A New Double-Cropping Black Raspberry

Charlie O'DellBlack raspberries are native to Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic region, and seem to be loved by all! Most of us who come from this region grew up picking wild black raspberries along road-sides, in fence-rows, and along woods’ edges. Their intense, sweet flavor is part of our American culture, from Appalachia to the Pacific Northwest, and so we never outgrow these memories, nor the taste of black raspberries nor our longing for them. Twice over two decades, once in the early 1980s and once again in early 1990, we tried to commercially produce black raspberries, due to our U-Pick customers’ many requests over several years and by our fondness for these tasty, nutritious, easy-to-freeze berries. Both times we failed due to anthracnose disease that killed the plants after only two to three bearing years.

Several years later in 2001, with the advent of new plant-systemic fungicides, as well as being armed with information about raspberry anthracnose obtained from our Virginia Tech Plant Disease Clinic, we again planted black raspberries, just for home garden use, as we had retired from commercial production. This time we planted a newer black raspberry variety available at that time, Jewel. We planted using only virus-free tissue-culture-originated plants from a very reputable nursery. This planting has produced fine crops for 12 years by using late winter spray application of lime sulfur plus in-season sprays of newer plant fungicides as per label directions. By proactively working to prevent raspberry anthracnose, we believe other growers can profitably produce and market black raspberries, too.

Now, here is more really good news: Independent raspberry breeder Peter Tallman of Longmont, CO, has announced the U.S. release of a new cultivar of black raspberry named “Niwot.” This exciting new variety is the product of Tallman’s private breeding program that started in Poughkeepsie, NY, more than a quarter century ago with the discovery of a wild black raspberry that exhibited the primocane-fruiting trait. His persistent breeding work with subsequent progeny of that plant has now produced a cultivar that yields useful black raspberry crops in both floricane and primocane seasons! A U.S. plant patent for Niwot has been submitted.

Niwot is able to provide an attractive, productive primocane black raspberry crop starting in late August and continuing until first frost. Then, if the primocanes are over-wintered and treated the same as for a standard black raspberry cultivar, Niwot also produces a very attractive, productive floricane crop as well. The name Niwot is taken from a village in the vicinity of Tallman’s garden in Colorado. (The name rhymes with “My pot.”) Niwot is a replacement for a previous primocane-fruiting cultivar, Explorer, released by Tallman in 2008, which was found during evaluation trials to require an outside pollinator and was therefore abandoned as a commercial cultivar.

The Niwot raspberry is a vigorous, winter-hardy plant, with large, tasty fruit, and excellent production with dual seasonal cropping. (Photo credit: Peter Tallman)
The Niwot raspberry is a vigorous, winter-hardy plant, with large, tasty fruit, and excellent production with dual seasonal cropping. (Photo credit: Peter Tallman)

Wide Range Of Adaptability
The adaptability of Niwot to different climates and hardiness zones is still being worked out, but Tallman thinks that Niwot is adapted to at least USDA hardiness zones 5 to 7. Evaluators in Colorado, Oregon, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and other states have been favorably impressed with Niwot. There is some indication that Niwot might even survive and provide a floricane crop in USDA zones 4 and 3, although final determination will need to wait for further reports from evaluators. The shorter season length in zones 4 and 3 probably would not allow ripening of a useful primocane crop without protection.

In Tallman’s experience, Niwot is more vigorous than Jewel black raspberry and should be given wider in-row spacing; 3 to 4 feet or more is not unreasonable. Tallman feels that Niwot seems to be more vigorous if the plants are permitted to produce both primocane and floricane crops, making it a double-cropping black raspberry, not just a primocane-fruiting black raspberry. Tallman says that floricane production from his second-year Niwot plants in Colorado has been very impressive when compared to second-year Jewel plants, and the primocane crop from the same Niwot plants was excellent. For the floricane crop, the berry size of Niwot is slightly smaller than Jewel, and the flavor is comparable. For the primocane crop, the berry size of Niwot is similar to or larger than Jewel floricane berries, again with comparable flavor. Ramping up the propagation of Niwot plants to commercial quantities is under way, and availability of plants is expected for spring 2015. Very limited quantities of Niwot may be available in 2014.

Our former berry farm, now owned by Bill Sembello and family, is a Virginia cooperator test site for Niwot with Pete Tallman. Bill obtained and established these test plants from Pete in spring of 2012. They grew vigorously, over-wintered very well, and made good double crops in 2013 for such a young planting. Also, I talked with Michigan grower Gary Gleason, another cooperator trialing Niwot with Tallman. Gleason too was well pleased with both summer and fall crops of this new black raspberry on his farm at Belding, MI. Their positive results are exciting, strong evidence of the potential of Niwot to provide consumers with black raspberries both in summer and fall! Credit and thanks to Tallman for providing information about Niwot raspberry and for providing the photographs for this article.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

One comment on “A New Double-Cropping Black Raspberry

  1. I obtained a few of the niwot plants last spring from Fields. they have grown tremendously with canes now up to 6-8′ in length. They did not produce any fruit this fall on these primocanes. Also I’ve notices that several of the long drooping canes upon touching the soil have set root (I know tip layering).

    My questions are:
    1 ) should these canes be pruned back to say maybe 3-4′ in length as is done with red raspberries?
    2) should these primocanes be supported or trellised/?

