Monitor crown health. Plan course of action if damage is evident.
Plan plant pickup, field planting layout, planting labour, etc.
Thin floricane raspberries or remove spent floricanes.
Mow to ground and remove last year’s growth from primocane raspberries.
Remember that using spun-woven fabric row covers will increase earliness and yield of primocane raspberries.
Make first application of nitrogen (N) at month’s end with the snow melt and second application in mid-May:
- floricanes - 20 to 40 lb actual N per acre for each application, for a total 40 to 80 lb N per acre yearly
- primocanes - 30 to 60 lb actual N per acre for each application, 70 to 120 lb N per acre yearly
- adjust rate if banding
Prune or thin:
- dead, diseased, low-spreading branches before bud break
- branches greater than or equal to the size of a loonie
If regenerating or renovating entire orchard, mow entire orchard.
When planning new fields that will eventually be mechanically harvested, consider:
- lay of the land - slope, flat etc.
- rows in line with prevailing winds and shelterbelts
- not mixing varieties
- keeping Saskatoon berries and chokecherries separated
- row spacing for machine harvesting should be 5 to 6 m, or 16 to 20 feet
- ensuring sufficient headland area for turning harvesters around
- choice of varieties - choose varieties that ripen uniformly
- ease of irrigation set up, proximity to water, delivery
- grassing requirements
- Some vegetable transplants may be started this month, but only those that require 6 or more weeks to grow, such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplants.
- Ensure that soil preparation and planting equipment has had required maintenance and has been calibrated properly.
Marketing - generalities
Take a look at all of your existing product market outlets for each crop:
- determine if they are adequate
- make adjustments, if necessary
- do this for projected markets as well, as it never hurts to be prepared
Do a review of your pricing:
- is it adequate?
- has anything changed that might allow or require price adjustments?
When soil conditions permit, carry out soil sampling if it was not done in the fall. Calcium, magnesium, sulphur, sodium are important components, in addition to main macronutrients - nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium.
Do a last minute check up on all equipment that you are going to use this spring, if you haven’t done this already.
Depending on what sort of spring you are having, some field preparation activities may be possible.
Final planning of planting and packing layout.
Prepare rough summer schedule for planting, spraying, irrigation, etc.
Go and visit another grower.
Pest monitoring and management
Brush up on disease and insect pest identification.
Consider if any specific monitoring is required, based on past seasons, and make plans.
With Saskatoon berries, if plants progress rapidly, first Decis application may be required at month’s end, between green tip to bud elongation.
Connect with the Alberta Ag-Info Centre:
Hours: 8 am to 5 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 310-FARM (3276)
For media inquiries about this article, call Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s media line: