[NAFEX] Primocane Fruiting Black Raspberry

Pete Tallman pete_tallman at hotmail.com
Wed Jun 17 11:16:36 EDT 2009


I receive a question like this every year or two. I thought the answer might be of general interest for posting here.  
 
Question from Matt Sloat, June 16:
I recently noticed that one primocane, the rest are floricane fruiting, of my Jewel black raspberry has flowers on it.  Would it be worthwhile to collect seeds and try to propagate or maybe tip layer to propagate.
 
My answer: 
Jim Ballington, a retired breeder at North Carolina State University, said a long time ago that Jewel is known to occasionally produce a fruiting primocane in some of the southern states. However, Jewel is a long way from being reliably primocane fruiting. I would want primocane fruiting on every healthy primocane in every year. (I had enough heat here in 2007 to produce one fruiting primocane on Jewel, and in 2008 I had one on a MacBlack.) 
 
It could also be that what you are seeing is a "crown lateral", which is a fruiting lateral that is originating from the crown area instead of from a floricane, or else very low down on a floricane.  (Terminology is from Harvey. K. Hall, a breeder in New Zealand.) A crown lateral can occur on any black raspberry variety if the floricane is mowed down or injured in the spring. The differentiation between crown lateral and fruiting primocane can be difficult with 100% certainty until the following winter, when a crown lateral dies and a primocane survives to the next spring as a floricane. I've been fooled on more than one occasion. I suppose there could be an easy way to tell in the summer when it appears, but I haven't found one yet.  
 
Unless you are in the really deep south with a much earlier season than what I'm used to, then, based on the flowering schedule in mid June, I'm thinking that what you are seeing may well be a crown lateral. The flowering schedule for crown lateral is several weeks later than a floricane and several weeks earlier than a primocane.  My own primocane flower buds are not expected to start forming for a few more weeks. 
 
My advice is just enjoy the berries when they come in. 
 
Pete Tallman
5690 Steeplechase Dr.
Longmont, CO    zone 5 or so
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