Raspberries

Raspberries are a very popular crop in Ohio and beyond.  There are about 400 acres of raspberries in Ohio.  The largest raspberry planting in Ohio is around 40 acres, the second largest has about 27 acres, while many others are much smaller and are less than 5 acres in size.  One neat piece of nugget is that black raspberries are native of Ohio.  Black raspberries have shown numerous health benefits based on the research done at The Ohio State University Medical Center and The College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.  Growing raspberries can be a good way for growers to make money and helps keep Ohioans at the same time!        

Raspberry Cultivar Selection

There are many cultivars of raspberries to select from.  Here are some suggested raspberry cultivars for Ohio growers.  Growers are still encouraged to do their own trial before committing to a large planting since soil and weather conditions can still be quite different from one part to next, even in Ohio.

Summer Fruiting Red Raspberries:

Boyne (Chief x Indian Summer - Released from Manitoba, Canada, 1960): Very hardy, productive, and spiny plants are of medium height and sucker heavily.  They are susceptible to Anthracnose and Verticillium wilt, but tolerant of Phytophthora root rot, resistant to yellow rust, and tolerant to crown gall.  Soft, dark fruit has good flavor and is small- to medium-sized. Yields are very high. Do not machine harvest.  Berries freeze and process well and are recommended for pick-your-own.  Early midseason

Encore (NY7 = Canby x Cherokee - Released from Geneva, N.Y., 1998): Plants are less susceptible to Phytophthora root rot than Titan.  Firm fruit is attractive and large.  Late season.  May not have a second fall harvest.  Good winter hardiness, very good root suckering and vigor.  May not be winter hardy where winter temperatures fluctuate.

Killarney - (Chief x Indian Summer—Released from Manitoba, Canada, 1961)—Hardy plants are short to medium height, spiny, and produce many suckers.  Susceptible to mildew and Anthracnose, but may be Phytophthora tolerant.  Bright red fruit is medium to large and firm with acceptable quality and good flavor.  May be crumbly.  Do not machine harvest. Berries may soften in warm weather, but are good for freezing.  Early midseason (earlier than Titan).

Latham (King x Louden—Released from Minnesota, 1920):  Very hardy, vigorous plants are nearly thornless with a tolerance to Phytophthora and low susceptibility to viruses. Round fruit is small to medium in size and crumbly with fair flavor.  This reliable producer is recommended for freezing or fresh use. Mid to late-season extended harvest.

Nova (Southland x Boyne—Released from Nova Scotia, 1980)—Vigorous, hardy, upright plants are medium height and nearly thornless with long, fruiting laterals.   Apparently resistant to most cane diseases and late yellow rust but susceptible to Phytophthora, leaf curl virus, and fireblight.  Some susceptibility to powdery mildew, spur blight, and Anthracnose.  Bright red fruit is medium-sized, firm, and somewhat acidic-tasting. Long shelf life.  Mid-season.

OCTAVIA England. 2002. (Glen Ample X EM 5928/114). This is a new very late season floricane producing variety from East Malling, UK.  It is reported to be very productive with excellent fruit quality. Performance in Ohio and other states is not known. Winter hardiness may be a concern. May have tolerance to gray mold, but susceptible to Phytophthora root rot.

Prelude (NY 1009 = NY817 x Hilton—Released from Geneva, N.Y., 1998):  Hardy, vigorous plants are productive and remain so for six to eight years.  Fruit is slightly larger than Heritage with a mild flavor. Yields are similar to Canby and Killarney.  Early season.  Second harvest in late August is slightly less in yield than Heritage.

Reveille ((Indian Summer x Sunrise) x September— Released from Maryland, 1966): Plants are relatively hardy (some winter injury), vigorous, and sucker easily.  Large, soft fruit is cohesive with good flavor.  Good fresh and processed.

Titan (NY883 = Hilton x (Newburgh x September)—Released from Geneva, N.Y., 1986):  Very smooth canes are slow spreading (suckers emerge mostly from the crown) and susceptible to crown gall and Phytophthora.  Resistant to raspberry aphid.  Plants are vigorous and fairly hardy, but support is required due to high yields.  Avoid heavy soils. Extremely large fruit has a mild flavor and a dull red color. May be difficult to pick unless fully ripe.  Yields are variable.  Recommended for fresh and processed use. Do not machine harvest.  Early to midseason.

Tulamagic (Switzerland, Autumn Bliss X Tulameen). This is a very new mid-season floricane fruiting type from Europe that is reported to have firm, medium to large fruit with a light red color.  Plants are vigorous and may tolerate Phytophthora root rot.  May produce some primocane fruit in tunnels.   

