Bulletin No. 13
STATE OF FLORIDA
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
NATHAN MAYO, Commissioner
Claude L. DeVane and John M. Scott
Prepared and Published in Co-operation with the College of
Agriculture, University of Florida, Gainesville
_____ __~_ __ ____ __
~________ ____________ __________________I___I_
Bulletin No. 13
STATE OF FLORIDA
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
NATHAN MAYO, Commissioner
Claude I.. De)Vane and John M. Scott
Prepared and P'ublished in Co-oper:rtion with the College of
Agriculture. IUnivrsity of Flo ii; (iG;in-sville
By CLAUDE L. DeVANE AND JOHN M. SCOTT
Prepared and published in co-operation with the College of Agriculture,
University of Florida, Gainesville
The strawberry, a luscious red fruit, grown on a trail-
ing vine, is one of the most popular members of the Rose
family. The domain over which it reigns in America,
where it is more extensively cultivated than any other
small fruit, stretches from Mexico to Alaska, from New
England to the Pacific Coast. It is at home in every
province of Canada, in Europe, in South America.
Wherever it grows it is a favorite on account of its de-
licious flavor, delicate aroma, and rich beauty.
Wild strawberries, though sweet and of delicious
flavor, are very small. They grow by the roadsides and
in meadows throughout the United States.
The cultivation of strawberries in each section differs
according to soil, climate, and other natural elements
that enter into the life or cultivation of the crop. Many
men who have knowledge and experience in raising
strawberries in other sections of the country find, on
coming to Florida, that they have to practically learn a
new system of cultivation. This bulletin is written for
Florida conditions with the object of aiding newcomers
to Florida and others who are beginners in the industry
of raising strawberries in the State.
The raising of strawel\v ries is an important industry in
many localities throughout Florida. In some localities a
large number of people depend mainly upon their income
from strawberries for a livelihood. The acreage grown
by individual farmers varies from one acre up to fifteen
or twenty acres, although from two to five acres is per-
haps the size most frequently found. In order to secure
further returns from the land, vegetables are frequently
planted along or between the rows as a companion crop
to the strawberries. Peppers, tomatoes, and corn are
The United States Department of Agriculture credited
Florida with a total of 36-10 acres of strawberries in 1928
FLORIDA STRAWBERRIES 3
(See Table I). An average of from 1,500 to 2,000 quarts
per acre is the estimated yield, although some of the
most successful growers have been able to get a yield of
2,500 or more quarts per acre.
At the present time not more than one-half the counties
in the State grow strawberries commercially. The coun-
ties that grow the largest acreage in order of importance
are as follows:
The above counties grow anywhere from 50 to 2,500
acres per county. In addition there are a considerable
number of counties that grow anywhere from 1 to 10
The fact that strawberries are not grown on a commer-
cial scale in some of the counties is no sign that they can-
not be grown there successfully, as strawberries may be
grown successfully in every county in Florida either for
home use or on a commercial scale.
SELECTION OF LAND
One of the most important steps in strawberry culture,
and one upon which success or failure depends, is the
selection of land. Scranton fine sand is the best type of
soil for strawberries. Any good loamy soil, however,
that is well filled with humus and which retains moisture
well is satisfactory.
The Scranton fine sand consists of a dark gray to black
fine sand, eight to fifteen inches deep, underlaid by a yel-
lowish gray fine sand which extends to a depth of more
than thirty-six inches, the color becoming yellower in the
lower part. Variations from the typical color occur in
both soil and subsoil. A sufficient amount of organic
matter is ordinarily present in the soil to give it a slightly
loamy feel, and in places the subsoil is decidedly loamy.
The land is level to gently sloping and the natural drain-
age is generally good, only the lowest parts of the type
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
ever being covered by standing water. Such soil is fairly
retentive of moisture and is saturated at relatively shal-
low depths owing to the presence of more or less im-
On land where the drainage is not very good, it will
be necessary to bed up the land so as to provide thorough
drainage at all times. An example of land bedded so as
to provide drainage is given in Figure 1.
Fig. 2. Strawberries one row to the bed. Note that the land is not bedded up
much, as it is naturally well drained.
PREPARATION OF SOIL
The preparation of land for the planting of straw-
berries should be very thorough. The soil should be
abundantly supplied with humus before the plants are
set, either by making heavy applications of manure or
by growing and turning under a heavy crop of cowpeas,
velvet beans, crotalaria, or some other good soil improv-
ing crop. It is necessary that the soil improving crop be
turned under at least three to four weeks before the
plants are to be set.
After the land has been broke, broadcast and thor-
oughly disked and worked into a good condition, the
beds are laid off three feet for single row planting and
four and one half or five feet for double row planting.
The beds are usually ten to fifteen inches high, depend-
ing on local conditions, such as drainage, etc. As soon as
the land is bedded up in rows and the beds smoothed off
with a hoe or rake, the land is then ready for the plants
to be set. A time should be selected for setting the plants
when there is sufficient moisture in the soil to insure the
growth of the plants, otherwise they must be watered.
FLORIDA STRAWBERRIES 5
SYSTEMS OF PLANTING
There are several methods of setting strawberries.
One often used in some states is the matted row system in
which the runners are not removed from the nursery but
allowed to grow in a matted row. This system, how-
ever, is never used in Florida.
Fig. 3. Ground bedded up to insure good drainage. Planted two rows to the
bed, the most common practice in Florida.
The single row system, as shown in Figure 2, is often
used in Florida. The beds are laid off three feet apart
and the plants set 12 inches apart in the row.
The double row system, illustrated by Figure 3, is the
most popular system of planting. Here the beds are laid
off 41/, or 5 feet apart, with two rows 14 to 16 inches
apart to the bed, and the plants 14 inches apart in the
The three row system is shown in Figure 5. In this
system the beds are made about six feet apart with three
rows to the bed. The rows are placed about 14 to 16
inches apart, and the plants 14 inches apart in the row.
The solid set system is where the plants are set on flat
ground 9x12 or 12x12 inches. Every sixth row is left un-
planted for convenience in working and harvesting.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The last two systems are rarely used in Florida, as the
single and double row system seem to be generally
NUMBER OF PLANTS REQUIRED TO SET AN ACRE
Distance Apart Plants Per Acre
2 feet by 1 foot ............. 21,780
2 feet by 1 feet............ 14,520
3 feet by 1 foot .............. 14,520
31/ feet by 1 foot............. 12,446
21 feet by 11/ feet........... 11,616
3 feet by 2 feet............... 7,260
Solid Planting ................ 35,000
A crop of strawberries will remove considerable plant
food from the soil; so it is advisable to supply organic
matter in the form of manure or leguminous cover crops.
The land selected for strawberries should be sowed to a
cover crop of cowpeas, velvet beans, crotalaria, or beg-
garweed to be turned under at least three weeks before
the plants are to be set.
The first application of commercial fertilizer is scat-
tered along on top of the beds and worked into the soil a
week or ten days before the plants are set. Some grow-
ers use about 500 or 600 pounds per acre at this applica-
tion putting on another application of 500 or 600 pounds
after the plants have become well established, and the
last application of 500 or 600 pounds of fertilizer just
before the bloom appears. An application of 1,500 to
1,800 pounds of fertilizer per acre is generally used dur-
ing the season, while some use as much as a ton to the
The first and second applications of fertilizer should
be higher in ammonia than the last, preferably 4 or 5%,
with about 8% available phosphoric acid, and 4 or 5%?
potash. The last application should contain 3 or 4% am-
monia, 8% available phosphoric acid, and 6% potash.
Some growers use about 1,000 to 1,200 pounds of fertil-
izer in two applications and the remainder a more highly
concentrated fertilizer as a side dressing. Great care
must be used if this is done to prevent burning the roots
and injuring the plant.
FLORIDA STRAWBERRIES 7
Strawberries require a slightly acid soil. Lime and
unleached ashes should not be used, as they are in-
jurious to the roots of the plants.
There are a large number of strawberry varieties that
can be grown in Florida. Some years ago the Klondike
was quite a popular variety. During the past few years,
however, a large percentage of the growers in Florida
has discarded nearly all varieties except the Missionary.
--. .'-,.I.' 7 '_
Fig. S. Strawberries planted three rows to the bed. This method is not used
a great deal in Florida. Note how the ground is bedded up.
The Missionary variety has at least three outstanding
qualities that make it popular with growers. It is an
early fruiter; the fruit is of fine quality; the fruit is of a
firm texture and therefore ships well.
When strawberries are grown for the local market and
home consumption, the Klondike and Brandywine varie-
ties are very satisfactory, but these two varieties do not
stand shipping as well as the Missionary.
