Our on-farm experience with several raspberry varieties over the last 20 years at Lakeview Farms.Canby Red Raspberry
Canby is an excellent all purpose Raspberry: good size, good flavor, good color, firm (as firm as a Raspberry ever gets) and completely thornless.
Canby is not as winter hardy as it should be for Missouri, so in years with a late season cold snap like 2001 and 2002, we get considerable cane damage and a smaller fruit crop. Customer acceptance for this variety is excellent but the year-to-year variability in crop size due to winter injury creates real marking problems. This variety is very susceptible to raspberry leaf spot (similar to leaf spot on roses) and must be sprayed with a protective fungicide post harvest season more often than I would prefer. Canby also performs rather poorly on clay soil and phythophora root rot is a major problem. We will gradually eliminate Canby from our planting over the next few years.
Prelude is a very early raspberry which seems to be gaining in popularity across the country. Its rounded shape is similar to Heritage and it is reported to have good winter hardiness and some resistance to root rots and leaf spot. Like Nova and Anne, it will also produce a modest fall crop of berries. The flavor of Prelude is very mild -- like Reveille but it is a little more prickerish. Like Heritage it has a tendency for the berry clusters to bend downward making two handed picking (one hand holding up the can while the other picks berries) essential. Customers who cruise down the rows without picking up fruiting branches will have considerable difficulty finding the ripe berries.
We planted 600 Prelude plants for trial in 2007. In August 2007, the ripe Prelude held up exceptionally well in very hot temperatures (90 to 100º F for most of August) and showed very little tendency to sunburn like Heritage or Reveille. The quality of the fruit that I picked in late August 2007 seemed acceptable even though I generally prefer a more favorable (acidic) berry like Heritage. Since the main fruiting season occurs in the normally cooler month of September here in St. Louis, this could be the long sought after fall fruiting replacement for Heritage.
For 2007, Prelude produced an excellent first year crop right up to the first hard freeze in late October although most U-Pick customers tended to miss all the berries on the underside of the plant.
In 2008, both my customers and I continue to be quite impressed with our new Prelude Red Raspberry. Besides producing an excellent crop of very early June raspberries that complemented the strawberry season, the Prelude also produced an excellent fall crop of large, tasty, and easily picked berries in the cooler part of September & October that meshed nicely with the pumpkin season. Even though we were closed to customers, I continued to pick Prelude for my own breakfast cereal well into mid November !!
Between 2009 and 2012 Prelude continued to perform quite well and has became a customer favorite. Unfortunately, it also the "go to" raspberry for Japanese Beetles, Cucumber Beetles, and Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) and requires frequent sprays during the September-October late season to keep Japanese beetles from completely defoliating the new cane growth and Cucumber Beetles & SWD from causing premature berry spoilage.
In 2012 the very early spring and long "fall" harvest season created perhaps too large a fall crop. While large crops are usually "good" things, the 2012 planting requiring extensive blossom and fruit cluster removal throughout late summer and early fall to keep the crop manageable and avoid excessive overripe fruit. Excessive summer pruning can also spread crown gall from one plant to another (see below).
In early spring 2013 we began to notice a significant number of canes in our newest Prelude rows were also infested with crown gall (like our older Nova rows). Evidently, Prelude is one of the few Red Raspberries, like Titan and Nova, that is very susceptible to this bacterial disease. This bacterial disease will weaken the canes and eventually render the planting economically unproductive. I suggest that anyone planting new Prelude canes use a preventative Agrobacterium radiobacter strain 84 root inoculant like Galltrol-A. Unfortunately, Galltrol cannot "cure" an established infection. Overall, 2013 was a very trying year for Prelude. Scattered crown gall, severe leaf spot problems and spider mite damage dramatically affected new cane foliage and probably will have a negative impact on the 2014 crop. While Japanese Bettles were not a significant problem in 2013, Cucumber Bettles, Spider Mites, and Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) outbreaks necessitated almost weekly insecticide sprays during the fall raspberry season (August-October).
Nova is a very pretty dark red raspberry with good flavor and size. It was developed in Canada so it possesses excellent cold tolerance and should be a much more dependable berry than Canby. It also produces a modest fall crop in the cooler part of September.
June 2003 :Most customers found this variety to be a little more tart than Canby and difficult to pick off the bush unless it was totally ripe ( a dark red color).
September 2003: The fall crop of Nova in 2003 was disappointing -- quality was fine but very few berries were produced which led to some customer unhappiness.
2004: I was generally impressed with Nova and planted three new rows for harvest in 2005. The September 2004 crop of Nova was again modest but of reasonable quality.
In 2005 Nova looked like a real winner -- best size and color of all our early raspberry varieties although some people still objected to the tart taste. Customer acceptance overall was excellent. Nova seems to perform well on our heavy clay soil and no leaf spot and phythophora root rot has been observed in the planting for over three years! Nova seems as firm a berry as Canby and shows very little sunburn except under the most extreme heat and UV conditions.