Tulameen (Nootka x Glen Prosen—Released from Vancouver, Canada, 1991): Upright canes are vigorous with spines at basal end and an open growth habit.  Resistant to crown gall and some resistance to raspberry mosaic virus, vector aphid, and raspberry bushy dwarf virus pollen transmission. Large, quality fruit is firm, attractive, and glossy with a good shelf life and thick flesh. Hardiness may not be suitable for the Northeast.  Late, extended season.  Out yields but later ripening than Chilliwack. Can overlap Autumn Bliss season.  Good for processing and machine harvest.

Fall Red Raspberries:

Autumn Bliss (Complex mix of Malling Landmark, Malling Promise, Lloyd George, Pyneʼs Royal,Burnetholm, Norfolk Giant, Rubus strigosus, Rubus arcticus, and Rubus occidentalis—Released from East Malling, England, 1984): Productive, erect plants.  Susceptible to raspberry bushy dwarf virus but resistant to raspberry mosaic virus. Large fruit is darker red with mild flavor and a conical shape. Somewhat soft and crumbly but easy to pick. Good yields over a 50-day season. Early season, two weeks earlier than Heritage; much of the crop is produced within the first two weeks of harvest.  Autumn Britten—(Background similar to Autumn Bliss—Released from England, 1995—Patent held by Ontario Berry Growers Association)—Plants have some spines.  Susceptible to bushy dwarf virus but resistant to raspberry mosaic virus. Dark red fruit is large and firm. Good for shipping. Yields are average to high. Early season; after

Autumn Bliss. Tested in Ontario, British Columbia, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Caroline (Geo-1 (Autumn Bliss x Glen Moy) x Heritage - Release planned from University of Maryland, 1999, as known as JCRF1):  Good flavor, size, and shelf life. High yields over a long season.  Early season; one week before Heritage.

Crimson Giant (New York 2012 - Titan X NY950):  This variety was introduced for very late fall production (appears to mature about 2 weeks later than Heritage).  We do not have any experience with it in Ohio.  This cultivar may be too late for open field production in Central and northern Ohio.  Fruit have a mild flavor, are blunt conical in shape, very large, and do not hold their shape well.  Canes are very vigorous, thorny and stout. In pot culture in a high tunnel in southern Michigan, berries have been very large, but flavor ratings were low. Fruit are also susceptible to Botrytis gray mold.  For trial only.

Crimson Night (New York 2012):  This variety was released to provide a unique deep red fruit with intense flavor.  Although it is similar in color to purple raspberries, black raspberry is not in its background.vvIt is reported to be very productive in high tunnels, and is suggested for farm marketers and homeowners.  Harvest time is similar to Heritage.  We have not grown this cultivar in Ohio.  For trial only.

Heritage ((Milton x Cuthbert) x Durham—Released from Geneva, N.Y., 1969): Vigorous plants have many suckers and sturdy, erect, very thorny canes that do not need support. Resistant to powdery mildew and pest problems and shows tolerance to raspberry bushy dwarf virus and raspberry mosaic virus.  Firm fruit is medium-sized with good flavor and color and excellent quality. High yields.  Good for freezing. Is the primary fall-fruiting cultivar in the Midwest; has set the standard for everbearers.  Machine harvest. Late season; starts approximately August 15 in central Ohio and lasts until frost.

Himbo Top (Switzerland): Himbo Top is a mid-season type (one week before Heritage). Fruit are medium to large, easy to pick, light red and do not darken after harvest.  Flavor is pleasant but mild, but berries are quite soft.  Himbo Top has been grown in high tunnels in several Midwestern locations and produced high yields.  Canes are very tall with long fruiting laterals.  Himbo Top is resistant to Phytophthora root rot, but appears to be relatively susceptible to Botrytis gray mold.  This cultivar has done well for us in Piketon, Ohio.

Jaclyn (Maryland/New Jersey, 2001, numbered selection X Caroline):  This is an early mid-season variety (1-2 weeks earlier than Heritage).  Fruit are large and firm with an attractive, long conical shape and a dark red color that tends to darken further in storage.  Berries are firmly attached to the receptical and tend to be somewhat difficult to pick.  Flavor is excellent.  Yields were only moderate in pot culture under a high tunnel in southwest Michigan.  Berries were rated high for flavor, very firm and uniform in shape, but the dark color is a limitation.  Plants have average vigor and appear susceptible to yellow rust.  Traces of late leaf rust were found on foliage in the high tunnel pot culture trial but did not affect the fruit.  For trial only in Ohio. 