THE NURSERY AND ITS CARE
The Florida strawberry grower generally gets about a
thousand plants from northern nurseries for each acre he
8 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
expects to plant to strawberries. By planting this num-
ber of plants in a nursery early in the year, enough plants
should be produced for the farmer to set his land in the
fall. Some farmers find it profitable to grow plants for
market, and sometimes it is possible to pay the expense
of a strawberry crop with plants sold from the nursery.
The plants secured from the northern nurseries should
be set during February or March on well prepared new
land. New land is recommended because it is more
likely to be free from weed and grass seeds common in
cultivated fields, thus reducing the necessity for hoeing
Where single rows are used in the nursery, the beds
should be four feet apart with the plants set fourteen
inches apart in the row. For double row setting, the
beds should be five and one-half or six feet apart, with
the plant rows 18 or 20 inches apart and the plants set 14
inches in the row.
Before the plants are set, the ground should be worked
into a good seedbed and about 500 pounds of fertilizer
worked in. The common fertilizer formula used in the
nursery is 4-8-5-that is, 4~,' ammonia, 8% available
phosphoric acid, and 5%, potash.
With proper care, the nursery plants should grow off
and produce an abundance of good quality plants for
June and July setting.
PLANTING FOR BERRY PRODUCTION
There is a difference of opinion as to which is the best
time to set out the main crop. Some prefer the earlier
setting while others prefer the late setting. There are
advantages to each season. The early plantings, which
are in June or July, make a more vigorous growth and
usually during these months there is plenty of moisture
for setting. The later plantings generally made in Sep-
tember or October, produce earlier berries and eliminate
the working of the crop through the rainy season.
When the strawberry grower has started a nursery in
February or March, it is necessary to set the plants in the
field in June and July. If not transplanted at about this
time the plants become black rooted, and such plants will
not grow off well when transplanted. If allowed to re-
main in the nursery until September, the plants should be
loosened with a potato fork or some other implement a
short time before they are to be transplanted in order to
induce a new root growth. As soon as the new root
growth has started well, the plants can then be trans-
planted to the field.
When it is desired to make both early and late llant-
ings, good quality plants may be secured from the June
or July planting for the later planting.
In many cases the strawberry grower does not have his
own nursery, but prefers to buy his plants. Purchases
may be made from northern nurseries, or from Florida
growers who have a surplus. Care should be taken, how-
ever, to see that only strong, healthy, vigorous plants are
A time should be selected for setting the plants when
there is sufficient moisture in the soil to insure the growth
of the plants. otherwise they must be watered.
Table No. 1 shows the states that produce the early
strawberry crop each year as well as the acreage, produc-
tion, and price per quart in each state from 1924 to 1928
inclusive. Louisiana is the greatest producer of early
berries, while Florida is second. The price received for
Florida strawberries is generally equal to or higher than
that received by other states, as the Florida crop is usual-
ly the earliest to reach the markets.
TABLE NO, 1, STRAWBERRIES, EARLY COMMERCIAL CROP; ACREAGE, PRODUCTION, AND PRICE PER QUART, BYSTATES,
(3) 1 (3) (3 11
],000 1 ,000 1 ,011 1,000 1,(00
SAcres Acres I A A|cres Qiiil QurIooo In L (Qin Qrtsrl,
3,960 ,I10 3,211 ,5201 5,3801 iii 5,501 tl 7,921 I1,iXI $(,131
4,690 1,210 !, ,9$0 3, 0 10 I ,70 I ,00 15,513 6,900 5,0I 0,27
14,600 10,3I 0 !,590 21,100 3,200 II;,a 0,10, 40 ,9; 16I,;' 133,0(H 0.27
1,10 1, 10 S920 o 1,000 12 1,27 1,1" 90 1,I00' ,1
.. 1,(07 080 720 1 200 1,80 1,2 1,079 (llll 2,520 2,9111 0.1l
'rie, Per Qu1ir (12)
1125 192 1927; 192S
10, .1 $0 10, 1
0,33 0.29 0,21
0,1l 0,27 0,21
0,1 0,20 0,22
(1) Fro Crops and Monrts, Drcmlir, 192S, p. (1,
(2) Averge for violn
(1) li)iln for 1924 frO'mi Yeirbooli ni A~ricultur, 11127, P, 859,
FLORIDA STRAWBERRIES 11
Thu following I'our pages are Irom ".Fiold to Market
With Florida Vegetables and Citrus Fruits":
The por-annum nI'irm value of the Florida strawberry
crop, 1928 through 1936 average, was $2,714,334. Flori-
da ships 15'; of the total United States rail and boat
movement of strawberries.
Acreage.-The principal strawberry producing sec-
tions in Florida aro shown by the following table of'
county acreages, from 1928-29 through 1935-36.
County 1928-29 1929-30 1930-31 1931-32 19-3 19333 -34 1934-3S 1935.36
Alachu-a 0 50 50
Ilrnllfordl 1,100 2,60ll 1,004 161110 2,400 1 ,lrl i I0) 800
Olny 100 21111 30 1il 50
Dllde r0 .,) 100 :. 0 Inn l 1() 1110
I.S.tu:o 13 o" 2" 3 i
:. ca t :h .a l ,,
Hmar.rr .*"" :..'( f0' 1. .1 o *O* vS* :*50
lrrnando j1 '2. 30 II 410
II innllll . ... l 20 20 2!1 21i
Hilllsboroulih 2.500 2,875 .2 0(00 1,2ll4 4.6004) .1100 3,SO 4,400
Indian Hit. r 12 1; 20 20 20
Mt3 ', o :in 13 o 133; :: 27:. 22
Orac-. 13- I" 30 10 6o ;5 2; 2;
O()cola 20 1; 13 1; 1;
Pasco 70 II) 50 ll1) 50 i0 50 50
I'hn llhU ...... 20 110I 175 Ir l n 10.
Pol' k l.I50 1.1;4111 l. i l ll i 1.000 1.41lll 1.350 1,450
Sarasota 140 1h0 20 1:: 200 50 o0 50
Sumrr TL :'0 300 300 300 300 430 (00
'nion 15, 1:,o 200 150 20 150 100 100
Volisin 25 20 20 20 20 ...
Ktalt Total i;.:90 9 .li01 '..10 .1111 11.200 .( o0 S.000 l.100
Varieties.-The principal variety grown in Florida is
Planting.-Strawburiry plants are usually Het 14 inches
apart in rows from 30 to 36 inches, single rows. Strong
healthy phlnts will come into bearing in from 70 to 90
days from setting of plants. On a State average basis,
the yield is about 1,650 quarts per acre, though from
2,500 to 3,000 quart'H por acro is not an uncommon ylold
in the leading sections, with maximum yields running
12 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Cost.-Without including the cost of land, rental, taxes
or depreciation, it will cost from $135 to $175 an acre to
grow strawberries in Florida: Preparation of land and
cultivation $45-70; plants $45-50: fertilizer $32.50-40:
spraying and miscellaneous $12.50-15. Cost per 36-pint
crate at shipping point (on the basis of 110 36-pint
crates per acre) will average from $2.50-:3.00; growing
$1.25-1.60; picking 54c-56c; crate 35c-40c; grading and
packing 30c-36c: hauling 5c-10c.
Container.-In carlot shipments the 36-pint crate is
perhaps the most widely used, the 24-pint crate is used,
these types having largely replaced the 32-quart crate in
general use five to ten years ago.
Pack.-The pack should not be either slack or so tight
as to bruise the berries. The cups should be well filled.
The pack should consist of strawberries of only one va-
riety, having not less than three-fourths of each berry
showing pink or red color, with the cap attached, which
are firm, not over-ripe or undeveloped, and which are
free from decay or damage caused by any means.
Loading in Car.-Strawherries in carlots are shipped
under refrigeration. The 36-pint crates are usually load-
ed in each end of car 10 stacks. 8 rows wide. 3 layers
high. The rows should be well spaced and aligned, each
layer stripped and nailed. The usual load is 480 crates
per car, with some loads as low as 315, and some more
than 600 crates per car.
