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Mulching Raspberry Overkill?

I planted six raspberry canes last year and two didn't make it. The bed had a bad case of couch grass that didn't help.

The situation is this. First I put compost around each of them and bought shredded bark mulch to go on top.
The two bags full, didn't stop the grass, within a week it grew right through it.
Then I decided to tarp over it with a permeable black fleece, but had to cut a rectangle out to fit the rasperries through and leave space for them to send up new canes. The grass is now growing there too. So I put dryed grass clippings on it. Is this too much of a good thing? How do I water this? Should I reduce the grass layer?
mulched raspberries.jpg

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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M(11/B)

It’s best not to push mulch material up against plants you are growing. You need to leave about 2 inches bare. You can put gravel or other permeable material against woody plants but not for raspberries since later they will grow all around the base of the crowns.

For a while, it would be best to just be diligent and hand pull the grass that grows at the base of the raspberries — wear kitchen gloves to protect from thorns as well as to get a good grip on the grass.

Use something like a sharpened spoon to scrape/hoe the grass as they come up (or you can buy specialty tools — they all cost like $25-30). I use a looped flat metal band with a handle and teeth on one edge sold as XL dog and horse grooming tool for careful weeding/hoeing around plants.

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