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Growing Healthy Brambles. Anne DeMarsay Regional Specialist, Fruit Pathology Maryland Cooperative Extension Upper Marlboro, MD. What Is A “Bramble”?. Any plant belonging to the genus Rubus Member of the rose family (Rosaceae) Close relatives include strawberry and rose

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growing healthy brambles

Growing Healthy Brambles

Anne DeMarsay

Regional Specialist, Fruit Pathology

Maryland Cooperative Extension

Upper Marlboro, MD

what is a bramble
What Is A “Bramble”?
  • Any plant belonging to the genus Rubus
  • Member of the rose family (Rosaceae)
    • Close relatives include strawberry and rose
    • More distant relatives include apple and pear
  • Brambles have perennial crowns with biennial shoots
    • 1st year primocanes grow vegetatively
    • 2nd year floricanes bear fruit and die
bramble types
Bramble Types
  • Red raspberries (includes gold/yellow)
    • Floricane-bearing (summer) raspberries bear fruit on 2nd year canes
    • Primocane-bearing (fall or everbearing) raspberries bear fruit on 1st year canes
  • Black raspberries
    • Purple raspberries (black/red hybrid) grown like black
  • Blackberries
    • Thorny
    • Thornless

Viral Diseases

Raspberry Mosaic Disease Complex(BR/RR, aphids)

Tomato Ringspot(RR, nematodes)

Raspberry Leaf Curl(BR/RR, aphids)


Bacterial Diseases

Crown & Cane Gall

Fire Blight

fungal diseases
Fungal Diseases
  • Soilborne diseases
  • Cane blights
  • Orange rust
  • Powdery mildew
  • Fruit rots

Phytophthora Root Rot

Verticillium Wilt

Soilborne Diseases


Cane Blights

Botrytis Cane Blight




Cane Blights

Cane Blight

Spur Blight(RR)


Fruit Rots


Botrytis Fruit Rot(Gray Mold)


Fruit Rots

Late Leaf Rust(RR)

growing healthy brambles14
Growing Healthy Brambles
  • Managing bramble diseases requires using a “toolkit” with many different tools
    • Suitable varieties: Choose varieties adapted to your site, with disease resistance where possible
    • Healthy stock: Buy clean, virus-indexed plants from a reputable source
    • Sound cultural practices from site selection through postharvest handling of fruit
    • Appropriate chemical controls: Use a season-long protectant fungicide program for diseases that respond to chemical controls
why cultural practices
Why Cultural Practices?
  • First line of defense against all pathogens—and the only control for some
  • Objectives
    • Reduce or eliminate the pathogen population
    • Create an environment that discourages infection and disease development
    • Improve the effectiveness of fungicides by allowing better penetration and coverage
choose a favorable site
Choose a Favorable Site
  • Excellent drainage—no wet feet!
  • Full sun
  • Air circulation that promotes rapid drying of plants
    • Plant rows in the direction of prevailing winds if possible
    • In warmer areas, plant brambles on north-facing slopes to avoid solar heating in winter
choose a favorable site17
Choose a Favorable Site
  • Compatible cropping history
    • No history of Phytophthora root rot
    • No history of Verticillium wilt (5–10 yrs) or recent planting of susceptible crops (brambles, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes)
    • No recent history of crown gall (2–3 yrs)
    • No nearby bramble plantings or wild brambles that cannot be removed (500–1000-foot buffer)
    • Be aware of any residual herbicides
prepare the site
Prepare the Site
  • Test for soil organic matter (4–6% is ideal) and add “green manure” or compost as needed
  • Test for harmful nematodes (dagger and root-lesion nematodes)
    • Reduce populations by biorenovation with rapeseed (1 or 2 crops) or fumigation
  • Control perennial weeds
prepare the site19
Prepare the Site
  • Create raised beds to improve drainage
  • Remove any wild brambles and wild (multiflora) roses within 500 to 1000 feet
  • When replanting, consider crop rotation to reduce populations of soilborne pathogens and nematodes
after planting
After Planting
  • Manage the canopy density (plant spacing, row width, and cane length) to speed drying
  • Avoid excessive fertilization
    • Increases drying time in plant canopy
    • High N can promote gray mold (Botrytis)
  • Inspect the planting for disease and injury
    • Rogue (remove) plants with symptoms of orange rust or viruses
    • Avoid injuring plants during field operations
after planting21
After Planting
  • Control weeds, including wild brambles and roses
    • Speeds drying of canopy
    • Removes reservoir for pathogens and insect pests
  • Prune only when necessary and in dry weather
  • After harvest, practice good sanitation
    • Remove and destroy old fruiting canes and any diseased primocanes
    • For primocane-bearing brambles, mow and remove all canes
got a question
Got a Question?

Anne DeMarsay, Ph.D.

Maryland Cooperative Extension

2005 Largo Road

Upper Marlboro, MD 20774-8508

Phone: (301) 627-8440


Photo credits

Healthy fruit: Edwin Remsberg for UMD AGNR Online Photo Archive

Diseases: APS Digital Image Collection, Diseases of Small Fruits