Florida Shipments.-The Florida carlot shipping sea-
son begins in I)ecember and ends in May. The months
in which shipped and the volume in each is shown by the
following table, covering a number of seasons:
Season Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Total
1928-29,............ 1 172 675 706 73 6 1,633
1929-30............ 107 359 .139 59. 17.1 .18 1,721
1930-31.......... 16 194 4.12 772 393 15 1,862
1931-32............. 14; 5.' 531 225 222 37 1,760
1932-3:3........... 71 511 936 .121 127 s 2.084
1933-31............... 30 3 6 511 618 274 1 1,830
193,1-35 ............ 3 112 686 407 155 .... 1,363
1935-36 ............ 8 83 155 593 233 10 1,082
1936-3:7 ............ 9 488 447 193 132 2 1.271
The c;'lol shipments by rail anid boat ar'c given below accorlilig to counties, for the sea-
County 1926-27 1927.28 1928.29 1929.30 1930.31 1931.32 1932-33 1933-34 1934.35 1935.36 1936.27
B ulford ............ 202 304 75 19 10 1 06 !0 156 II
a ................ 22 24 25 192 227 242 22 144 91 l i 65 0
Iillsborough....... 191! 202 892 788 1,0;8 1,072 1,345 1,322 1,039! 787 1,01)95
,i na te ,...... ..... .. 20 45 ... .... .... 27 31 7 11
O l;i ge ......... .... ..... .. 17 .... .. .... ....
Osceah 7., 7
P lli ................ 2 1 148 17 360 225 165 1'7 43 27 15 40
SlIn'iS l ... .............. .... .
Sumtter ,,.,...,,,,,,,,,. 3 26 19 17 61 50 ) 12
union .................... .... .... 10 27 31 27 22 9 .... .... ....
Total Rail ........ 0 62 ,0 5 1,6.17 1,862 1,617 1,!O 1,7 12 8 1,054 1,261i 3
E prss .... .. .. ... 74 l .. I 3 1 88 35 28 8
I(;A~ TO'TAL ,,,. 7 62 2(I5 1,721 1,!2 1,760 20 1, rl l ,80 1 6 1,i 271
j'Includls picli.up express lXlocated to the Oiill'elf t counties.
14 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Competitive Shipments.-Beginning with the express
shipments of Florida strawberries in the latter part of
November, the carlot shipping season which starts in De-
cember, Florida shippers have practically no competition
in the four months November through the following Feb-
ruary. In March, Louisiana begins its carlot shipments,
and gives Florida the strongest competition. Louisiana
ranks first in carlot shipments of strawberries, reaches
peak in April and usually ships as much volume in this
one month as Florida ships the entire season. Shipments
from Louisiana continue heavy in May. Texas occasion-
ally ships a few cars in December, January, February
and March though the volume is limited. Alabama be-
gins shipping in latter March and continues in April, and
May. Then Mississippi, North Carolina and South Caro-
lina begin their season in April and all ship in May. Ten-
nessee in some seasons is able to ship out a few cars in
April and has heavy volume in May. In addition in May,
Arkansas, California, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Ken-
tucky, Maryland, Missouri and Virginia all are shipping
strawberries in carlot volume. Florida does not have
any competition from imports.
The following table will show the monthly carlot com-
petition given to Florida strawberries by the United
States, Florida shipments omitted, for eight seasons:
Season Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May (6 mo.)
1928-29........... .... .... ... 138 4,980 10,400 15,518
1929-30.......... .... ... .... .... 68 2,764 5,377 8,209
1930-31........... .... .... .... 56 2,792 6,910 9,758
1931-32.......... .... .... 82 189 2.071 7,323 9,665
1932-33............ .... .... .... 242 2,884 7,269 10,395
1933-34............. 2 1 4 110 2,285 7,089 9,491
1934-35............ 1 1 .... 24 2,202 4,108 6,336
1935-36........... .... ..... ... 122 2,022 3,489 5,633
Distribution.-New York City takes about 30% of the
Florida strawberry shipments and is by far the largest re-
ceiver. Half the Florida crop is shipped to New York,
Philadelphia, Baltimore and Boston. Chicago takes
about 13% the Florida crop, and together with the cities
of Cincinnati, Cleveland and Detriot absorbs slightly
more than one-fourth the total Florida shipments. Three-
FLORIDA STRAWBERRIES 15
fourths the total shipments are thus accounted for, the
remainder going to small distributing centers in the East-
ern, Southern and Central States.
SETTING THE PLANTS
The handling of the plants when being removed from
the nursery to the field should be carefully done. A hoe
fork is used to loosen the roots. The plants are then
lifted by hand, the runners pinched off, and placed in
bundles. The roots should be kept moist and away from
the sun, for if they are exposed to the sun for any length
of time they will die. The best system is to have one crew
of men taking up the plants and another crew setting the
plants so that the plants are kept out of the ground the
shortest time possible.
A normal healthy plant has a heavy system of white
roots and a large crown with a short husky top. Only
the healthy, well developed plants should be used.
Before the plants are set the beds should be rolled or
dragged, thus making the soil firm so that the moisture
will reach the surface. The rows are then marked off
and the plants set by hand. In setting the plants a small
trowel or dibble is used so the roots are placed straight
and the soil pressed firm around the roots. Care should
be taken to avoid setting the plants too deep, since the
plants usually die if the bud becomes covered with soil.
The cultivation of strawberries should be frequent and
thorough. This is necessary to keep down weeds, con-
serve moisture, and keep the land in good physical con-
dition until the mulch is applied. The mulch is usually
applied in November or December in central and south
Florida, and in January or February in the northern part
of the State. One-horse cultivators and hoes are used
until the mulch is applied, after which only hoes are used
for cultivation. All cultivation of berries must be shal-
low, as deep cultivation with either hoe or plow will in-
jure the roots-and injury to the roots retards the growth
of the plants and lessens the production of berries.
The amount of cultivation required for an acre of
strawberries will depend on local conditions. Some soils
16 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
require more cultivation than others to keep them in a
good physical condition. Then, too, some fields contain
more weed seed than other fields and consequently re-
quire more hoeing and cultivating to keep the weeds
In the northern part of Florida wire grass is often cut
and scattered broadcast over the fields, covering the
ground and berry plants. Pine straw is also raked up
and used. After the straw has settled somewhat, the
plants are pulled through the covering so that the ground
is entirely covered around the plants. This protects the
berries from the soil and conserves the moisture.
In the central and southern parts of the State a straw
or pine needle mulch is put between the rows to be used
as a protection for the berries and bloom in case of a
frost, the straw being pulled up over the plants and re-
moved as soon as danger from cold is over. The mulch
also serves to keep down weeds and hold the moisture.
Some farmers use troughs for protection from cold.
These troughs are made from 1x8 of 1x10 inch boards
with the edges nailed together so as to make "V"-shaped
troughs. These are made in any length convenient to
handle. Whenever there is danger of frost, these troughs
are placed over the rows of strawberries at night, and
removed in a day or two or as soon as danger of frost is
past. The troughs are generally left in the middles be-
tween the rows for convenience in handling.
When good strong plants are set, they will begin to
bloom in from 50 to 60 days after setting, and when con-
ditions are favorable ripe fruit may be produced in from
60 to 70 days. The harvesting period usually begins
about Thanksgiving and ends the first of April in central
and south Florida, while north Florida begins to ship in
January and February and continues until May.
Strawberry fruit, when ripe, is very perishable and
therefore requires special care in harvesting, packing
and shipping to market. The berries should be picked
by taking hold of the stem and pinching it off. leaving
FLORII)A STRAWBERRIES 17
Fig. 7. Picking strawberries In Florida. Note corn as companion corp.
Courtesy Extension Service, U. S. D. A.
from 1-4 to 1-2 inch of stem attached to the fruit. Each
berry is then carefully placed in a basket-not dropped
or thrown in. The basket of fruit should never be left
long in the field exposed to the wind and sun. The best
practice is to pick the berries early in the morning when
it is cool.
Very soon after picking, the berries should be taken to
the packing shed where they are washed, using only good
clean water, and then placed on burlap covered tables to
drain. Here all small, inferior and cull berries should be
removed before packing. The fruit is now ready to be
packed for shipment. Packing is done altogether by
hand in quart baskets, the top layer being laid evenly to
give an attractive appearance to the basket. These quart
baskets are then packed in shipping crates, 32 quarts to
Strawberries may be satisfactorily shipped to nearby
markets in the 32-quart crates without further packing,
as these crates are made from material that is strong, yet
light in weight, and will stand shipping by express. It is
seldom advisable, however, to ship fruit packed in this
manner farther than 500 miles.
When berries are to be shipped to distant markets,
they are removed from the crates and placed in pony re-
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Fig. 9. Packing strawhrries for shipment. The smaller crates are the regular
32-quart crates for shipping short distances. The larger crates are
the pony refrigerators used in shipping to distant markets.
