Bulletin No. 13 New Series August 1935
STATE OF FLORIDA
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
NATHAN MAYO, Commissioner
Claude L. DeVane and John
Prepared and Published in Co-operation with the College of
Agriculture, University of Florida, Gainesville
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 trailing
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 delicious 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 culti-
vation. 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
The raising of strawberries 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 perhaps
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 straw-
berries. Peppers, tomatoes, and corn are commonly used.
The United States Department of Agriculture credited
Florida with a total of 3640 acres of strawberries in 1928
(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.
FLORIDA STRAWBERRIES 3
At the present time not more than one-half the counties
in the State grow strawberries commercially. The counties
that grow the largest acreage in order of importance are
The above counties grow anywhere from 50 to 2,500
acres per county. In addition there are a considerable num-
ber of counties that grow anywhere from 1 to 10 acres each.
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 selec-
tion 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
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 drainage is gen-
erally good, only the lowest parts of the type ever being
covered by standing water. Such soil is fairly retentive
of moisture and is saturated at relatively shallow depths
owing to the presence of more or less impervious sub-
On land where the drainage is not very good, it will be
necessary to bed up the land so as to provide thorough drain-
age at all times. An example of land bedded so as to pro-
vide drainage is given in Figure 1.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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 strawberries
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, crota-
laria, or some other good soil improving crop. It is neces-
sary 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 thoroughly
disked and worked into a good condition, the beds are laid
off three feet apart 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, depending on local con-
ditions, such as drainage, etc. As soon as the land is bed-
ded 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.
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, however, is never
used in Florida.
FLORIDA STRAWBERRIES 5
The single row system, as shown in Figure 1, is often
used in Florida. The beds are laid off three feet apart
and the plants set 12 inches apart in the row.
Fig. 3 Ground bedded up to insure good drainage. Planted two rows to the
bed, the most common practice in Florida.
The double row system, illustrated by Figure 3, is the
most popular system of planting. Here the beds are laid
off 41,4 or 5 feet apart, with two rows 14 to 16 inches apart
to the bed, and the plants 14 inches apart in the row.
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.
The last two systems are rarely used in Florida, as the
single and double row system seem to be generally preferred.
6 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
NUMBER OF PLANTS REQUIRED TO SET AN ACRE
Distance Apart Plants Per Acre
2 feet by 1 foot.. .............21,780
2 feet by 11/- feet........... ..14,520
3 feet by 1 foot.... .........14,520
31 feet by 1 foot ........ .... 12,446
21/2 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 beggarweed to be
turned under at least three weeks before the plants are to
The first application of commercial fertilizer is scattered
along on top of the beds and worked into the soil a week
or ten days before the plants are set. Some growers use
about 500 or 600 pounds per acre at this application 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 during the season, while some use as
much as a ton to the acre.
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% ammonia, 8%
available phosphoric acid, and 6% potash. Some growers
use about 1,000 to 1,200 pounds of fertilizer in two appli-
cations and the remainder a more highly concentrated fer-
tilizer as a side dressing. Great care must be used if this
is done to prevent burning the roots and injuring the plant.
Strawberries require a slightly acid soil. Lime and un-
leached ashes should not be used, as they are injurious 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
Fig. 5. Strawberries planted three rows to the bed. This method is not used
a great deal in Florida. Note how the ground is bedded up.
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. 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 varieties
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
expects to plant to strawberries. By planting this number
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
8 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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 and culti-
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
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 phos-
phoric 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 ad-
vantages 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 September 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 remain
in the nursery until September, the plants should be loosen-
ed 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 transplanted to the field.
When it is desired to make both early and late plantings,
good quality plants may be secured from the June or July
planting for the later planting.
FLORIDA STRAWBERRIES 9
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, however,
to see that only strong, healthy, vigorous plants are bought.
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 state that produce the early straw-
berry crop each year as well as the acreage, production,
and price per quart in each state from 1924 to 1928 inclu-
sive. 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 re-
ceived by other states, as the Florida crop is usually the
earliest to reach the markets.
TABLE NO. 1. STRAWBERRIES, EARLY COMMERCIAL CROP; ACREAGE, PRODUCTION, AND PRICE PER QUART, BY STATES,
State Acreage Production Price Per Quart 2
1924 1925 1926 1927 I 1928 1924 1925 1926 | 1927 J 1928 1924 1925 1926 11927 11928 3
3 II [ 3 [ I 3 I I
1,000 1,00 1,000 1,000 1,000
Acres AcresAcres Acres Acres Quarts Quarts Quarts Quarts Quarts
Alabama ............ 3,960 3,440 3,620 4,520 5,380 5,544 5,504 5,140 7,924 11,836 $0.13$0.16 $0.18 $0.15|$0.16
Florida ............. 4,690 4,2401 2,980 3,680 3,640 8,676 8,056 5,513 6,900 5,096 0.27 0.26 0.35 0.29] 0.35
Louisiana ........... 14,600 10,340 18,590 21,100 23,200 17,885 10,340 24,975) 16,711 33,083 0.27! 0.33J 0.29| 0.231 0.23
Mississippi 1,1190 1030! 890 27
Mississippi .......... 1,1190 1,160 920 600 1,000 1,428 1,276 1,104| 960 1,500 0.181 0.19 0.27 0.201 0.18
Texas ............... 1,070 980 7201 1,200 1,850 1,2841 1,0781 1,056 2,520 2,830 0.181 0.181 0.29 0.22 0.20
------------------------------------I----------------- --- --I----I-
3 Data for 1924 from Yearbook of Agriculture, 1927, p. 859.
1 From Crops and Markets, December, 1928, p. 465.
2 Average for season.
FLORIDA STRAWBERRIES 11
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
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, conserve
moisture, and keep the land in good physical condition until
the mulch is applied. The mulch is usually applied in No-
vember 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 ap-
plied, after which only hoes are used for cultivation. All
cultivation of berries must be shallow, as deep cultivation
with either hoe or plow will injure 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 straw-
berries will depend entirely on local conditions. Some soils
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 require more
hoeing and cultivating to keep the weeds down.
12 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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 removed 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 or 1x10 inch boards with the
edges nailed together so as to make"V"-shaped troughs.
These are made in any length convenient to handle. When-
ever 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 between the rows for con-
venience in handling.
When good strong plants are set, they will begin to bloom
in from 50 to 60 days after setting, and when conditions
are favorable ripe fruit may be produced in from 60 to 70
days. The harvesting period usually begins about Thanks-
giving 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 there-
fore requires special care in harvesting, packing and ship-
ping to market. The berries should be picked by taking
hold of the stem and pinching it off, leaving 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
FLORIDA STRAWBERRIES 13
Fig. 7 Picking strawberries in Florida. Note corn as companion crop.
Courtesy Extension Service, U. S. D. A.
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 layers 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 refrigera-
tors. "The refrigerators are constructed to hold 32, 64, and
80 quarts, respectively.1 The 80-quart size is used most
generally, as it holds more ice and will carry longer dis-
tances 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 re-
inforced. It is a strong box capable of carrying a weight
14 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Fig. 9. Packing strawberries 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.
Courtesy Tampa Chamber of Commerce.
of 500 pounds or more. Each refrigerator is equipped with
an ice chamber, which is a galvanized box 4 inches wide
placed in a vertical position in the center of the refrigerator.
The berries are packed carefully around this ice chamber
up to the height of the center ice chamber. When the
berries are filled to the top of the center partition, an ice
pan about 6 inches 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.
S"The refrigerators are equipped with a drain pipe for
letting out melted ice. No icing of these refrigerators is
FLORIDA STRAWBERRIES 15
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 week's trans-
"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 strawberries,
one should write to the Florida Agricultural Experiment
Station, Gainesville, Fla., and the United States Department
of Agriculture, Washington, D. C.