Joan J (England 2002, Joan Squire x Terri-Louise). Joan J is an early season variety (about 2 weeks before Heritage) that produces large, firm berries with a conical shape and darker red color.  Flavor is very good.  Plants are vigorous and canes are thornless. Joan J has potential as an early season fruiter for Michigan.  The biggest limitation is the dark red fruit color which seems to dark further after picking. Yields and berry size in high tunnels have been very good.  Our preliminary experience with this cultivar in high tunnel and open field in Piketon, Ohio has been very positive.  

Polana (Heritage x Zena Herbstunte - Released from Poland, Research Institute of Pomology, 1991):  Fruit are medium-sized, shiny, and ripen before Heritage.  More productive than Heritage.  Fruit borne on laterals.  Low to medium susceptibility to diseases and pests.

Fall Yellow (Primocane Bearing):

Anne (JEFB1 = Amity x Glen Garry—Released from Cooperative Raspberry Program, 1998):  Primocane plants with medium vigor and low suckering. Golden large fruit is sweet (13–14% soluble solids), susceptible to Botrytis, and attractive to birds.  Yields are less than other fall red raspberries.  Early season; ripens five days before Heritage.

Yellow RaspberryDouble Gold (New York 2012:   This new variety was just released primarily for its unusual golden champagne-colored berries.  Berries are reported to be conical in shape and somewhat delicate.  Double Gold is suggested for farm marketers and homeowners looking for a unique color. Harvest starts about 10 days after Heritage.  For trial only.

Fallgold (Taylor x R. pungens oldhami {a wild species from Korea}, Released from New Hampshire, 1967):  Productive, hardy plants are vigorous and produce many suckers. The soft, flavorful fruit is yellow with a pink blush and medium-sized. Good for fresh eating but not freezing or processing. Fruit is susceptible to Botrytis.  There is currently limited commercial use for this cultivar, but it could become a “gourmet” item on the fresh market.  Early season; 7–10 days before Heritage.

Goldie (Sport of Heritage—Discovered in Sonoma County, Calif., 1987): Plant production is similar to Heritage but prone to drupelet bleaching.  Yellow fruit is medium-sized and firm with good flavor.  Berries are darker than other yellow types and turn pink when ripe.  Season is the same as Heritage.

Black Raspberries:

Bristol (Watson Prolific x Honeysweet—Released from Geneva, N.Y., 1934): Upright, sturdy canes are hardy, vigorous, and productive, but susceptible to Anthracnose.  Large, firm fruit is glossy and attractive with excellent flavor. Good for eating, freezing, canning, or fresh market. High yields.  Early season; in central Ohio ripens between June 23 and July 4.

Jewel (N.Y. 29773 = Bristol x Dundee—Released from Geneva, N.Y., 1973):  Vigorous, erect plants are productive, winter hardy, and show some disease resistance.  Considered an improvement over Bristol due to slightly larger size and better resistance to disease.  May be hardier than other black varieties.  Firm fruit is glossy and flavorful. Recommended for commercial use in the lower Midwest.  Use fresh or processed.  Early season.  Concentrated ripening habit (two to three pickings).

Black RaspberryMac Black: Plants are hardy but may be difficult to establish. Medium to large berries. Late season.  Appears to be upright for mechanical harvest.  Some of Ohio growers have grown this cultivar for many years with good success. 

Niwot:  This a new primocane bearing black raspberry cultivar.  According to Nourse Farms, "Fall Bearing Raspberry Plants Introduced by Peter Tallman, a private breeder in Colorado, Niwot will produce berries in the fall, ripening in late August until frost. It will also produce a good floricane crop, ripening slightly earlier than Jewel, depending on location. Niwot is vigorous, highly productive, and has attractive, shiny fruit. The berry size is equal in size to Jewel, and the flavor is reported to have less intensity than Jewel. It is a vigorous variety, therefore requiring trellising and recommended spacing is 3-4 feet apart in the row. Niwot appears to have similar winter hardiness to Jewel.  Tipping or tip pruning, which forces primocane branching, will delay harvest, but prolong the harvesting period and increase yield.  The tipping process is done once the primocanes reach 3 feet. We highly recommend this exciting new primocane-fruiting black raspberry variety!"  This cultivar has been trialed by several growers in Ohio and they seem to have had some success with it.  It is recommended for trial.   

Ohio’s Treasure:  This is a new cultivar that was developed by Dale Stokes and Dr. Harry Schwartz.  It can be a good addition to our short list of black raspberry cultivars.  