Courtrsy Tampa Chamber of Commerce.
frigerators. "The refrigerators are constructed to hold
32. 64, and 80 qluartl> respectively. The 80 quart size is
used most generally, as it holds more ice and will carry
longer distances than the smaller ones. The smaller
sizes are used for shorter hauls. The walls are made
from two layers of lumber with building paper between.
The corners are reinforced. It is a strong Iox capable of
carrying a wveigLht of ,50( pouInds or more. Each refrig-
erator is equlipipd'( with ain ice chamber, which is a gal-
vanized box 1 inches wide placed in a vertical position in
the center of the re'rir.erator. The berries are packed
carefully around this ice chamber up to the height of the
center ice chalmer. \When the berries are filled up to
the top of the center partition, all ice pan about 6 inches
FLORIDA STRAWBERRIES 19
deep is placed on top of the broken ice. The box is then
covered with a heavy top which is made strong and is
bolted down carefully. It is then ready to be shipped.
"The refrigerators are equipped with a drain pipe for
letting out melted ice. No icing of these refrigerators is
necessary after the original icing, as they are capable of
carrying the berries over a five or six day shipment.
Under average weather conditions, the berries should
come out of the refrigerator in good shape, even after a
"The refrigerators also serve to protect the fruit
against the freezing weather of northern states, which
they often are sent into. They cost about $15 each and,
if properly taken care of. should last several years."
DISEASES AND INSECTS
For information on diseases and insects of straw-
berries, one should write to the Florida Agricultural Ex-
periment Station, Gainesville, Fla., and the United States
Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C.
BLACKBERRY CULTURE 21
NEW SERIES MAY, 1938
(Reprint of Farimers' Bulletin No. 6-13.
U. S. Dept. of Agriculture)
The use of the blackberry for canning and in the mak-
ing of jam is increasing the demand for this fruit. It is
now being grown profitably in many States, and in some
sections its cultivation forms one of the important activi-
ties of the farmers.
In this bulletin directions are given for the propaga-
tion, planting, cultivation, pruning, and training of black-
berries. The leading characteristics of the principal va-
rieties are indicated.
While proper cultural methods are essential for the
successful growing of this fruit, very much depends upon
a suitable selection of variieties for planting in different
sections of the country. Thus, in southern California
the Crandall is the leading variety, while in the central
and northern parts of that State the Lawton is an im-
portant variety for commercial purposes and for home
use and local markets the Mammoth and Himalaya are
grown throughout the State: in Oregon and Washing-
ton the Snyder and Evergreen varieties are usually pre-
ferred; in the North-Central States the Eldorado, Snyder
and Mersereau are among the best sorts; in Kentucky
and Tennessee the Early Harvest and Eldorado: in south-
ern Missouri and in Arkansas the Early Harvest and Mc-
Donald ; and in Texas the Dallas, McDonald and IIaupt
varieties are desirable; in New Jersey the Ward and
Evergreen (Black Diamond) are recommended; and in
the other Eastern States the Eldorado and Snyder are
Contribution from the Bureau of Plant Industry
WM. A. TAYLOR. Chief
Issued January 29. 1915. Revised March, 1918.
Reprint, January, 1922.
Washington. D. C.
22 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The cultivation of the blackberry has increased much
less rapidly than would otherwise have been the case had
not the wild forms of this fruit been found in such abun-
dance in nearly every section of the country. With the
gradual introduction of new and better varieties especi-
ally adapted to the different regions, the superior size
and quality of the cultivated berries are beginning to be
recognized. Commercial varieties produce firmer fruit,
which can be held in good condition longer after picking.
Moreover, by a proper selection of varieties fresh culti-
vated blackberries can be obtained before the first wild
ones ripen, as well as long after the last wild ones are
gone. When these points of superiority become more
generally known, the use of the cultivated varieties will
become more general.
LOCATION OF THE PLANTATION
The principal factors to be considered in the selection
of a location for a blackberry plantation are the facilities
for marketing the fruit and the moisture conditions of the
soil. The blackberry is a tender fruit, the keeping quali-
ties of which are seriously affected by jarring over rough
roads. It should therefore be grown adjacent to good
roads, and the berries should be placed on the market as
quickly as possible after they are picked.
The moisture supply in the soil at the ripening season
and during the winter or dormant months is the most
important factor to be considered in the selection of a
site. The blackberry suffers more than almost any other
crop from an insufficient water supply while the berries
are growing and ripening. On the other hand, the plants
are often killed il' water stands on the plantation during
the winter or dormant period.
In sections where there are frequent drying winds dur-
ing the ripening period or during the winter it is import-
ant to choose a sheltered location. Low places where
there is danger from late frosts, which may kill the new
growth and destroy all prospects of a crop, should be
avoided, and a site on high land with good air drainage
should be selected.
The blackberry will flourish on nearly any type of soil
provided suitable moisture conditions prevail. The finest
BLACKBERRY CULTURE 23
wild berries are found in those localities where the humus
and soil conditions are such that the plants can get a
proper supply of water. The best blackberry land, there-
fore, is a deep, fine, sandy loam with a large supply of
humus. Such soil is to be preferred to a coarse sandy or
a clay soil, since it can be controlled to a greater extent.
The largest yields are produced on soil with a friable
subsoil which allows the roots of the plants to penetrate
to a good depth and get food and moisture from the
greatest possible area.
PREPARATIONS OF THE SOIL
The landl on which blackberries are to be grown should
be planted with a cultivated crop the season previous to
the setting of the berry plants. This will insure the thor-
ough rotting of the sod and will help to destroy the cut-
worms and other insects which are often injurious to the
young plants. The soil should be plowed to a depth of
about 9 inches in the spring, and a thorough harrowing
should be given the whole field before the plants are set.
In order to provide a suitable subsoil it will frequently
pay to loosen it with a subsoil plow during the previous
The rools of blackberries live for many years, but the
canes only last \wo years. These canes grow from the
crownn i the spring and live until after the fruiting season
of the following year. When they die. other canes are
ready to take their places, having grown from the crown
during the spring. to die at thie end of the fruiting season
of the succeeding year. Berries are borne only on canes
which are in their second season's growth. These state-
ments do not apply to the Evergreen and Himalaya varie-
ties. the canes of which are perennial in some sections.
In addition to the canes which grow from the crown, it
is the habit of the plant to throw up suckers from the
roots at various distances from the parent plant, especial-
ly where the roots are cut. New plants are usually se-
cured by digging up these suckers, and when the suckers
are vigorous this method of starting new fields is very
Another method used by nurserymen during the fall
or early spring in order to secure new plants is to dig
24 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
roots of the desired variety one-fourth of an inch or more
in diameter. These are cut into pieces about 3 inches
long and planted horizontally about 3 inches deep in
trenches. By the following fall these should furnish
strong plants, generally with a better root system than
"sucker" plants, which depend upon the single large root
from the parent plant for most of their food and water.
Certain varieties are blackberry-dewberry hybrids and
have canes which root at the tips, like the dewberry. The
Evergreen and Himalaya varieties, although not dew-
berry hybrids, also have tips that root. New plants of
these varieties are secured either by covering the tips
with soil in late summer or by making root cuttings, as
with other blackberries.
Practically all of the blackberry varieties which have
no strain of dewberry parentage are entirely self-fertile
and may be planted by themselves without provision for
cross-pollination. The Rathbun, Mammoth, McDonald,
Wilson and other less well-known varieties are reported
to be imperfect pollenizers under certain conditions and
should not be planted in large blocks alone.
Blackberry plants are usually set as early in the spring
as the land can be properly prepared, since the soil gen-
erally contains more moisture at that time and the young
plants can secure a vigorous start. The earlier they are
set, the larger the proportion that live and the better
their growth. When early spring setting is impossible,
the plants may be set in the late fall if there is no danger
from drying winds during the following winter. The
roots of newly set plants can not supply as much moisture
as those plants which have grown in the soil for a season.
They should be set as deep as they formerly stood in the
nursery, or slightly deeper, for the canes break easily if
the crowns project above the surface of the ground. The
tops should be cut back to six inches or less in length.
In the Eastern States blackberries are usually planted
3 feet by 8 feet. In localities where the canes grow very
large, as they frequently do on the Pacific coast, they
should be set at least 4 feet apart in rows 8 feet apart.
BLACKBERRY CULTURE 25
Planting distances for the Evergreen and Mammoth va-
rieties are given with their descriptions on later pages.
This planting system allows cultivation in but one direc-
tion. When cultivation in both directions is desired, the
plants are usually set 5 feet by 5 feet; this distance may
be increased to 7 or 8 feet apart both ways if the growth
is very vigorous. Very little hand labor is needed when
the plants are set according to this plan, as the cultivation
keeps down both weeds and suckers.
During the first summer after the plants are set some
intercrop may be grown between the rows. This crop
should be one requiring constant cultivation throughout
the growing season of the blackberry, and its growth
should not be large enough to shade the plants. The
selection of a suitable intercrop should greatly reduce the
cost of the berry field during the first summer, without
injuring the plants. Truck crops, such as cabbage and
potatoes, are to be preferred for this purpose, while corn
and the small grains should be avoided. Only a single
row of most truck crops should be grown between the
blackberries. By the second summer the plants should
be large enough to occupy all of the space.
Whether an intercrop is grown or not, cultivation
should be begun as soon as the plants set in the spring
and should be continued at intervals of from one to two
weeks throughout the season. It should usually be dis-
continued at least a month before freezing weather sets
in. The purpose of this clean cultivation is to provide a
dust mulch for the retention of moisture and to keep
down suckers and weeds. Since the roots of the black-
berry ordinarily lie close to the surface of the ground,
cultivation must be shallow. The breaking of the roots
not only weakens the root systems of the plants but in-
creases the number of suckers. The deeper the soil and
the more thorough its preparation before the plants are
set, the deeper will be the position of the roots. Fre-
quent cultivation is of greater importance during the
growing and ripening season of the berries than at any
other time, since more moisture is required then.
26 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The fruit, foliage and canes of the blackberry remove
a large quantity of plant food from the ground each year.
Most soils, however, have sufficient nitrogen, potash and
phosphoric acid to grow full crops of fruit for many
years. Some are better supplied with one element than
with others, and each grower must know his own soil be-
fore he can make profitable use of commercial fertilizers.
Nitrogen should be used with caution after the berry field
is in bearing, as it may cause a rapid cane and leaf
growth at the expense of fruit bearing.
Stable manure is the best fertilizer to use, for in addi-
tion to supplying the elements of plant food it adds much
humus to the soil. An annual application of 20 tons of
stable manure to the acre will usually be sufficient, al-
though there is little danger of using too much, especially
after the field is in bearing. In order to supply humus,
leguminous and other cover crops should be either plow-
ed under before the plants are set, or grown between the
rows of blackberries each year. When such crops are
grown, less stable manure will be required.
SYSTEM OF TRAINING
If all of the suckers which appear were allowed to
grow, by the end of the second year the field would be a
dense thicket of blackberry canes, from which the berries
could be picked with great difficulty. The suckers would
compete with the parent plants for food, moisture and
light, and the whole plantation would be inferior. The
plants must therefore be kept in rows or hills, and all
suckers appearing between the rows must be destroyed
by the frequent use of cultivator and hoe. Suckers do
not reappear as rapidly if they are pulled, but this re-
quires much hand labor. If all are destroyed. the plants
will have much stronger roots and canes and the berries
will be larger and better.
As soon as the last berries have been picked. ihl ol!
canes which have just borne fruit should be cut out and
burned. This allows the young canes more room in
which to develop and destroys any insects or disease on
the old canes. It will rarely be necessary to leave Tihem
to support the new canes during the winter snows. Wire
trellises are usually to be preferred where support is
needed. Not more than three or four new canes to each
plant should be allowed to grow in one season, and all in
excess of this number should be cut not later than the
time of the removal of the old bearing canes. The re-
maining canes will be larger and stronger because of the
The system of training varies in accordance with condi-
tions in different sections of the country. In some sec-
tions where the plants do not grow large and where the
soil does not wash, the new canes may be "topped"-that
is, the tips pinched off with the fingers-when they
reach a height of not more than 2/. feet. When the
bushes are very vigorous the height may be increased to
3 feet. As the canes do not all reach the height of 2.I,
feet at the same time, the plantation must be gone over
several times at frequent intervals. The pinching causes
the canes to branch and to be better able to stand erect
with a heavy crop of berries.
Even when this method of training is used, the canes
may be bent over and broken either by tillage implements
or by pickers, the number of canes and the quality of fruit
thus materially reduced. Under such conditions suffi-
cient fruit will be saved by the use of a wire trellis to
make the latter a profitable investment. Such a trellis
consists of posts set in each row at intervals of from 15 to
30 feet; the canes are tied to a wire stretched along this
line about 21, feet above the ground. This keeps the
canes upright and makes cultivation and picking much
A variation of this trellis is made as follows: Cross-
pieces about 18 inches long are nailed to the top of each
post and two wires instead of one are stretched along the
line of losts from (he ends of the cross-pieces. The
blackberry canes are simply kept inside these wires.
which form a support for then on either side.
These systems of training are adapted to certain varie-
ties and to those sections of the country where the hushes
do not grow very high. When the canes grow very long
or are inclined to run somewhat like a grapevine, a much
higher trellis is used, with two wires, one about 5 feet and
the other about 3 'eet from the ground, the height de-
pendinr, of course, upon the vigor of the plants. The
canes of the erect varieties are simply fastened to the
28 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
wires, while those of the trailing varieties are tied either
horizontally along the wires or in a fan-shaped position.
A variation of this trellis is used in some sections where
the trailing varieties are grown. Two cross-pieces 18 or
20 inches long are nailed to each post, one near the top
and the second about 2 feet below. Wires are strung
along the ends of the cross-pieces on the posts. Some-
times both bearing and nonbearing canes are trained to
the same wires, frequently the nonbearing canes on the
lower wires and the bearing canes on the upper wires and
sometimes vice versa.
The system of training described above are the ones
usually found, but they are often varied to suit particular
conditions, or the convenience of the grower. When the
plants are set in hills 5 or more feet apart each way, the
canes may be pinched back at a height of about 3 feet in
order to make a stocky growth. Frequently, when the
plants are set in hills, a post is set by each plant and the
canes can be tied to it. The trailing varieties, with the
exception of the Mammoth, are rarely trained to the hill
Mulching is very expensive, and is therefore better
adapted for use in home gardens than in commercial
blackberry fields. In localities where straw, hay, leaves
or other mulching materials are very cheap, and where
there is no serious danger from fire, they may be profit-
ably used on a commercial scale. If the mulch is deep
enough, it will assist in keeping down suckers, and as it
removes the necessity for cultivation, no roots are broken
from which suckers may spring. A mulch will greatly
retard the evaporation of moisture from the ground, and
in this respect will be more effective than the best culti-
vation. It should not be applied, however, in localities
where there is danger of water standing on the soil at
Each variety must be harvested according to its par-
ticular season of maturity. Some varieties may be picked
soon after the berries turn black, while others turn black
before they are ripe. They should be picked while still
firm enough to market properly, but not before they be-
BLACKBERRY CULTURE 29
The keeping quality of any variety is largely depend-
ent upon the care exercised in picking and handling. If
the berries are bruised or injured, molds and decay fungi
enter and quickly destroy the fruit. On the other hand,
blackberries carefully picked and stored in a cool place
will keep fresh for several days.
The yields of blackberries depend upon the varieties
which are selected and upon the conditions under which
they are grown. In certain sections of the country, where
the soil is very deep and rich, yields of 5,000 or more
quarts per acre may be secured. Under average condi-
tions of good management, about 2,300 quarts per acre
can be harvested. In some seasons this yield will be
greatly exceeded, while in other years a smaller yield
will be obtained.
The Mammoth, Evergreen and Himalaya varieties
regularly yield much more than 2.300 quarts in those sec-
tions of the Pacific slope to which they are adapted.
With good care 7,000 or more quarts per acre of the
Evergreen and Himalaya berries can be secured there.
The hardy varieties of blackberries will withstand
temperatures of -30' F.. provided water does not stand
in the soil about the roots and there is no danger from
severe drying winds. Many varieties are hardy enough
to survive -40" F., without injury. In localities where
there is real danger from cold, drying winds, as in the
Central Western States, or from too severe winter tem-
peratures, the canes are bent over in the fall and a layer
of earth, hay, straw or coarse manure is thrown over
them. This should be done before the ground is frozen,
yet after all danger of warm weather is past. Few canes
will break if they are bent over while the sap still circu-
lates. Sometimes the soil is drawn away from one side
by means of a hoe or plow and the plants inclined to that
side before being covered. The canes will lie in a more
nearly horizontal position with less danger of being
broken when this is done, although the roots may be
somewhat injured when the earth is removed. The
plants are uncovered in the spring after all danger of
severe weather is past.
30 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
DURATION OF PLANTATION
The roots of blackberry plants live for many years, but
the length of time that a plantation is profitable varies
with conditions in different parts of the country. In sec-
tions where the humus burns out of the soil quickly and
where the soil washes easily the plantation should be
abandoned after five or six crops have been harvested.