In the spring of 2011 I noticed several Nova canes from our first planting (2002) were infected with crown gall. This is a very serious, debilitating disease that reduces plant vigor and eventually renders the planting economically unproductive. Crown Gall was the principal reason in 2002 that we abandoned 2 acres of Shawnee blackberries located about 1,000 feet away from the Nova planting. Evidently, Nova is one of the few Red Raspberries, like Titan, that is very susceptible to this bacterial disease. I suggest that anyone planting new Nova canes use a preventative Agrobacterium radiobacter strain 84 root inoculant like Galltrol-A. Unfortunately, Galltrol cannot "cure" an established infection.
In 2013 Nova performance was fair to good and spray requirements were minimal due to its very late season.
Reveille is similar in appearance and flavor to Canby but with much more tolerance to the alternating freeze and warm weather patterns of St. Louis so it seems to be more winter hardy. It's fruit is somewhat softer than Canby and more prone to sunburn injury and does hold up as well in the hot late June weather we sometimes have. We planted only 150 feet of this variety for trial in 2002.
2003: Reveille appears to be a very productive raspberry but seems more susceptible to sunburn than Canby or Nova. The fruit flavor is relatively mild (some would say bland) with low acidity
2004: We planted three new rows of Reveille for fruiting in 2005. During 2004, Reveille was our top performing raspberry.
2005: The extremely hot June weather was fairly tough on Reveille -- considerable sunburn and smaller berry size was noted although this variety continued to be very productive. The early harvest(during the strawberry season) is a big marketing plus although we did need to irrigate raspberries twice for frost control in the spring -- only the second time in 15 years.
2007:We saw severe raspberry leaf spot after harvest on the Reveille. Use of the same fungicide used for Canby seemed to stop future infection but the plants were set back somewhat by loss of lower foliage.
2012: While Reveille may not be the "flashiest" new variety, the planting has held up now for over 10 years. Productively remains good and PYO customers remain quite satisfied with the quality of fruit. Unfortunately, there very few Nurseries now that have Reveille available for sale.
2013: Another good year for Reveille! Some minor problems with leaf spot and spider mites was encountered.
Heritage is probably one of the best flavored raspberries ever grown. Jam made from Heritage raspberries is both excellent flavored and extremely attractive in color and appearance.
The down sides to Heritage are its slightly smaller size, attractiveness to stinging insects, and moderate prickerish canes. It is prone to sunburn injury and must be irrigated intermittentlyif the temperature gets hot enough. Small berry size and the tendency to fruit in the hottest part of the St. Louis summer has been a big problem these last three years in a row (2001, 2002, and 2003).Starting with 2004, Heritage will be eliminated from our planting -- Nova Prelude will probably be the next best alternative. See above description.
Anne is a late season raspberry with very large size. It does tend to be fairly acidic (tart) in warm weather and appears much more prone to sunburn injury and turning soft than Heritage. Customers either love or hate the unique flavor. As it gets cooler late in the season these berries will display a rose blush and tend to be not as acidic. We will generally prune this variety for a mid June harvest to avoid some of the problems encountered during the very hot months of July and August.
June 2003: The color and flavor of the berries on floricanes canes left unpruned from 2002 were much improved from last August but this berry still seems especially prone to mold so we will need to spray it with a fungicide during the bloom period like Strawberries. Winter injury on canes left to fruit the next year is usually similar to Canby so June cropping is not as dependable as I would prefer.
June 2004: Customer acceptance is improving but winter injury of floricanes was a severe problem.
June 2005: Surprisingly enough, Anne seemed to hold up fairly well in the ungodly hot late June weather and customer demand was excellent but early leaf spot was a severe problem. Although Anne fruits almost continuously from mid June to mid October, the fruit during July, August and early September tends to be extremely soft, prone to sunburn, smaller size, and more acidic in taste. Anne seems extremely fussy about soil and performs poorly in shallow loam or heavy clay. In good loam(>12") Anne can be a very vigorous variety and sucker (spread via roots) very well.
June 2007: Anne was pretty much a total loss for spring harvest due to the Easter freeze.
September 2007: Anne was a total loss the the "fall" harvest in August and September due the consistently hot temperatures in the St. Louis area. Pruning off the fruiting canes after the Easter freeze actually seemed to push up the fall harvest even earlier. Some root rot (phytophthora) problems are becoming evident now. This variety was eliminated in spring 2008.
March 2011: We planted about 300 ft. of Fall Gold Yellow Raspberries that should be first harvested in June 2012. Fall Gold is an old variety that I used to grow in our home garden. It has very soft, medium sized fruit but an unworldly good flavor -- much better than Anne.
April 2011: We planted about 100 ft. of Honey Queen Gold Yellow Raspberries that should be first harvested in June 2012. Honey Queen is a very hard-to-find golden raspberry that was developed by Mr. Robert Erskin of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada, and currently grown in Montana so this is obviously a very winter hardy variety. While the canes tend to be moderately prickerish (like Prelude) with arched growth habit, the "honey sweet" flavor, and amber color more than compensate for the picking scratches. This is definitely a "gourmet" variety !
March 2011: We planted about 300 ft. of Jewel Black Raspberries that should be first harvested in June 2012. Jewel comes highly recommended because of it's winter hardiness, disease resistance, and fine flavored fruit.