Purple Raspberries:

Brandywine (NY 631 x Hilton—Released from Geneva, N.Y., 1976): Tall, upright, vigorous plants have very thorny canes and sucker only from the crown, so plant will not spread. Its plant habit is similar to that of a black but more vigorous.  Susceptible to Verticillium wilt, raspberry aphid, and crown gall.  Not good in heavy soils, and soil fumigation and trellis are highly recommended.  Round, firm fruit is tart, large, and reddish-purple in color.  Good frozen or fresh, but recommended for jams and jellies. High yields. Commercially used in the Midwest.  Late mid-season.

Royalty (NY 253 = (Cumberland x Newburgh) x NY17861 = (Newburgh x Indian Summer, released from Geneva, N.Y., 1982): Tall, vigorous plants are extremely productive and sucker freely; immune to large raspberry aphid (which reduces susceptibility to mosaic virus); and winter hardy.  Susceptible to crown gall.  Very large, soft fruit is sweet and of high quality.  Reddish-purple berries are not suitable for shipping; can be frozen, but are best eaten fresh.  High yields (greater than Bristol but less than Brandywine).  Late season.

High Tunnel Raspberry Production

High tunnels can provide certain degree of winter protection without the high costs of typical greenhouse.  In Ohio, some growers have started using high tunnels as a way to protect raspberry plants from winter injuries, increase yield and improve fruit quality.

Site selection:  Soil quality is the most important factor when selecting a site for a high tunnel.  Raspberries require well-drained loamy soils with high organic matter content.  Brambles grow best at a pH between 6.0 and 6.5.  Growers should do a soil test and amend the soils to the right level according to soil test report before planting. 

Tunnel Selection:  Peak style, four-season high tunnels are preferred types since they can take snow load.  Quonset style, 3-season high tunnels are not recommended for raspberry production since they cannot take snow load.  There are many suppliers of high tunnels in Ohio and beyond.  Growers are encouraged to contact different suppliers for quotes and specifications.  They are also encouraged to check out the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) - Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative through USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.  This is a voluntary cost share program.  More information is available at   http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/programs/financ...

Plant Selection:  It is important to select the right cultivars of raspberries for high tunnel production.  We grew Heritage and Joan J. red raspberries in a high tunnel with quite bit success at OSU South Centers in Piketon.  There are definitely many other raspberry cultivars that are suitable for high tunnel production.  Potential growers are encouraged to refer to the Cornell High Tunnel Raspberries and Blackberries for other suggested raspberry cultivars.

Pest Management:  Bramble production in high tunnels is definitely not free of problems.  Many of the common pests of outdoor production are also found in high tunnels, such as Japanese beetle and spotted wing drosophila.                  

It is also important to control diseases and weeds inside high tunnels.  Insecticides, fungicides and herbicides needed to be labeled for greenhouses to be used in high tunnels.  However, growers are encouraged to check with their chemical representatives, extension professionals and pesticide labels to make sure they are following pesticide laws.  Refer to Midwest Fruit Pest Management Guide for more information. 

Economic Considerations:  High tunnels cost about $1.30 to 1.50 per square foot according to an economic analysis at the University of Kentucky.  Based on the same study, "Breakeven returns to cover both fixed and variable costs of high tunnel production could range from $4 to $6 per pound for raspberries during a seven-year period." Refer to the University of Kentucky "High Tunnel Brambles" fact sheet for more information.  Growers need to sell their crop at a premium to make high tunnel raspberry production a profitable enterprise.

Useful references:

High Tunnel Raspberries and Blackberries. 2012.  Cornell University Department of Horticulture Publication No.47.  Available online at http://www.fruit.cornell.edu/berry/production/pdfs/hightunnelsrasp2012.pdf

Iowa High Tunnel Fruit and Vegetable Production Manual.  Iowa State University Extension. PM 2098 January 2010.  Available online at https://store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/pm2098-pdf

Iowa High Tunnel Bramble Production.  ISRF07-12 http://www.ag.iastate.edu/farms/07reports/Armstrong/HighTunnelBramble.pdf

High Tunnel Brambles.  2014.  University of Kentucky.  http://www.uky.edu/Ag/CCD/introsheets/hightunnelbrambles.pdf

Acknowledgements: Our sincere appreciation goes to Ohio Department of Agriculture and USDA for their support of our bramble project through a specialty crop block grant.  We also thank Michael Daniels, Thom Harker, Wayne Lewis and Ryan Slaughter for their assistance with plot installation, maintenance and berry harvest.  The author also thanks Dr. Eric Hanson of Michigan State University, Nourse Farms, Indiana Berry Farm, Mike and Cathy Pullins of Champaign Berry Farm, and Dr. Dick Funt for some of the information on raspberry cultivars.