In other sections, where the humus supply is maintained
and where the crowns do not become diseased, the plan-
tation may be kept longer.
INSECTS AND DISEASES
It is essential for success in growing blackberries that
only plants free from insects and disease be planted.
Crowngall and rust are serious and incurable, and all
plants infested with these diseases must be dug out and
burned. The insect pests of the blackberry are not often
serious. For information in regard to the control of any
insect or disease, write to the nearest State agricultural
experiment station or to the United States Department of
Agriculture, Washington, D. C., and furnish specimens of
the affected parts. Specific information to suit local or
individual needs will gladly be sent.
REGIONAL ADAPTABILITY OF VARIETIES
The blackberry is cultivated throughout the United
States, with the exception of the colder parts of Wiscon-
sin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming,
Colorado and Montana, and those sections of the arid
Western States where hot, dry winds destroy the ripen-
ing fruit. In the Northern States just mentioned the
canes and frequently the roots are killed by cold, dry
winds. By protecting the plants in winter, however,
blackberries can be grown in some parts of this region.
It is necessary to classify the varieties according to
their resistance to severe weather conditions. In the
varietal characterizations, pages 31 to 35, they are term-
ed hardy, half-hardy and tender. A hardy variety should
be able to withstand a winter temperature of -30: F. in
protected place, as well as the changing temperatures of
the Middle Western States, where comparatively high
winter temperatures sometimes occur. A half-hardy va-
riety winter-kills in places where the temperature goes
as low as -30'F. It may pass through some winters
safely, but at other times it may freeze to the ground.
This half-hardy class is also severely injured by frequent
temperature changes which occur in winter in certain
sections of the Middle Western States. The tender va-
rieties are adapted to the Southern States, where mild
winters prevail. They will not stand low temperatures
and should only be planted where the thermometer sel-
dom reaches zero.
Varieties have been originated in the Southwest which
are peculiarly adapted to the semi-arid conditions there
prevailing. These varieties, which include the Dallas,
McDonald and Haupt, are somewhat drought resistant
and mature their fruit before the season becomes too
warm for normal ripening.
The Pacific coast region grows many of the varieties
common in the East as well as another class of black-
berries not adapted to cultivation in other sections of the
United States. The varieties usually grown on the west
coast are the Kittatinny, Lawton, Snyder, Crandall,
Himalaya, Evergreen and Mammoth, the last four of
which are rarely grown successfully elsewhere. Even on
the Pacific coast there is such wide variation in tempera-
ture, winds and moisture supply that some of these va-
rieties can be grown only in certain sections.
In order to determine the varieties which should be
grown in any particular section, first decide whether the
local conditions will permit the cultivation of the tender
or half-hardy blackberries. It will not be profitable to
plant varieties which are not sufficiently hardy. Inquiry
among neighboring growers will determine the varieties
which have already proved successful, and the most
promising of these should be selected.
The following characterizations are intended to aid
the prospective grower in his selection of varieties adapt-
ed to his section and to the purpose for which he intends
to grow blackberries. Only those varieties which are
successfully grown throughout large areas of the United
States have been included:
Blowers.-New York origin. Berries large, firm, acid
till ripe, quality good. Season medium, but the variety
32 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
ripens throughout a long period. Bush vigorous, hardy,
productive. Adapted to the Northeastern States; also
grown successfully in Kentucky and Michigan.
Briton (Ancient Briton).-Wisconsin origin. Berries
large, not very firm, very good quality. Season medium
to late. Bush moderately vigorous, thorny, very hardy,
very productive. Grown chiefly in Wisconsin and Minne-
sota. Grown somewhat throughout the Northern States
east of the Rocky Mountains.
Crandall. (Macatawa, Santa Cruz Seedless, Navlet
Seed-Seedless, Everbearing).-Texas origin. Berries
large, firm, sweet, quality very good. Season very early
and the variety ripens through a long period. Bush vig-
orous, productive, makes few suckers, tender; limits of
hardiness not known. The leading variety in southern
California; not adapted to the Northeastern states.
Dallas.-Texas origin. Berries large, firm, very good
quality. Season early. Bush vigorous but low growing;
hardiness not known; productive. Grown in Texas and
Early Harvest.-Illinois origin. Berries medium size,
firm, quality good. Season very early and the variety
ripens through a long period. Bush moderately vigorous
and does not sucker as much as some. Very productive
in the South. Very susceptible to rust. Not hardy in the
north. Would be a most desirable variety in the South
except for rust; it is the most widely grown there.
Eldorado.-Ohio origin. Berries medium to large,
firm, sweet, quality very good. Season early to medium
and long. Bush very vigorous, hardy and productive.
The most resistant to rust of any of the widely known
varieties. One of the best varieties in most of the sec-
tions adapted to blackberries east of the Rocky Moun-
tains except the extreme South and northern New
Erie.-Pennsylvania origin. Berries medium to large,
very firm, acid till ripe, quality very good. Season
medium. Bush very vigorous, hardy, productive. Sus-
ceptible to rust. Grown to a limited extent in the North-
eastern States and in Missouri.
Evergreen.--(Black Diamond, Star, Wonder, Ewing
Wonder, Everbearing, Atlantic Dewberry).-Origin un-
BLACKBERRY CULTURE 33
known, but grown in Europe since 1809. Berries large,
firm, sweet, quality very good, seeds large. Season late
to very late and long. Bush vigorous, tender, productive,
deep rooted and drought resistant; canes semi-trailing,
perennial in some sections, but they should always be
trained as though they were biennial like other varieties;
root at tips. One of the best varieties in Oregon and
Washington, but not generally adapted to the States east
of the Rocky Mountains, because the fruit is small and
worthless except in New Jersey, where it is grown con-
siderably with success. Planting distances, 6 by 6 feet
in New Jersey; 16 to 24 feet by 8 feet in Oregon and
Washington, according to conditions. This variety is
found growing in Oregon and Washington.
Haupt.-Texas origin. Berries large, fairly firm, quali-
ty good. Season very early. Bush very productive,
probably tender except in Texas and other Southern
States: canes trailing the first year, more upright the
second year: root at tips. Grown in central and eastern
Texas, where it is a desirable variety, ripening about two
days after the McDonald. Not liked in Missouri.
Himalaya.-California origin. This variety comes from
a central European form of blackberry and is the stan-
dard berry for its season in California, both for the home
garden and for local markets. It is grown slightly in
Oregon and Washington, but is not generally liked there
as well as the Evergreen. It is not adapted to the north-
ern part of the United States east of the Rocky Moun-
tains, but because it ripens later than other blackberries
it may prove of some value for home use and local mar-
kets in some parts of the South. In California the berries
are of medium size, rather soft, sweet, quality good to
very good. Season very late. Bush very vigorous, half
hardy, very productive in some sections; canes semi-
trailing; root at tips: perennial in California and in some
other regions. but biennial under some conditions. Plant-
ing distance 8 by 8 feet in southern California to 8 by 20
to 30 feet in Washington, the distance varying according
Iceberg.-California origin. Berries large, amber-
white, soft, quality very good. Season medium. Bush
half hardy. Desirable for home use because of its color.
Not adapted to market use.
King (Early King).-Berries medium to large, very at-
tractive in color, fairly firm, very sweet, quality very
34 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
good. Season early and short. Bush vigorous but low,
hardy, moderately productive, thorny. Susceptible to
rust. Adapted to the milder parts of the East.
Kittatinny.-New Jersey origin. Berries large to very
large, fairly firm, sweet, quality very good. Season
medium early. Bush vigorous, half hardy, productive.
Very susceptible to rust. Adapted to sections where rust
is not serious and where the climate is not severe. Grown
in many parts of the United States from the Atlantic to
Lawton (New Rochelle).-New York origin. Berries
large, soft when fully ripe, sweet, quality good. Season
medium. Bush vigorous, nearly hardy, productive, sus-
ceptible to rust. Grown extensively on the Pacific coast
and somewhat in all parts of the United States eastward
except in the South. Especially liked for canning.
McDonald.-Berries large, firm, quality very good.
Season very early, two weeks before Dallas and Early
Harvest. Bush very vigorous, range of hardiness not
known, very productive, drought resistant; canes trailing
the first year, more upright the second year, root at tips.
A blackberry-dewberry hybrid. Not a good pollenizer
and should be planted with another variety which blos-
soms at the same time. Grown in Texas, Oklahoma and
Mammoth.-California origin. Berries very large, soft,
sweet, quality very good. Season very early. Bush very
vigorous, tender, very productive; canes semi-trailing,
root at tips. Adapted to the milder parts of the Pacific
coast. Planting distances, 8 to 15 feet by 8 feet when
planted in rows; in hills, the same as for others. This
variety is self-sterile and hence should be planted with
another variety that blossoms at the same time.
