Blackberries vs raspberries and viruses

Perhaps this will only be anecdotal, but between raspberries and blackberries (and blackberry-based hybrids), which is more virus-prone?

I have been growing mostly black and purple raspberries. The blacks seem to die out in about 3-4 years, max (Bristol lasts longer than Jewel in this regard), and my local extension office says it looks like virus issues. The growth just gets weaker and weaker, and while the crowns don’t technically die completely, the primocane growth becomes very weak and never matures to bear fruit the following season. I was sticking to black raspberries (and some purples) to ripen early enough to avoid SWD, but now the viral issues seem to take center stage. Purples do seem to last longer than blacks.

When it comes to blackberry, loganberry, etc, are they less prone to viral infection?

2 Likes

I have logans planted on the east side of my home… morning sun only… and they are very healthy since 2018 best i remember.

No sign of disease.

I did have some cane borer issus one year but only one so far.

They are cold hardy (trellised canes) over winter… to somewhere around 5F ?

We got 3F last winter b4 Christmas… and it killed all of my trellised logan canes. A few years back we had 8F and they had no issues none died or even had tip dieback.

My main bed of logans are not located close to any other cane fruit… not within 50 yards.

I am having issues with long life/vigor of black and yellow raspberries too. They just go down hill after 2-3 years.

My reds are most vigorous and continue to multiply and they produce more fruit too.

I am experimenting with my blacks this year… by reducing the number of canes allowed per crown. I have been allowing them to produce and keep 4-5 canes per crown… and they do that with ease… but then they do not fruit well, few berries. Small berries…

This year… 2-3 canes per crown max. If the dont fruit better next year… may just replace them with what works easily… reds.

Joan J is new for me this year and purple royalty and both are looking very vigorous, healthy.

2 Likes

Good info. Losing the canes at 3 degrees sucks (I had the exact same minimum temp on Christmas Eve) - however - that cold came on FAST and early, so maybe that was part of the issue. However, losing a crop one year in 4 (which is about how often I get below 5F) isn’t the worst thing ever since the crowns survive.

2 Likes

Virus problems are very common on both Raspberries and Blackberries in my area. From what I have seen, Raspberries are impacted more than Blackberries here. I expect some varieties are more impacted by virus problems than others. I know some Blackberry varieties are very susceptible to Orange Rust but other varieties on an adjacent row are not.

Virus testing and tissue culture help reduce the number of infections present on new plants and give them a good start.

I heard a plant breeder suggest that even when starting with clean plants it’s normal for a number of virus problems to arrive over time, especially in a hot/humid climate like mine.

Here is a list of the types that are tested for in a program to help insure clean plants in my state.

https://mpru.wordpress.ncsu.edu/crop/rubus/

Testing for common virus problems is part of the standard testing at the plant lab when the leaf samples indicate a virus problem but some require more expensive testing in order to identify.

3 Likes

In addition to viruses, some Rubus are also susceptible to systemic fungi. “Rally” pesticide is very effective against them in my location.

1 Like

cane borers hit just about every primocane of all of my cane fruits this year. the worst ive ever seen them and they showed up while the plants were in flower so i couldnt spray. spent 2 weeks cutting them off below the strikes. they even got some laterals.

2 Likes

I’ve about given up on raspberries. I’ve tried nearly every variety available for my zone, but they have mostly been a flop. I grew them at our previous home with great success. I assume the issue is virus.

1 Like

To keep black raspberries going long-term, just tip-root some every 2 or 3 years.

1 Like

i got some root rot in poor draining spots but besides the borers, no diseases here.

1 Like

Thanks for mentioning the fungi problem. We found Rally very effective too. We normally spray Lime Sulfur just before the plants leaf out which seems to reduce disease problems too. I hate the smell and it sticks around for a long time

1 Like