BLACKBERRY CULTURE 17
NEW SERIES AUGUST, 1935
(Reprint of Farmers' Bulletin No. 643,
U. S. Dept. of Agriculture)
The use of the blackberry for canning and in the making
of jam is increasing the demand for this fruit. It is now
being grown profitably in many States, and in some sec-
tions its cultivation forms one of the important activities
of the farmers.
In this bulletin directions are given for the propagation,
planting, cultivation, pruning, and training of blackberries.
The leading characteristics of the principal varieties are
While proper cultural methods are essential for the suc-
cessful growing of this fruit, very much depends upon a
suitable selection of varieties for planting in different sec-
tions 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 important
variety for commercial purposes and for home use and local
markets the Mammoth and Himalaya are grown through-
out the State; in Oregon and Washington the Snyder and
Evergreen varieties are usually preferred; 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 southern Missouri and in Arkansas
the Early Harvest and McDonald; and in Texas the Dallas,
McDonald and Haupt varieties are desirable; in New Jersey
the Ward and Evergreen (Black Diamond) are recommend-
ed; and in the other Eastern States the Eldorado and Snyder
are widely grown.
Contribution from the Bureau of Plant Industry
WM. A. TAYLOR, Chief
Issued January 29, 1915. Revised March, 1918.
Reprint, January, 1922.
Washington, D. C.
18 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
By GEORGE M. DARROW
Scientific Assistant, Office of Horticulture and Pomological
According to the reports of the 1910 census, there were
in the United States 49,004 acres devoted to the cultivation
of blackberries and dewberries.
Table I shows the distribution of this acreage by states.
As dewberries are not grown extensively, except in certain
southern states and New Jersey, the area devoted to black-
berries in most of the states is not materially different from
the figures given here
Table I.-Acreage Devoted to Blackberries and Dewberries in the
United States in 1909, by States.
Geographic Division and State Acreage
New England States:
M aine ......................... ................. 145
New Hampshire .................................. 67
Verm ont ......... .............................. 47
Massachusetts ................................... 287
Rhode Island .................................... 16
Connectnicut ..................................... 128
Middle Atlantic States:
New York ...................................... 1,951
New Jersey ............................. ....... 4,332
Pennsylvania .............. ......... ...... 1,235
East North-Central States:
Ohio ................................... .. 2,425
Indiana ................................... ...... 1,347
Illinois ......................................... 3,503
M ichigan ........................................ 2,973
W isconsin ....................... ............ 407
BLACKBERRY CULTURE 19
Geographic Division and State Acreage
West North-Central States:
M innesota ................ ... .. .............. 145
Iowa .............................. ....... 2,279
M issouri ................. ...... .......... 5,975
N orth Dakota .................. ................ 2
South Dakota ............... .................... 5
N ebraska ........................................ 428
Kansas ................................ ......... 2,682
South Atlantic States:
Delaware ........................... .......... 1,256
Maryland .......... ........................... 1,180
District of Columbia ............................. *
Virginia ........................................ 344
W est Virginia ................................... 1,292
N orth Carolina ................................... 1,233
South Carolina ........ ........................... 38
G eorgia ...................... .................. 67
Florida .......................................... 13
East South-Central States:
K entucky ........................ ...............
Tennessee ..................... ...............
A labam a ............ ............. .............
M ississippi ................. ................... I
West South-Central States:
Montana ............. ............................. 34
Idaho ......................................... 170
W yoming ................................... *
Colorado ........................................ 228
N ew M exico ..................................... 10
U tah .............. .... .............. ........ 95
Nevada ............ ... ................ 1
W ashington .............. ..................... 769
Oregon ......................................... 431
California ........................... ............ 2,576
United States ........................... 49,004
Less than 1 acre.
The proportion of acreage has not materially changed since the
above table was made.
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 especially
adapted to the different regions, the superior size and
quality of the cultivated berries are beginning to be recog-
nized. Commercial varieties produce firmer fruit, which
can be held in good condition longer after picking. More-
over, by a proper selection of varieties fresh cultivated
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
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 qualities
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 if 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 important
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
BLACKBERRY CULTURE 21
provided suitable moisture conditions prevail. The finest
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
PREPARATIONS OF THE SOIL
The land 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 fall.