Mersereau.-New York origin. Berries large, firm,
sweet, quality very good. Season medium and short.
Bush vigorous, hardy, productive, susceptible to rust,
fairly drought resistant. Grown throughout the northern
part of the Central-Western and Eastern States.
Rathbun.-New York origin. Berries large, firm,
quality good. Season early to medium. Bush is a vigor-
ous grower, suckers sparingly, half hardy, moderately
productive; root at tips. Very productive in some sec-
tions. A blackberry-dewberry hybrid. Not always a
BLACKBERRY CULTURE 35
good pollenizer. Susceptible to rust. Grown in sections
with mild winters east of the Rocky Mountains. Well
liked in some parts of Michigan and Oregon, but not as
popular elsewhere as other varieties.
Snyder.-Indiana origin. Berries of medium size, not
very attractive, firm, quality good. Season medium and
short. Bush vigorous, very hardy, productive, does not
produce many laterals. Does not rust as badly as most
varieties. Susceptible to dry weather. Not adapted to
heavy clay land. Grown in all parts of the United States
from the Atlantic to the Pacific except the South.
Taylor.-Indiana origin. Berries medium size, soft,
quality very good. Season late. Bush vigorous, very
hardy, moderately productive. Not very susceptible to
rust. Grown for a late berry from the Rocky Mountains
eastward except in the extreme South.
Ward.-New Jersey origin. Berries large, firm, sweet,
quality good. Season late. Bush vigorous, hardy, pro-
ductive. Grown in New Jersey and somewhat in the
northern part of the United States east of the Rocky
HYBRIDS AND NOVELTIES
Several hybrids of the blackberry and dewberry have
been classed in this bulletin with the blackberry. Hybrids
of the blackberry and raspberry have not been discussed.
As yet none of the many recent introductions of black-
berry species from different countries have proved to be
of commercial value. There is, however, little doubt that
varieties especially adapted to local conditions in each
section of the country will be found. The varieties de-
scribed in this paper are those which are best known at
the present time.
Besides being eaten fresh, the blackberry is dried,
canned, made into jam, jellies, and other preserves, and
pressed to extract the juice. Dried blackberries are not
used as much as formerly, because more convenient
methods of preserving have been developed.
The introduction of the lacquered-tin can, which does
not discolor the contents as does the ordinary tin when it
:6 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
comes in contact with this acid fruit, has assisted in the
rapid expansion of the blackberry canning industry. The
berries may be preserved in a sugar solution or, as is more
customary. preserved without sugar by heating. This
latter process is very inexpensive and is more satisfactory
for the trade, since berries put up in this way can be used
for many purposes for which berries preserved with
sugar would be unsuitable.
THEY WORK TOGETHER
The blackberry season follows the strawberry closely,
but does not overlap, and the market is ready for the
fruit. The same labor used with the strawberry crop can
be used in the blackberry fields, and the same sort of con-
tainers and packing boxes are used with each fruit,
making blackberries especially interesting to the straw-
Until very recent years the only blackberries known in
Florida were the wild blackberries of poor quality, which
came into bearing at a season when rains are scarce, with
the fruit dry and seedy except in very rainy seasons or
when the vines grew along the banks of streams. A Mr.
Balough, about 15 years ago found a wild blackberry
which bore a delicious fruit in large quantities. He im-
mediately started his propagation on a commercial scale
under the name "Eureka," and the plant also became
known under names "Balough" and the "Australian
Blackberry," causing confusion and misunderstanding,
until a commission appointed to settle the claims of the
various owners of the plants decided that these were in
reality but one variety, and gave it the name of the
USEFUL AND ORNAMENTAL
The Florida Marvel constitutes most of the commercial
plantings of blackberries around Bartow, though the
Topsy, designated as Rubus Probatulus, also does well in
Polk county soil.
The Florida Marvel is a hybrid and belongs to a group
designated as Rubius Velox. It grows well on low ham-
mock soil, which is often unsuited for other cultivation,
and seems to do well anywhere it can get plenty of mois-
ture and plenty of humus in the soil. It can be grown on
BLAC'KBERRY CULTURE 37
land rather dry in character if irrigation is supplied, par-
ticularly during the fruiting months. The vine is not self-
supporting and should he trained on a wire or trellis. It
is an evergreen and handsome enough to be used as an
ornamental. The Topsy is similar but does not require
THE YOUNGBERRY 39
ROY CLYDE WEIDLER
THE YOUNGBERRY, during the past several years,
has sprung into much favor throughout the nation. Its
rapid growth, its large luscious fruit, its marvelous and
delicate flavor and its exquisite color have won for it an
The Youngberry adjusts itself admirably to almost any
climate, and is being grown successfully in many sections
of America. It thrives with remarkable vigor in Florida.
So well is the Florida soil and climate adapted to the
growth of this berry, that it promises to become one of
the Sunshine State's most valuable crops.
It can be planted on any kind of well drained soil. It
grows rapidly, throwing out sturdy vines 10 to 30 feet in
length. It yields a prodigious crop of fruit which ripens
in Florida during the latter part of April or the first of
May, and continues to bear often well into July. The
berries average four to six times the size of an ordinary
raspberry, and when ripe, are dark cherry carmine in
color, and in flavor resemble very strongly the red rasp-
HISTORY OF THE YOUNGBERRY
The Youngberry is a hybrid, originated in 1905 by Mr.
B. M. Young of Morgan City, Louisiana. It is a cross be-
tween the Loganberry and the Austin dewberry. Some
of the original plants were given to Mr. J. F. Jones of
Jeanette, La., who later took them to Pennsylvania. In
November 1921 Mr. Jones sent a few of the plants to the
United States Department of Agriculture for testing.
These plants, upon fruiting, attracted instant attention,
and were immediately propagated and sent out to grow-
ers for trial. California and the Pacific Slope region have
been first to cultivate the Youngberry on a large scale,
and in many sections its popularity has superceded that
of every other berry.
THE GOVERNMENT RECOMMENDATION
The United States Department of Agriculture, in its
Year Book of 1927 tells us that "The Youngberry is re-
40 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
markable for its dessert and culinary qualities, vigorous
growth and disease resistance. Its fruit is large, deep
wine color, juicy, sweeter and richer than the Loganberry
or Lucretia dewberry. The plants are more vigorous,
propagate more freely, and are more resistant to disease
than either the Loganberry or dewberry."
ITS MANY USES
Youngberries are delicious with fresh cream and sugar.
For pies they are unexcelled. In California they head
the list of fruit pies, and command a price five cents high-
er than any other pie made. Youngberry jelly is crystal
clear and pure, and the dark wine color and the rich
raspberry red flavor are pleasing characteristics. They
lend themselves delightfully to canning processes, re-
quiring less sugar than other fruits, and producing most
The commercial value of Youngberries appears most
promising. Local markets should consume all the Young-
berries that can be raised for many years to come.
Bakeries doubtless will be eager to receive them for pies,
and the housewife and the caterer will seek them largely
for their tables. As a drink. Youngberry juice is in great
demand wherever it has been used. It is equal or superior
to that of the Loganberry. One gallon of berries makes
a trifle more than a half gallon of juice. The juice can
be cold packed in bottles, and sells for approximately
$3.00 per gallon.
Youngberries should be planted in the best soil avail-
able. Good drainage and a liberal supply of humus
bring best results. They will grow on poor soil. but as
they will pay the grower as well as any crop he can raise.
and better than many, they are entitled to the best pos-
sible environment and care. The soil should be well pre-
pared before the plants are set. The plant grows a deep
root and is able to secure moisture from a considerable
depth, and is therefore not injured by ordinary drouths.
The best time for planting Youngberries in Florida is
from November to May, although they can be safely set
out almost any month in the year. Plantings made during
the summer months, however, must be thoroughly water-
ed to insure firm establishment and good growth.
THE YOUNGBERRY 41
Plants should be set 7 to 10 feet apart in rows the same
distance from each other. In commercial culture the
rows should be farther apart if trucks are to be driven
between the rows for harvesting the crops. The vines
grow from 10 to 30 feet in length, and plants must be set
far enough apart to avoid crowding. The rows should
run north and south so as to allow equal sunshine on both
sides of the vines.
