Top 10 Questions About Raspberries

By Amy Grant | May 17, 2020
Image by KateSmirnova
by Amy Grant
May 17, 2020

It can be disheartening to have your hard work in the garden go caput due to unforeseen challenges. That’s why it is the goal of Gardening Know How to help avoid these issues, or at the very least amend them, by providing the best information possible so your garden will flourish – and that includes answering the gardening questions that plaque us all. Here are our top questions about growing raspberry plants.

1) How to grow raspberries and which type?

Raspberries come in red, yellow/gold, purple or black and are either summer-bearing, which means they fruit once in the summer, or ever-bearing, meaning they fruit once in the summer and once in the fall. Once you have made a decision about the type of raspberry, be sure to look for only those cultivars that are suited for your region, then plant in the spring in well-draining, nutrient rich soil. Raised beds are ideal for folks in rainy climates. 

2) Do you need to plant more than one raspberry?

All raspberries are self-fertile, so no there is no need for to plant more than a single raspberry, but why wouldn’t you? If you love raspberries and want as many as possible, we recommend planting some summer-bearing and some ever-bearing berries. That way, you will get three separate crops and more berries.

3) Why aren’t raspberry plants producing?

Raspberries fruit on second year canes. This means that first year canes grow but don’t fruit until their second year. If your raspberry plants aren’t producing, it could be that the first year canes were either cut back inadvertently or died during the winter.

4) How to improve poor fruiting in raspberries?

Prune your raspberry bushes to facilitate more fruiting. Crowed canes lack sunlight and are prone to fungal diseases. Pruning lets in air and sunlight so the canes can fruit. Prune in the late winter. Prune the spent floricanes (2nd year canes) down to the ground. Also, cut out any canes that look puny or have damage. Then tie up all the healthy primocanes to a trellis system. Each raspberry plant should have 3-5 canes. It may look Spartan when you are finished but the raspberry brambles will now have plenty of air flow and sunlight penetration.

5)  What makes raspberry fruit crumble?

There are a couple of reasons for crumbly raspberry fruit. The reason the fruit is crumbly is because the drupes are not forming correctly, but the question is why? One likely culprit is crumbly berry virus. This virus is caused by tomato ringspot virus and spread by the dagger nematode which is facilitated by a number of weed hosts, most notably the dandelion. Raspberry leaf curl virus is another possibility which is caused by feeding aphids which stunt plants and deform berries. Crumbly berries may also be the result of broken or otherwise damaged canes that can’t uptake nutrients sufficiently to form complete berries.

6) When do you prune raspberry plants?

It depends on the type of raspberry. Prune ever-bearing raspberry plants in late winter, February, before new growth starts to appear in the spring. For summer-bearing raspberries, plant to cut back all the spent floricanes down to the ground in the fall.

7) Why do some of the raspberries have white spots?

White spots on raspberries are the result of white druplet disorder, which is caused by excessive sunlight or heat. It is most common on late season raspberry sets and while it looks odd, it is completely harmless and berries are still edible.

8) Can you plant raspberries in pots?

Absolutely, raspberries can be grown in containers. Select either a dwarf raspberry, thornless or fall-bearing raspberry to grow in a pot. Be sure that you have a spot with at least 6-8 hours of sun, a container with good drainage holes that is 24-36 inches (61-92 cm.) wide and deep and use an organic soilless potting mix.

9) How to tell what type of raspberry you’re growing?

Fruit color will help to determine if you have a red, black, or golden raspberry plants; otherwise, take a look at the bloom time to determine if you have a summer or ever-bearing variety. Summer-bearing raspberries will bloom at the tips of the cane in the spring and produce fruit in early summer, while ever-bearing or fall-bearing raspberries develop branches on first year canes which then flower late in the summer.

10) What is eating raspberry leaves?

While you may do battle with a variety of critters regarding your luscious raspberries, before the plant even fruits, you may be battling a different kind of pest. Rabbits, skunks, and chipmunks will nibble on raspberry leaves, but most growers already know that and plan accordingly by fencing off the berry patch. If this applies to you and yet the leaves on your raspberry have been decimated, the culprit is most likely a worm or insect. The raspberry fruitworm, raspberry sawfly, Japanese beetle, cutworm, and leafminer are all insects that have a ravenous appetite for raspberry foliage.

We all have questions now and then, whether long-time gardeners or those just starting out. So if you have a gardening question, get a gardening answer. We’re always here to help.

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