The roots of blackberries live for many years, but the
canes only last two years. These canes grow from the
crown in 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 the 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, especially
where the roots are cut. New plants are usually secured
by digging up these suckers, and when the suckers are
vigorous this method of starting new fields is very satis-
22 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Another method used by nurserymen during the fall
or early spring in order to secure new plants is to dig
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 dewberry
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
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 generally
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 of 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
BLACKBERRY CULTURE 23
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.
Planting distances for the Evergreen and Mammoth varie-
ties are given with their descriptions on later pages. This
planting system allows cultivation in but one direction.
When cultivation in both directions is desired, the plants
are usually set 5 feet by 5 feet; this distance may be in-
creased 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 through-
out the season. It should usually be discontinued 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 blackberry 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 increases the number of suckers. The
deeper the soil and the more thorough its preparation be-
fore the plants are set, the deeper will be the position of
the roots. Frequent cultivation is of greater importance
24 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
during the growing and ripening season of the berries than
at any other time, since more moisture is required then.
The fruit, foilage 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 before 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
Stable manure is the best fertilizer to use, for in addition
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, although 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 plowed 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 there-
fore be kept in rows or hills ,and all suckers appearing be-
tween 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 requires 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, the old
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 them 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 allow-
ed to grow in one season, and all in excess of this number
should be cut out not later than the time of the removal of
the old bearing canes. The remaining canes will be larger
and stronger because of the thinning.
The system of training varies in accordance with condi-
tions in different sections of the country. In some sections
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 21!. feet. When the bushes are very vig-
orous the height may be increased to 3 feet. As the canes
do not all reach the height of 21/ 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 sufficient 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 21/2 feet
above the ground. This keeps the canes upright and makes
cultivation and picking much easier.
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
posts from the ends of the cross-pieces. The blackberry canes
are simply kept inside these wires, which form a support,
for them on either side.
These systems of training are adapted to certain varieties
and to those sections of the country where the bushes do
not grow very high. When the canes grow very long or
are inclined to run somewhat like a grapevine, a much
26 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
higher trellis is used, with two wires, one about 5 feet and
the other about 3 feet from the ground, the height depend-
ing, of course, upon the vigor of the plants. The canes of
the erect varieties are simply fastened to the 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. Sometimes 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 adapt-
ed for use in home gardens than in commercial blackberry
fields. In localities where straw, hay, leaves or other mulch-
ing materials are very cheap, and where there is no serious
danger from fire, they may be profitably used on a com-
mercial 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 cultivation. It should not be applied,
however, in localities where there is danger of water stand-
ing on the soil at any time.
BLACKBERRY CULTURE 27
Each variety must be harvested according to its particu-
lar 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 become sweet.
The keeping quality of any variety is largely dependent
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, black-
berries 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 conditions 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 regu-
larly yield much more than 2,300 quarts in those sections
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 temper-
atures 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 temperatures, 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 circulates. Sometimes the soil is drawn away
28 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
from one side by means of a hoe or plow and the plants in-
clined 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.
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 sections
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 sec-
tions, where the humus supply is maintained and where the
crowns do not become diseased, the plantation may be kept
INSECTS AND DISEASES
It is essential for success in growing blackberries that
only plants free from insects and disease be planted. Crown-
gall and rust are serious and incurable, and all plants in-
fested 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, Wash-
ington, 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 Wisconsin,
Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colo-
rado and Montana, and those sections of the arid Western
States where hot, dry winds destroy the ripening fruit. In
the Northern States just mentioned the canes and frequent-
ly 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.
