[NAFEX] Primocane blackberries and heat

Richard Moyer ramoyer at gmail.com
Wed Apr 5 17:54:06 EDT 2006

> Philip wrote:
> Here in North Florida, I have the opposite issue with
> Prime-Jim and Prime-Jan: I can ripen a good floricane
> crop, but the primocane crop gets cooked by the summer
> heat and I wind up with a handful of lame little
> berries. If you don't mind getting nothing out of the
> floricanes, though, they seem to do well for me. Both
> appear to be quite low chill (Prime-Jim a little lower
> than Prime-Jan).  They look to be significantly lower
> chill than Arapaho and Tupi, probably somewhere in the
> vicinity of 200 hours.

John Clark observed similar heat damage to you, even in Arkansas.
Fortunately, he (and other fruit breeders) often share their advanced
selections with breeders around the US, for better data on adaptability.
Chad Finn, USDA-ARS small fruits breeder in Corvallis, got John on a plane
to come out to Oregon to see how well the Primocane blackberries did in the
relatively cool Willamette Valley, compared to Ark heat and your experience
in Florida.  But John has a lot of addtional primocane breeding going on to
select for heat resistance and other traits no doubt.  John knew that Prime
Jim and Jan had some drawbacks, but was encouraged to release these two
anyway.  He says to keep an eye out for the others that are coming; so don't
assume all primocane blackberries will perform as the two released to date.
John also noted that they respond well to cutting the floricanes off until
you want them to fruit.  So Philip, it's possible that you could delay your
fruiting until October or Nov temps, trimming the floricanes back until you
want them to grow and bloom.  With the length of your hot season, would you
need to keep a mother stalk (as in managing Asparagus) to keep the crown
alive while cutting all the other shoots off until mid-season?  Lots still
TBD, these primocane blackberries.

Richard Moyer
P.S.  Those canes that do survive the winter have very early fruit the next
spring, matching your low-chill observation.
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