tcharp
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Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 5:20 pm
Location: Lubbock, TX

Raspberry challenges

About a month ago I planted some Canby raspberries, but not being much of a gardener, I didn't do anything to prepare the soil. It was my impression that raspberries were an extremely hardy plant that need little care.

I'm guessing that I was wrong. First I noticed that plant 2, six feet from plant 1, was looking pretty wilted days after planting. Yellowing and drying leaves. All the while plant 1 seemed to be doing great. Both plants were starting to produce the small white flowers expected. I pinched off some of the lower yellow leaves and increased watering a bit. While P2 seemed to perk up a little, it still wasn't doing nearly as well as P1.

As the yellowing issue seemed worse, a friend advised reduced watering. This produced extreme wilting and drying, even of green leaves, not to mention the yellow ones. Bad plan. Neither plant responded well to this. Now P1 is starting to show some of the same symptoms that P2 started out with.

The local nursery advice sprinkling some ferrous sulfate around the plant to help it green up. So we sprinkled some around the base of the plants and watered it in, but leaves are still drying up, turning yellow and falling off. All the while, new short canes at the bottom seem to be strong and looking nice. Older longer canes, now with small berries developing, aren't looking so good still.

Thankfully we are getting some rain today so I won't water, but I'm becoming very worried about these plants. Most advice I read says they need more water while fruiting but watering so much worries me and refraining from watering worries me as well.

I think the plants were improperly pruned, or not pruned at all, at the nursery, in order that they might sell them. It seems this variety should be pruned in early spring and these clearly weren't pruned, but they looked pretty well, at least until I took them home and planted them.

I understand now that I should have better prepared the ground, and probably planted further from the brick wall they are near, but my choices were limited and the wall is only on one side.

I would greatly appreciate any ideas about how to help this unprepared soil support these berries. I think they might do better if pruned correctly next time, if I can only keep them OK until Oct.

Thank you,
TC Harp

Pippin Limbertwig
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Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:22 pm
Location: SW Virginia (Appalachia)

Prune now

Hi tcharp,

Have you got another place you could prep nicely and transplant them into ?

Prune heavily now whether or not you move them.

Remove flowers and fruits from a weak plant.

This year should be about establishing roots.

Good luck - they really are tough -
Pippin Limbertwig

"Let us watch our beginnings, and the results will manage themselves." Alexander Clark

tcharp
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Posts: 5
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 5:20 pm
Location: Lubbock, TX

Thanks for the reply.

I'm going to refrain from replanting due to lack of choices on location, as well as what I think may be plants that are too weak to handle the transplant, although some nice rain these last few days coupled with some Alaskan Fish Emulsion fertilizer, just before the rain, seems to have brightened them up a bit.

I'm going to take your advice on pruning. After doing a little research on summer-bearing raspberries, it is abundantly clear that these were improperly pruned last Aug when all of the weaker or fruit bearing canes should have been removed. This is also evident in that there are a couple of new, 1 foot canes at the bottom of the weaker plant with look extremely healthy and vigorous. The more healthy plant, P1, seems to have been pruned with an entirely different mindset.

Once again, thank you for your advice. I had been considering pruning and you have helped me make that decision.

TC Harp

tcharp
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Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 5:20 pm
Location: Lubbock, TX

Your advice on my raspberries seemed to work for a while. I pruned the weak plant heavily but left the stronger plant until we had harvested a few handfuls of berries. They were great.

I then pruned that plant as well. For a few weeks they seemed to be doing very well.

My concern now is that the leaves are turning brown and drying up. This is happening to nearly all of them except the newest leaves. We have had a couple weeks of very hot (100+ degree) weather. The plants both seem to be having this problem. While they looked very good for a short time, they are really not looking very good now, even though they have both been pruned. I have been watering, but water in Lubbock is heavily chlorinated and I'm afraid that hurts them as well. I have put down some iron powder and some fish fertilizer but I'm not sure I'm helping. The leaves are not turning yellow like the picture on the iron powder. They seem to be curling up on the edges and turning brown but some of the leaf is green as the same time. If I could figure out how to put photos up here I would do so.

I don't know if I should water more or less, or what. the stems seem thick and healthy. The plant I pruned even produced some berries that never ripened, but I'm confused now.

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applestar
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Hi. I didn't see this thread back in May for some reason. So I have some catching up to do! I really would like to know what kind of soil you have -- particularly whether it is clay and not well draining as that is very important for raspberries. Not as much for blackberries, but definitely well-draining as in sandy or gravely or on a slope. Next question I have for you is how high this brick wall is? Is it a building wall? And what kind of sun exposure the raspberry plants get. Have you mulched them well to maintain moisture and suppress competing weeds, and is there plenty of space in front of them so that you are not walking on the shallow root system?

The browning leaves and stems you're seeing may be entirely part of the natural process if these are the canes that bore fruit. I hope when you said you pruned that you kept the new canes that will bear fruits next year.

I am worried that in pruning so much, you may be depriving the plants of leaves needed for photosynthesis. Plants can't grow roots without energy and they get energy from sunlight collected by the leaves.

tcharp
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Posts: 5
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 5:20 pm
Location: Lubbock, TX

The soil is pretty sandy and drains well I think. The wall is a two foot retaining wall. Not a building but a low cinder block wall. The raspberries get direct sun all morning until about 1pm. Yes, we mulched put mulch into the hole when we planted them. There is little space in front of them as the wall is there. We are not walking on the roots because, once again, the wall is there.

They really looked like they were doing well when pruned the first plant. I also pruned the canes that had fruited on the second plant. The browning leaves are most on the new canes that I did not prune.

-TC

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