BLACKBERRY CULTURE 29
It is necessary to classify the varieties according to their
resistance to severe weather conditions. In the varietal
characterizations, pages 15 to 18, they are termed 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 tempera-
tures sometimes occur. A half-hardy variety 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 the frequent temperature changes which
occur in winter in certain sections of the Middle Western
State. The tender varieties are adapted to the Southern
States, where mild winters prevail. They will not stand
low temperatures and should only be planted where the
thermometer seldom 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, Mc-
Donald 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 blackberries
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, Ever-
green and Mammoth, the last four of which are rarely
grown successfully elsewhere. Even on the Pacific coast
there is such wide variation in temperature, winds and
moisture supply that some of these varieties 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 varie-
ties which are not sufficiently hardy. Inquiry among neigh-
boring growers will determine the varieties which have al-
ready proved successful, and the most promising of these
should be selected.
30 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The following characterizations are intended to aid the
prospective grower in his selection of varieties adapted 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
Blowers.-New York origin. Berries large, firm, acid
till ripe, quality good. Season medium, but the variety
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 vigorous,
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
BLACKBERRY CULTURE 31
long. Bush very vigorous, hardy and productive. The most
resistant to rust of any of the widely grown varieties. One
of the best varieties in most of the sections adapted to
blackberries east of the Rocky Mountains except the ex-
treme South and northern New England.
Erie.-Pennsylvania origin. Berries medium to large,
very firm, acid till ripe, quality very good. Season medium.
Bush very vigorous, hardy, productive. Susceptible to rust.
Grown to a limited extent in the Northeastern States and
Evergreen.-(Black Diamond, Star, Wonder, Ewing
Wonder, Everbearing, Atlantic Dewberry).--Origin un-
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 Wash-
ington, 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 considerably with
success. Planting distances, 6 by 6 feet in New Jersey;
16 to 24 feet by 8 feet in Oregon and Washington, accord-
ing to conditions. This variety is found growing wild in
Oregon and Washington.
Haupt.-Texas origin. Berries large, fairly firm, quality
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 Mc-
Donald. Not liked in Missouri.
Himalaya.-California origin. This variety comes from
a central European form of blackberry and is the standard
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 northern part of
the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, but because
32 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
it ripens later than other blackberries it may prove of some
value for home use and local market 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. Planting distance 8 by 8 feet in southern
California to 8 by 20 to 30 feet in Washington, the distance
varying according to vigor.
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 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 sus-
ceptible 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 the
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 blossoms at
the same time. Grown in Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri.
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. Adapated 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 a vigorous grower,
suckers sparingly, half hardy, moderately productive; root
at tips. Very productive in some sections. A blackberry-
dewberry hybrid. Not always a good pollenizer. Sus-
ceptible 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 as elsewhere as
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 may 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 Rock Mountains
eastward except in the extreme South.
Ward.-New Jersey origin. Berries large, firm, sweet,
quality good. Season late. Bush vigorous, hardy, produc-
tive. Grown in New Jersey and somewhat in the northern
part of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains.
34 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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 blackberry
species from different countries have proved to be of com-
mercial value. There is, however, little doubt that varieties
especially adapted to local conditions in each section of
the country will be found. The varieties described 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
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 containers
and packing boxes are used with each fruit, making black-
berries especially interesting to the strawberry grower.
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
BLACKBERRY CULTURE 35
bore a delicious fruit in large quantities. He immediately
started his propagation on a commercial scale under the
name "Eureka," and the plant also became known under
names "Balough" and the "Australian Blackberry," caus-
ing 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 "Florida Marvel."
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
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
land rather dry in character if irrigation is supplied, par-
ticularly during the fruiting months. The vine is not self-
supporting and should be trained on a wire or trellis. It
is an evergreen and handsome enough to be used as an orna-
mental. The Topsy is similar but does not require a trellis.
THE YOUNGBERRY 37
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 enviable
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 Sun-
shine 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 raspberry.
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 between
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 growers for trial. California
and the Pacific Slope region have been first to cultivate the
Youngberry on a large scale, and in many sections its pop-
ularity has superceded that of every other berry.
38 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
THE GOVERNMENT RECOMMENDATION
The United States Department of Agriculture, in its Year
Book of 1927 tells us that "The Youngberry is remarkable
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 dew-
berry. 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 higher 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 de-
lightfully to canning processes, requiring less sugar than
other fruits, and producing most excellent results.