Youngberries, in Florida and all far Southern states,
should be pruned twice each year. The first operation
takes place just prior to harvest time. and the second im-
Shortly before berry ripening time all cane growth of
the current year may be pruned out. This may be done
one week, two weeks or several weeks prior to harvest-
ing, at the discretion of the grower. These early canes
are of no great value, because just as soon as they are cut
out new canes again spring up from the crown of the
plant, and ample growth for the following year's fruiting
is made before dormancy in the fall. On the other hand,
these early canes, if unpruned. Become, because of their
rankness of growth. effective sun barriers interfering
with normal fruit ripening, and also offer a most serious
hindrance to harvesting, as well as a stubborn obstacle to
cultivation. If these early canes are allowed to grow
they often become quite large and long, and will not pro-
duce as much fruit the following year as will the younger
and shorter canes that come forth after pruning. Na-
turally, in the colder climates, where the growing season
is shorter than in Florida, and where fruiting occurs in
the late summer or early fall, the new or current year's
canes are never cut. Only vines showing excessive
growth, or having "suckers" are ever pruned.
Youngherries bear this year's fruit on last year's vines.
Therefore, each year, after fruitage, or about the middle
of July, all the old vines that have borne fruit should be
taken down off the trellises and cut off close to the roots.
These old vines should be gathered and burned. Thus
once each year, namely, immediately after fruiting, the
plants are practically denuded of all vines. The current
year's canes have been cut off just prior to harvesting,
and the old canes soon thereafter. This condition affords
42 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
the grower a splendid opportunity to cultivate the soil,
repair trellises, substitute new plants for any weaklings,
-in short, to put his entire plantation in thrifty order for
the subsequent growth and the following harvest.
The new vines that will become the following year's
bearing canes, may be allowed to lie on the ground until
January, when they should be put up on the trellises
preparatory to the coming new crop. Some growers pre-
fer to put their new canes on the trellises as soon as they
attain suitable length, although this practice is not ap-
proved by experts who contend that such procedure often
results in diminished fruit production.
The fertilizing problem is always a local one which
each grower must solve for himself. Florida soils are
often lacking in the elements of fertility, and the applica-
tion of a complete fertilizer is usually necessary.
Three distinct processes of fertilizing for the first year
are recommended. The first is made as soon as the newly
set plants have become well established and are putting
on fresh leaves. Dairy farm or hen manure is most suit-
able as an initial stimulant to new and vigorous growth.
If these are not available, goat manure offers a splendid
substitute. Care should be taken that manure thus used
is old and well rotted, as fresh manure applied close to
the plants and roots will probably burn and damage
them. A liberal application of muck is also helpful.
A second application of fertilizer is made at the time
the vines are tied to the trellises, usually in January. If
commercial fertilizer is used, it should contain 3'; nitro-
gen, 10' phosphoric acid, and 8'. potash. The quantity
to be applied naturally varies with the types of soil and
with different growers. The usual application is about
500 to 700 pounds to the acre.
Another application of fertilizer containing a large
proportion of nitrogen should be made as soon as the old
vines have been cut off. Old barn yard manure, used in
liberal quantities, is most highly recommended. The pur-
pose of this application is to induce vigorous growth of
cane for the next season's crop.
It should be noted, however, that while the primary
purpose of fertilization is the stimulation of vine growth,
it is also possible to obtain too much cane growth and
foliage. This should be carefully watched, and where
the tendency of any plant is toward excessive foliage and
canes, the nitrogen content given to that plant should be
After the first year, of course, the initial application of
fertilizer which was made shortly after setting the new
plants, is not needed. Each grower will be able to regu-
late his own amounts to the general conditions of his
In practically all sections the canes are trained to wire
trellises. These are made by setting posts about 30 feet
apart in the rows, along which not less than two nor more
than four wires are strung. Posts should be at least
seven feet in length, and set two or two and a half feet in
the ground. When three wires are used they are strung
along the posts at levels of about 2' 3:Vi and 5 feet from
the ground. If two wires are used they are placed about
2 and 4 feet from the ground. No. 12 or No. 14 wire is
best suited for these trellises. Small sticks or laths may
be used between the posts lo support the wires.
Two distinct methods of training are in common use,-
the weaving system and the rope system. When the
weaving system is used, each cane is woven separately on
the wires, and the largest possible fruiting surface ex-
posed to the sunlight. When the rope system is used, all
the canes are brought up to the top wire in a bundle and
then wrapped around the different wires in subdivided or
smaller bundles. The weaving system requires much
more labor in putting up canes, but many competent
growers consider that the largest yield of fruit follow the
continuous use of this system.
One grower in California, where the Younglbrry has
had a longer test than in Florida, reports an average of
20,000 half pint boxes to the acre for three consecutive
years. Another reports 80,000 boxes from 51., acres six-
teen months after planting, and 92.000 boxes the second
year, giving an increase of more than 12,000 boxes the
second over the first year. These crops netted the grow-
ers more than $1,000.00 per acre.
44 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
As the vines ordinarily grow longer in Florida than
they do in California, the reasonable expectation is for
heavier yields here than there. In fact several local
growers, with smaller acreages, harvested in 1930 larger
quantities in proportion than the California yields.
Florida fruit also ripens more than one month in advance
of the California crop.
Propagation of new plants is best affected by the
utilization of the new canes in the late summer or early
fall. The tips of the canes are directed straight down-
ward and are buried 3 to 31 inches in well moistened
and well prepared soil. These will take root and form
new plants which can later be separated from the canes
and set out as independent units. Old canes do not pro-
duce as thrifty plants as the new canes, and attempting
to propagate by layering or burying the nodes in the
ground for new shoots is unsatisfactory.
During the first season vegetable intercrops that re-
quire frequent cultivation early in the season and which
do not continue beyond August, may be grown between
the rows. Some growers sow a cover crop through the
plantation, to be turned under at maturity. Besides add-
ing humus to the soil, such crops prevent the land wash-
ing during heavy rains that may fall during the summer
Thus far the Youngberry has maintained a remark-
able resistance to disease. While immunity from pests
and plant afflictions generally prevails for some time in
new hybrids, the Youngberry seems permanently destin-
ed to a life of freedom from any of the ravages that
harrass other types of brambles.
This does not mean, however, that growers should re-
lax their vigilance along these lines. Vines should be
examined carefully from time to time, and preventive
administered at the slightest evidence of any infestation.
It is a wise precaution to refrain from planting Young-
berries close to other types of berries, and especially
THE YOUNGBERRY 45
blackberries, so as to obviate any possibility of a transfer
of any kind of infection to the former.
In Florida it has been discovered that in some isolated
instances the common "leaf roller" during attacks upon
its regular prey, such as bougainvillea, roses, etc., has at-
tempted to include Youngberries in its activities. The
result has been negligible, and the stay of the pest has
been short. Should these appear, however at any time,
they can be easily controlled by a thorough dusting or
spraying of the leaves with arsenate of lead or calcuim
arsenate at standard strengths. Ordinary bordeaux mix-
ture should also prove effective. These, of course, should
not be applied near fruit ripening time.
The Youngberry is at its best when it is fully ripe,-
when it reaches the color change from the bright to dark
red or wine color. Much of its commercial and culinary
value depends upon proper and efficient methods of pick-
ing and packing.
When destined for the fresh fruit market the berries
must be picked several days earlier than when they are to
be canned, evaporated, used for jellies and preserves, or
crushed for juice. They should be firm, and the entire
surface deep red in color. In a properly matured condi-
tion they will part from the stems readily and without
necessity of severe pressure from the picker's fingers.
Berries are most efficiently picked when the pickers use
three instead of two fingers.
All overripe and injured berries should be placed in
separate cups and not mixed with the properly ripened
sound fruit intended either for the local market or long
distance shipments. Berries should never be sorted in
the boxes. Pint boxes are ordinarily used, and the wise
grower will supply his harvesters with modern equipment
including waist and hand carriers and clean firm boxes.
Berries should be cooled quickly after picking, and
their destination determined in accordance with their
condition. If they are to be evaporated they should be
very ripe when picked. If they are to be canned they
should be taken from the vines while still firm but thor-
oughly ripe. If they are to be used in the manufacture of
juice they should be allowed to ripen on the vines more
46 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
than if intended either for the cannery or the evaporator.
The fully dead of ripe berry will be almost black, and is
then past the age for market handling, but is at its best
for table or home use, or for converting into juice.
THE THORNLESS YOUNGBERRY
A recent achievement in Youngberry development is a
thornless plant, entirely devoid of brambles, and smooth
as a grape vine. Comfort in handling the canes; larger
harvest due to greater ease in reaching and picking the
fruit; hardy canes and greater fruiting surface are some
of the outstanding merits and advantages claimed for
this new marvel.