Berries Stories
BerriesUC-Davis Responds To California Auditor’s Recommended Improvements To Strawberry Program
July 30, 2015
Following a six-month review of the University of California (UC)-Davis Strawberry breeding program, the California state auditor’s office has released Read More
BerriesDrought Doesn’t Stop Export Of California Strawberries To Canada
July 21, 2015
California’s No. 1 export to Canada, strawberries, consumes quite a bit of water during a time of extreme drought, according Read More
BerriesBlueberry Nursery Receives Trade Leadership Award
July 14, 2015
 Fall Creek Farm & Nursery, Inc., a global blueberry breeding and nursery stock company, received the 2015 Governor’s Trade Leadership Read More
BerriesRainy Weather Causing High Risk For Phytopthora In Berries
June 29, 2015
With the rainy weather the Midwest has recently received, the conditions for Phytophthora diseases increases. An increased risk for oomycetes, Read More
BerriesAdvantages Of Blueberry Renovation
June 18, 2015
Blueberry fruit on last year’s wood and blueberry bushes require annual pruning to maintain vigorous growth. If pruning is neglected, Read More
BerriesCaptan Gold 4L Fungicide Now Registered In California
June 16, 2015
ADAMA has received EPA approval for Captan Gold 4L liquid fungicide for use on strawberries, tree fruits, and other specialty Read More
BerriesState Audit Recommends Adjustments For UC-Davis Strawberry Program
June 9, 2015
Following a six-month review of the University of California (UC) Davis Strawberry Breeding Program, the California state auditor’s office today Read More
The Latest
BerriesNaturipe Farms Challenges Developers To Create The Blue…
August 21, 2015
Naturipe Farms LLC., the global leader in growing and marketing blueberries, is challenging creative technology minds to innovate a better Read More
BerriesScientist Has Sights On Shooting Down Spotted Wing Dros…
August 14, 2015
Study helps flush out possible biological control for dreaded fruit pest. Read More
UF/IFAS researchers studying strawberries for cold protection improvement
BerriesScientists Find Better Way To Save Strawberries From A …
August 10, 2015
Automated irrigation control can keep water usage in check during cold protection practices. Read More
BerriesUC-Davis Responds To California Auditor’s Recomme…
July 30, 2015
Following a six-month review of the University of California (UC)-Davis Strawberry breeding program, the California state auditor’s office has released Read More
BerriesDrought Doesn’t Stop Export Of California Strawberries …
July 21, 2015
California’s No. 1 export to Canada, strawberries, consumes quite a bit of water during a time of extreme drought, according Read More
BerriesBlueberry Nursery Receives Trade Leadership Award
July 14, 2015
 Fall Creek Farm & Nursery, Inc., a global blueberry breeding and nursery stock company, received the 2015 Governor’s Trade Leadership Read More
BerriesRainy Weather Causing High Risk For Phytopthora In Berr…
June 29, 2015
With the rainy weather the Midwest has recently received, the conditions for Phytophthora diseases increases. An increased risk for oomycetes, Read More
BerriesAdvantages Of Blueberry Renovation
June 18, 2015
Blueberry fruit on last year’s wood and blueberry bushes require annual pruning to maintain vigorous growth. If pruning is neglected, Read More
BerriesCaptan Gold 4L Fungicide Now Registered In California
June 16, 2015
ADAMA has received EPA approval for Captan Gold 4L liquid fungicide for use on strawberries, tree fruits, and other specialty Read More
BerriesState Audit Recommends Adjustments For UC-Davis Strawbe…
June 9, 2015
Following a six-month review of the University of California (UC) Davis Strawberry Breeding Program, the California state auditor’s office today Read More
BerriesSpotted Wing Drosophila: Small Fly – Big Problem
May 29, 2015
Entomologists from throughout the U.S. share their experiences and what you might expect from this formidable pest in 2015. Read More
BerriesThree Promising New Berries From USDA
May 27, 2015
USDA breeding programs in Maryland and Oregon have introduced three promising berry cultivars that could work well for growers both East Read More
Apples & PearsSolve Your Labor Problems From Within
May 26, 2015
Summer is here, which means harvest season is just around the corner. Hopefully you’ll have the crews you need this Read More
blueberries infield lime
BerriesHow To Maintain Optimum Soil pH In Blueberries
April 30, 2015
Blueberry fields with pH ranges out of the optimum (4.2-5.5) are common in many areas of blueberry production. I know Read More
blueberry roots
BerriesHow To Create Fast Growth For New Blueberry Plantings 
April 30, 2015
Avoid slow growth and plant death by maintaining adequate moisture levels. Read More
BerriesGetting Right To The Core Of Nutrient Management For Be…
April 29, 2015
The right source, at the right rate, at the right time, and in the right place helps you grow your berries more efficiently and effectively. Read More
drought sign water crisis
Apples & PearsDiversification: A Response To Drought [Opinion]
April 27, 2015
With Governor Jerry Brown’s announcement of mandatory use reductions, the general public in California is getting a wake-up call on Read More
BerriesWebinar To Offer Management And Monitoring Tips For Spo…
April 27, 2015
Trapping tips, cultural controls, and how to test fruit will be among the topics covered by experts from Ohio State Read More