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 available.
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 possible environment
and care. The soil should be well prepared 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 YOUNGBERRY 39
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 watered
to insure firm establishment and good growth.
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
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 immediately
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 harvesting, 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 be-
fore domancy 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 harvest-
ing, 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 produce as much fruit the fol-
lowing year as will the younger and shorter canes that come
forth after pruning. Naturally, 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 show-
ing excessive growth, or having "suckers" are ever pruned.
Youngberries bear this year's fruit on last year's vines.
Therefore, each year, after fruitage, or about the middle
40 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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 the grow-
er a splendid opportunity to cultivate the soil, repair trel-
lises, substitute new plants for any weaklings,-in short.
to put his entire plantation in thrifty order for the sub-
sequent growth and the following harvest.
The new vines that will become the following year's bear-
ing canes, may be allowed to lie on the ground until Jan-
uary, when they should be put up on the trellises prepara-
tory to the coming new crop. Some growers prefer to put
their new canes on the trellises as soon as they attain suit-
able length, although this practice is not approved by ex-
perts 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 lack-
ing in the elements of fertility, and the application 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 suitable
as an initial stimulant to new and vigorous growth. If
these are not available, goat manure offers a splendid sub-
stitute. 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 com-
mercial fertilizer is used, it should contain 3% nitrogen,
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.
THE YOUNGBERRY 41
Another application of fertilizer containing a large pro-
portion 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 purpose 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 pur-
pose 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 reduced.
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 regulate
his own amounts to the general conditions of his plantation.
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 21/', 3/4. and 5 feet from the
ground. If two wires are used they are placed about 2 and
41,/. 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 to support the wires.
Two distinct methods of training are in common use,-
the weaving system and the rope system. When the weav-
ing system is used, each cane is woven separately on the
wires, and the largest possible fruiting surface exposed 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 sys-
42 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
One grower in California, where the Youngberry has had
a longer test than in Florida, reports an average of 20,000
half pint boxes to the acre for three consecutive years. An-
other reports 80,000 boxes from 51/2 acres sixteen 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 growers more than
$1,000.00 per acre.
As the vines ordinarily grow longer in Florida than they
do in California, the reasonable expectation is for larger
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
Propagation of new plants is best effected by the utiliza-
tion of the new canes in the late summer or early fall. The
tips of the canes are directed straight downward and are
buried 3 to 31/2 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 indepen-
dent units. Old canes do not produce as thrifty plants as
the new canes, and attempting to propagate by layering or
burying the nodes in the ground for new shoots is unsatis-
During the first season vegetable intercrops that require
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 adding humus to the
soil, such crops prevent the land washing during heavy
rains that may fall during the summer months.
Thus far the Youngberry has maintained a remarkable
resistance to disease. While immunity from pests and
THE YOUNGBERRY 43
plant afflictions generally prevails for some time in new
hybrids, the Youngberry seems permanently destined to
a life of freedom from any of the ravages that harrass
other types of brambles.
This does not mean, however, that growers should relax
their vigilance along these lines. Vines should be examined
carefully from time to time, and preventive administered
at the slighest evidence of any infestation. It is a wise
precaution to refrain from planting Youngberries close to
other types of berries, and especially blackberries, so as to
obviate any possibility of a transfer of any kind of infec-
tion 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 attempt-
ed 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 calcium arsenate at standard
strengths. Ordinary bordeaux mixture should also prove
effective. These, of course, should not be applied near fruit
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 picking
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 condition
they will part from the stems radily 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.
MAR 1 9
44 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
All overripe and injured berries should be placed in sepa-
rate 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 thoroughly ripe. If they are
to be used in the manufacture of juice they should be al-
lowed to ripen on the vines more than if intended either
for the cannery or the evaporator. The fully or dead ripe
berry will be almost black, and is then past the age for
market handling, but is at 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 harv-
est 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