries are all native to North America, and wild blackberries are often harvested in Florida. Today many new blackberry cultivars are available from breeding programs, several of which are suitable for north Florida growing conditions. Blackberry bushes may be erect or trailing with gradations in between. Although most blackberries produce shoots with thorns, many cultivars are thorn-less. Blackberries are available May to September.
Raspberries do not typically grow well in Florida. 'Dorman Red' is the only raspberry cultivar recommended for trial in Florida when grown as a perennial crop; however, berry flavor is poor to fair. 'Heritage' raspberry has been grown as an annual crop during the winter in southern parts of the state after it has received its chilling requirement during cold storage.
Blackberries are generally fertilized using 10-10-10 with micronutrients. However, blackberries do not require much fertilizer in most Florida soils. Blackberry roots are located close to the surface and excess fertilizer can burn leaves or even kill plants. Fertilizer amounts and application times vary based on the age of the plant:
Year 1: During their establishment year, newly planted blackberries can be fertilized in late May or June using no more than 1/4 pound (1/2 cup) of 10-10-10 with micronutrients per plant or up to 5 pounds (10 cups) per 100 feet of row.
Year 2+: Established blackberries can be fertilized in February and July using 1/4 to 1/2 pound (1/2 to 1 cup) of 10-10-10 with micronutrients per plant or about 10 pounds (20 cups) per 100 foot row.
Blackberries are pruned in spring and fall.
Clip bare-root plants to about 6 inches at time of planting. During the first year, shoots elongate but do not produce berries. These are known as primocanes. For erect or semi-erect blackberries, it is advisable to cut the tip off primocanes after they reach a height of 30–36 inches to promote lateral branching. However, with trailing blackberries, canes are generally 40–48 inches when they are tipped. Tipping should be performed as early as possible in the growing season. Cutting the tip off primocanes promotes lateral branching, enhances flower bud initiation and increases yield considerably. Fruit will be borne on these canes the following year.
Blackberries produce fruit on one year old canes, known as floricanes, which were primocanes the previous year. After fruiting, floricanes dry up and die. They should be pruned out and removed at the ground or crown level as soon as they die.
County Fact Sheets & Articles
- Chill Hours - UF/IFAS Gardening Solutions
- Fruits - UF/IFAS Gardening Solutions
- Fruits & Nuts - Small Farms & Alternative Enterprises
- Fruit Scapes